Japan Foundation Former Fellow Michiko Suzuki to Explore Depictions of Kimonos in Modern Japanese Literature

Reading Kimonos in Modern Japanese Literature: The Case of Kōda Aya

Monday, March 29 from 8:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. EDT

YouTube Live

Admission: Free

Last fall the Japan Foundation, New York launched their online lecture series, “Illuminating Japanese Studies: Lecture Series with Former JF Fellows.”

Since the Fellowship program began in 1972, there have been more than 1,000 American Fellowship recipients who study a diverse range of research topics, from pre-modern history to pop culture and everything in between. This series will illuminate what exactly Japanese Studies can teach us, not only about Japan but about the world.

In the third installment, titled “Reading Kimonos in Modern Japanese Literature: The Case of Kōda Aya,” JF Former Fellow Dr. Michiko Suzuki will explore depictions of kimonos in modern Japanese literature. Focusing on the writer Kōda Aya (1904-90), this talk covers the ways kimonos serve critical roles in literary interpretation as a unique means of communication between author and reader. A live Q&A session with moderator Dr. Kimberly Kono will follow the discussion.

About Dr. Michiko Suzuki

Dr. Michiko Suzuki is an Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis. Her work examines narratives in light of cultural discourses and historical contexts, focusing on gender, modernity, sexuality, sexology, women writers, and material culture.

She is the author of Becoming Modern Women: Love and Female Identity in Prewar Japanese Literature and Culture (Stanford University Press, 2010) and has published in journals such as Journal of Asian Studies, The Journal of Japanese Studies, U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.

Currently she is completing a book titled Reading Material: The Kimono in Twentieth-Century Japanese Literature and Film.

About Dr. Kimberly Kono

Dr. Kimberly Kono is a Professor of Japanese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Smith College, where she is also affiliated with the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and the Translation Studies Concentration.

She is the author of Romance, Family and Nation in Japanese Colonial Literature (Palgrave, 2010) and has also published articles in The Journal of Japanese Studies, Japanese Language and Literature, and U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal.

Her current research focuses on images of Japanese women in colonial Manchuria.


To register, please visit JFNY’s Eventbrite page. You can submit your questions when you RSVP, and you may also participate in the discussion by sharing your questions in the YouTube Live chat during the livestream.

Illuminating Japanese Studies

Afterlife: Translation, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, and Global Japanese Fiction

The first session in the series, “Afterlife: Translation, Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, and Global Japanese Fiction” featured JF Former Fellow Dr. Stephen Snyder, who studies the publishing industry and its influence on works selected for translation. He is known for translating The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, which was nominated for the 2020 International Booker Prize.

Allison Markin Powell, who is known for translating books by Hiromi Kawakami, Fuminori Nakamura, and others, moderated the Q&A.

The Global Script Regime: Writing Systems and Writing Technologies in Modern Japan

In the second session, “The Global Script Regime: Writing Systems and Writing Technologies in Modern Japan,” JF Former Fellow Raja Adal discussed his research on the relationship of writing and technology by focusing on the Japanese 3,000-character typewriter. While relatively unpopular in other parts of Asia due to its exorbitant cost, slow speed, and inconvenient size, why was it such a huge success in Japan? And how have scripts around the world, aided by such technologies, survived into the modern era?

Kay Shimizu moderated the Q&A. Her research addresses institutional design and its effects on economic governance with a special interest in central-local relations, property rights, and the digital transformation.

To view the recordings of these lectures, please visit Japan Foundation, New York’s website.