Ayako Kano

Dr. Ayako Kano
Associate Professor,
Japanese Literature and Culture
Contact Information
Office Address: 
841 Williams Hall
Office Hours: 
Wednesdays, 3:00PM to 4:00PM
Email Address: 


  • BA, Keio University
  • MA, Cornell University
  • PhD, Cornell University
Research and Teaching Interests: 

My research focuses on the intersection of gender, performance, and politics, as well as on Japanese cultural history from the late 19th century to the present. My first book focused on the first generation of actresses in modern Japanese theater. I am currently writing a book about Japanese feminist debates from the 1890s to present. Future projects include a cross-cultural analysis of the medieval Japanese noh theater, as well as a book on cinematic adaptations.

Recent Courses: 

Japanese Theater; Modern Japanese Literature; Contemporary Japanese Literature; Literary Theory and Criticism in Japan; Graduate Seminar on Modern Japanese Literature and Culture; Gender and Sexuality in Japan; Gender and Sexuality in East Asia; Advanced Japanese; Readings in Modern Japanese.

Work in Progress: 

“Gender and the Future,” in Possible Futures for Japan, ed. Anne Allison and Frank Baldwin (New York: New York UP) forthcoming.

(Translation into English). Enchi Fumiko, “Banshun sōya” [Restless night in late spring], forthcoming in The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Drama, ed. Thomas Rimer (Columbia UP).

Other Professional Activity: 


Faculty Advisory Board for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program; Theater Arts Program.

Graduate Groups in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory; Folklore and Folklife; History.

SAS representative on the Graduate Council of the Faculties.

Board member Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies.


Selected Publications: 
  • Co-authored with Vera Mackie, “Is Shinzo Abe Really a Feminist?” East Asia Forum Quarterly. Online version: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/11/09/is-shinzo-abe-really-a-feminist/
  • Co-authored with Vera Mackie, “The Gender Fault-Line,” East Asia Forum Quarterly (July-September 2011): pp. 28-29.  Online version: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/11/03/the-gender-fault-line-in-japan/
  •  “Backlash, Fight Back, and Back-Pedaling: Responses to State Feminism in Contemporary Japan,” International Journal of Asian Studies 8, no. 1 (2011): pp. 41-62.
  • “Amerika higashi kaigan de Nihon kenkyū ni tsuite kangaeru” アメリカ東海岸で日本研究について考える[Reflections on Japanese Studies on the U.S. East Coast] Nihon Gakuhō 日本学報[Japan studies report], no. 30 (March 2011): pp. 179-189.
  • “Towards a Critique of Transhistorical Femininity,” Gendering Modern Japanese History, ed.Barbara Molony and Kathleeen Uno (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard University Press, 2005): pp. 520-554.
  • “Women? Art? Gender? Chino Kaori and the Feminist Art History Debates,” in Review of Japanese Culture and Society, vol. 15 (December 2003): pp. 25-38.
  • “Visuality and Gender in Modern Japanese Theater: Looking at Salome,” in Japan Forum, special issue on modern Japanese visual culture, vol. 11 no. 1 (1999): pp. 43-55.
  • “Japanese Theater and Imperialism: Romance and Resistance,” in U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, English version, no. 12 (1997): pp. 17-47.