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Alisa Freedman

Alisa Freedman profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor, Japanese Literature & Film
  • Phone: 541-979-7794
  • Office: 404 Friendly Hall
  • Interests: Modern Japanese literature, popular culture, youth culture, visual media, digital culture, urban studies, and gender


B.A., Wesleyan University
M.A. and Ph.D., University of Chicago

Biographical Note

Alisa Freedman is an Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Film at the University of Oregon. Much of her interdisciplinary work investigates the ways the modern urban experience has shaped human subjectivity, cultural production, and gender roles. Another major theme is the globalization of culture. She strives to show how literature and visual media can provide a deeper understanding of society, politics, and economics. Alisa has published widely on Japanese modernism, urban studies, youth culture, media discourses about gender norms, humor as social critique, popular culture representation of Japan’s lost generation, and the intersection of literature and digital media. She is currently preparing book manuscripts about the forgotten story Japanese women who studied in the United States between 1949 and 1966 and about images of Japan on American television. Her collaborative projects include a study of legal and ethical issues in Japanese popular culture, “Bundan Snark: Writing and Fighting in Modern Japan,” and “Ruinscapes in Japan, China, and the United States.” Additionally, Alisa is exploring future of the book using Japanese literature as an example and is involved in several literary translation projects.

Alisa is the Undergraduate Advisor for the Japanese Culture Major and Faculty Fellow for Hamilton West Residence Hall. She has served as the Resident Director of Oregon study abroad programs in Tokyo. Alisa was the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Advising Award.

In addition, Alisa is the Editor in Chief for the U.S.Japan Women’s Journal (biannual, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal) –


Classes for 2016-2017 (Subject to change)

JPN 199: Japanese Popular Culture in the World (Also taught as a Freshman Seminar)
JPN 306: Introduction to Japanese Culture, 1600-1950
JPN 407/507: Gender, Media, and Japan
JPN 607: Natsume Sōseki’s Century (Graduate Seminar) 6

Other UO Courses:
JPN 199: New Japanese Film
JPN 407/507: Japanese Urban Cultures
JPN 407/507: Seminar in Gender and Japanese Culture
JPN 410/510: Digital Age Stories in Japan and the United States
JPN 425/525: Japanese Literary Trends, 1950-2016
JPN 425/525: Tokyo in Japanese Literature, Parts I and II
JPN 425/525: Contemporary Japanes Literature
JPN 425/525: Japanese Youth Culture: Explaining Disaster and Defining Nation (Also taught as an Honors College Colloquium)
JPN 610: Japan's Global Media (Graduate Seminar)
JPN 610: Issues in Contemporary Japanese Studies (Graduate Seminar)



Introducing Japanese Popular Culture. Co-edited with Toby Slade. Approximately 40-chapter volume. Forthcoming from Routledge in 2017.

Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road. (Stanford University Press, 2010). Using an approach that crosses the fields of history, literature, and cultural studies, this book explores the ways mass transportation changed Tokyo’s social fabric, giving rise to gender roles that have come to represent modern Japan. The world’s largest transport system, Tokyo trains and buses are social and cultural spaces different from other metropolitan commuter networks and provide a more distilled means of observing the effects of urbanization than other public places afford.

Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan, co-edited with Christine Yano and Laura Miller (Stanford University Press, 2013). This collection profiles women who worked in jobs related to notions of physical and social mobility. These women, often conspicuous in their uniforms, have influenced social roles, patterns of daily life, and Japan’s global image. They have been integral to the national workforce but have been overlooked by scholars.

Annotated translation of Yasunari Kawabata, The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa (Asakusa kurenaidan), Illustrated by Ota Saburo, Foreword and Afterword by Donald Richie, University of California Press, 2005.

Guest Editor of Journal Special Issues -

Review of Japanese Culture and Society. Volume XXVII. Special Issue in Honor of Kyoko Selden. December 2015. 23 literary translations and essays.

Japan Forum. Volume 26. Issue 2. (May 2014) Special issue on “Geographies of Childhood: Japanese Negotiations of Global Children’s Culture.”  8 articles.

Japan Forum. Volume 21. Issue 1 (March 2009) Special issue on “Japanese Urban Nonsense.” 7 articles.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters -

“Romance of the Taishō Schoolgirl in Shōjo Manga: Here Comes Miss Modern.” In Shōjo Across Media: Multidisciplinary Approaches. Edited by Jaqueline Berndt, Kazumi Nagaike, and Fusami Ogi. Forthcoming from Palgrave MacMillan in 2017.

“Japanese Cellphone Novels: Literature for the Thumb Generation.” In Introducing Japanese Popular Culture. Edited by Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade. Forthcoming from Routledge in 2017.

“Work, Gender, and Drama: 1990s Japanese Television.” In Introducing Japanese Popular Culture. Edited by Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade. Forthcoming from Routledge in 2017.

“Cellphone and 2channel Novels: How Digital Literature Changed Print Books.” In Routledge Companion to Global Internet Histories. Edited by Mark McLelland and Gerald Goggin. Forthcoming from Routledge in 2017.

“Literary Modernism and Tokyo Space.” In Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature. Edited by Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton. Routledge 2016.

Death Note, Student Crimes, and the Power of Universities in the Global Spread of Manga.” In End of Cool Japan?: Ethical, Legal, and Cultural Challenges to Japanese Popular Culture. Edited by Mark McLelland. Routledge 2016.

“Traversing Tokyo by Subway.” In Cartographic Japan: A Reader. Edited by Kären Wigen, Fumiko Sugimoto, and Cary Karacas. University of Chicago Press 2016.

“Career Women on Japanese Television: What Has and Hasn’t Changed in Twenty Years Since Tokyo Love Story.” Asian Television Histories: Issues and Contexts. Edited by Jinna Fay and Graeme Turner. Routledge 2015.

“Big Bird in Japan: Marketing Multicultural New York in Cosmopolitan Tokyo.” Japan Forum 26: 2. Special issue on “Geographies of Childhood.” May 2014.

“Introduction to the Special Issue on Geographies of Childhood: Japanese Versions of Global Children’s Culture.” Japan Forum 26:2, May 2014.

“Naruse Mikio and Takamine Hideko Films, 1940-1960.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Films. Edited by Sarah Barrow, Sabine Haenni, and John White. Routledge 2014.

“Yamada Yōji’s Twilight Samurai.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Films. Edited by Sabine Haenni, Sarah Barrow, and John White. Routledge 2014.

“Bus Guides Tour National Landscapes, Pop Culture, and Youth Fantasies.” In Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan, edited by Alisa Freedman, Laura Miller, and Christine Yano. Stanford University Press, 2013.

“You Go, Girl! Cultural Meanings of Gender, Mobility, and Labor.” In Modern Girls on the Go:Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan, edited by Alisa Freedman, Laura Miller, and Christine Yano. Pages 1-20. Stanford University Press, 2013.

“The Homeless Junior High School Student Phenomenon: Personalising a Social Problem.” Japanese Studies 31 (3). December 2011.

“The Japanese Television Drama Around 40 and the Politics of Happiness: Count What You Have Now.” Co-authored with Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt. Asian Studies Review. September 2011.

Train Man and the Gender Politics of Japanese ‘Otaku’ Culture: The Rise of New Media, Nerd Heroes, and Fan Communities.” Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, April 2009. Reprinted in Debating Otaku in  Contemporary Japan: Historical Perspectives and New Horizons. Edited by Patrick Galbraith Bloomsbury Press, 2015. 

“Street Nonsense: Ryūtanji Yū and the Fascination for Interwar Tokyo Absurdity,” Japan Forum 21 (1). Special issue on “Japanese Urban Nonsense.” March 2009.

 “Buildings and Urine: Modernist Nansensu Literature and 1920s and 1930s Tokyo,” Nonsense and Other Senses: Dysfunctional Communication and Regulated Absurdity in Literature. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009.

“Stories of Boys and Buildings: Ishida Ira’s 4-Teen in 2002 Tokyo,” Japan Forum, Special issue on Tokyo in Literature. Pages 381-398. November 2006.

Selected Literary Translations -

Osaki Midori, Wanderings in the Realm of the Seventh Sense (Dainanakankai hōkō). Novel co-translation with Kyoko Selden. Review of Japanese Culture and Society. January 2016.

Sakiyama Tami, Swaying, Swinging (Yuratiiku yuretiiku). Novel co-translation with Kyoko Selden. In Davinder Bhowmik and Steve Rabson, eds. Islands of Resistance: Japanese Literature from Okinawa. University of Hawaii Press 2016.

Nagai Kafû, “Ukiyo-e Landscapes and Edo Scenic Places” (Ukiyo-e no sansuiga to Edo meisho), co-translation with Kyoko Selden, Review of Japanese Culture and Society, 2012.

Ryûtanji Yû, “Pavement Snapshots.” co-translation with Angela Yiu. In Three-Dimensional Reading: Modernism and Spatial Configuration in Interwar Japanese Fiction (1910s –1930s), edited by Angela Yiu. Forthcoming from the University of Hawai’i Press in 2013.

Shôji Kaoru, Watch Out, Little Red Riding Hood! (Akazukin-chan, ki o tsukete), co-translation with Kyoko Selden, Review of Japanese Culture and Society, Fall 2011.

Uehara Noboru, “Our Gang Age, 1970″ (“1970 nen no gyangu eiji”), co-translation with Kyoko Selden, Review of Japanese Culture and Society, Fall 2011.

Kawabata Yasunari, “The Corpse Introducer” (Shitai shokainin, 1929), included in Tokyo in Transit(Stanford University Press, 2010).

Medoruma Shun, Fûon (The Wind Sound), Co-translation with Kyoko Selden, Review of Japanese Culture and Society, Special issue on literature, film, and war memory, Summer 2009.

Ogawa Yoko, “Transit” (Toranjitto), in More Stories by Japanese Women Writers, edited by Kyoko Selden and Noriko Mizuta (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2011)

Saegusa Kazuko, “The Cherry Blossom Train” (Sakura densha), co-translated with Kyoko Selden, inMore Stories by Japanese Women Writers, edited by Kyoko Selden and Noriko Mizuta (Armok, NY: ME. Sharpe, 2011).

Chong Ui Shin, Winter Sunflower (Fuyu no himawari), four-act play, Performing Arts in Japan Initiative, Japan Foundation, 2004.

Nagai Ai, Light and Darkness for Our Times (Shin meian), feminist interpretation of Natsume Soseki’sMeian, Performing Arts in Japan Initiative, Japan Foundation, 2003.

Curated Exhibit -

“Exchange Students as Cultural Ambassadors: The Forgotten Story of Japanese Women Who Studied in the United States, 1949-1966. UO Libraries, Fall 2016. 

Selected UO Publications

“The Forgotten Story of Japanese Women Who Studied in the United States, 1949-1966. CSWSAnnual Review 2016, pages 12-14.

“Digital Age Stories in Japan and the United States.” Professor Picks Feature, New Media and Culture Certificate Program Website, February 2015.