Steven Ridgely

Credentials: Associate Professor of Modern Japan Studies


(608) 262-1740

1206 Van Hise Hall

Office Hours: Monday, 10:30-11:30




Areas of Expertise:

Modern Japanese Literature, Cultural Theory, Transasian Studies


Ph.D, Yale University (2005)

BA, Carleton College (1996)


My plans to major in physics in college with a side interest in Japanese went awry when Japanese language and literature classes with Mariko Kaga and Kathryn Sparling sparked my interest in Japan. I spent junior year abroad at Dōshisha University on the Associated Kyoto Program (1994-95), wrote a senior thesis on Terayama Shūji, and graduated from Carleton College in 1996. I then spent two years in Tokyo studying modern Japanese literature with Chiba Shunji at Waseda University (1996-98) on a fellowship from the Japanese Ministry of Education. After two years in a graduate program in modern Japanese literature at the University of Washington in 1998, working with John Treat and Motoo Kobayashi, I transfered to Yale in 2000 to complete coursework. I returned to Waseda for dissertation research in 2002-2004, taught a year at Carleton, and filed my dissertation in 2005. After a decade of work on Japanese counterculture, I have returned to themes from modern physics and mathematics as they intersect with 20th century Japanese literature and other arts.

Research Interests:

Current research includes 1960s counterculture, Expo 70, Japanese kitsch, and the topological imaginary in 20th century Japan


NSEP (1994-95), Monbushō (1996-98), Fulbright-IIE (2002-04), Fulbright-Hays (2008-09), Japan Foundation (2014-15)

Doctoral Co-Advisees:

Kenia Avendaño: ABD in modern Japanese literature and popular culture

Yinyin Xue: Visiting Instructor of Chinese, Kenyon College. Dissertation: “The Cult of Science: Popular Science Writings and Mass Culture in Post-Mao China” (2019)

Lu Liu: Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese. Dissertation: “Away/With the Pest: Science, Visuality, and Socialist Subjectivities in Modern China’s Biosocial Abjection” (2019)

Laura Jo-Han Wen: Assistant Professor, Randolph-Macon College. Dissertation: “Intermedial Screen: Cinema and Media Culture in Colonial Taiwan, 1895-1945” (2016)

Nan Ma: Assistant Professor, Dickinson College. Dissertation: “Dancing into Modernity: Kinesthesia, Narrative, and Revolutions in Modern China, 1900-1978” (2015)

Daisy Yan Du: Associate Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Dissertation: “On the Move: The Trans/national Animated Film in 1940s-1970s China” (2012)

Selected Publications:

2016: “Past, Present, and Future at Expo 70,” JapanAmerica: Points of Contact, 1876-1970, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, pp. 120-31

2016: 「卍」の幾何学 (The geometry of Quicksand), 谷崎潤一郎 − 中国体験と物語の力 (Tanizaki Jun’ichirō: China experiences and the power of narrative), Tokyo: Bensei Shuppan, pp. 115-22

2015: “Fairy tales in Japan,” “Awa Naoko,” “Kurahashi Yumiko,” “Mizuki Shigeru,” “Ōba Minako,” “Ogawa Yōko,” “Takahashi Rumiko,” “Tawada Yōko,” and “Terayama Shūji” in Jack Zipes, ed., Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, revised edition, Oxford University Press

2015: 寺山修司のチャイナドール (Terayama Shūji’s china doll), 比較文学年誌 (Journal of Comparative Literature, Waseda University) 51, pp. 177-82

2013: マッチ擦るつかのまに「カサブランカ」を読む寺山修司 (Terayama Shūji reading Casablanca in the moment of a match-strike), 短歌研究 (Tanka review) 70:11, pp. 78-84

2013: “Terayama Shūji and Bluebeard,” Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies 27:2 (2013), pp. 290-300, MUSE

2013: 没頭 – 内部から外部へ (Immersion: From inside to out), translated by Yamamoto Atsuo for 横尾忠則 – 芸術にゴールはない (Yokoo Tadanori: Art has no goal), Bessatsu Taiyō series, Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2013, pp. 50-53

2013: “Total Immersion: The Designs of Tadanori Yokoo,” Artforum International 51:6, pp. 202–209

2013: 芥川と談話療法 (Akutagawa and the writing cure), translated by Takahashi Tatsuo into Japanese for 芥川龍之介研究 (Akutagawa review) 7, pp. 117-121

2012: “Tanizaki and the Literary Uses of Cinema,” Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 3:2, pp. 77-93, DOI

2009: 寺山修司とカウンターカルチャー (Terayama Shūji and counterculture), 寺山修司研究 (Terayama Shūji studies) 3, pp. 248-52

2009: 谷崎文学における映画的「現実効果」(The filmic “reality-effect” in Tanizaki’s fiction), translated by Kishikawa Shuntarō into Japanese for Chiba Shunji, ed., 谷崎潤一郎–境界を超えて (Tanizaki Jun’ichirō: Transcending borders), Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, pp. 128-56

2006: “Terayama in Amsterdam and the Internationalization of Experimental Theatre” in David Jortner, Keiko McDonald, and Kevin Wetmore, eds., Modern Japanese Theatre and Performance, Landam, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 109-21

2004: 寺山修司、ミッキーマウス、青ひげ (Terayama Shūji, Mickey Mouse, Bluebeard) in 剽窃・模倣・オリジナリティ −日本文学の想像力を問う (Plagiarism, Imitation, Originality: Questioning the Imagination of Japanese Literature), Tokyo: National Institute of Japanese Literature, pp. 145-53

Selected Book Reviews:

2017: Review of Richard Calichman, Beyond Nation: Time, Writing, and Community in the Work of Abe Kōbō (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016), Journal of Japanese Studies, pp. 446-50, DOI

2015: Review of Yuriko Furuhata, Cinema of Actuality: Japanese Avant-Garde Filmmaking in the Season of Image Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), Pacific Affairs 88:1 (March), pp. 205-7, Pacific Affairs

2013: Review of Jeffrey Angles, Writing the Love of Boys: Origins of Bishōnen Culture in Modernist Japanese Literature (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), Journal of Japanese Studies 39:1, pp. 193-96, DOI

2013: Review of Kirsten Cather, The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2012), Social Science Japan Journal 16:2, pp. 332-34, DOI

2012: Review of Miriam Sas, Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011), Japan Forum 24:3, pp. 373-75, DOI

2010: Review of Lawrence Kominz, ed., Mishima on Stage: The Black Lizard and other Plays (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2007), Journal of Asian Studies 69:1, pp. 260-63, JSTOR

2008: Review of Mari Boyd, The Aesthetics of Quietude: Ōta Shōgo and the Theatre of Divestiture (Tokyo: Sophia University Press, 2006) and Peter Eckersall, Theorizing the Angura Space: Avant-garde Performance and Politics in Japan, 1960-2000 (Leiden: Brill, 2006), Journal of Asian Studies 67:1, pp. 309-313, JSTOR

Selected Book:

2010: Japanese Counterculture: The Antiestablishment Art of Terayama Shūji, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, MUSE

Selected Lectures:

2017: University of California, Davis – “Everting the Theatrical Sphere Like Terayama”

2017: Carleton College – “Japanese Topological Imagination”

2016: Cornell University – “Future Visions, 1970”

2015: Hong Kong University of Science & Technology – “Japanese Topological Imagination”

2013: University of Pittsburgh – “Relational Visuality and Studying Anime”

2012: Carthage College – “Tokyo Tower and Japanese Kitsch”

2012: Tokyo University of the Arts – “Terayama Shūji and Transmedia”

2012: Tate Modern, London – “Terayama Shūji and Japanese Counterculture”

2010: Macalester College – “Terayama Shūji and Non–Euclidian Cinema”

2008: University of Illinois – “Terayama Shūji and the Dramatization of Revolution”

2008: University of Notre Dame – 
“Internet and Video in Japanese Film and Anime”

2008: St. Anthony’s, Oxford – “Terayama Shūji and the Point of Japanese Counterculture”

2006: Carleton College – “Terayama Shūji and Japanese Boxing in the 1960s”

Selected Courses:

Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization (EA 253)

Introduction to East Asian Civilizations (EAS 255/POLI SCI 255/HIST 255)

Survey of Modern Japanese Literature (EA 354/LIT TRANS 264)

Tanizaki (LIT TRANS 368)

Natsume Sōseki and Lafcadio Hearn (LIT TRANS 368)

Contemporary Japanese Novels (LIT TRANS 368)

Evangelion (LIT TRANS 373)

Anime (EA 378/LIT TRANS 232)

Seventh Semester Japanese (EA 403)

Eighth Semester Japanese (EA 404)

Japanese Cinema (EA 563), co-taught with Ben Singer

Selected Graduate Seminars:

Modern Japan as Chronotope (HIST 855/E ASIAN 763), co-taught with Louise Young

The Topological Imaginary (EA 763)

Contemporary Transasian Media Cultures (EA 763), co-taught with Nicole Huang

Approaches to Transasian Studies (EA 763), co-taught with Nicole Huang

Japanese Counterculture (EA 763)

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan: Literature, Cinema, Theory (EA 763)

Anime and Postmodernity (EA 763)

Meiji Literature and Diplomacy (EA 763)