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Joannah Peterson


Ph.D. in Japanese literature; minor: Art History, Indiana University, Bloomington
M.A. in Japanese, Indiana University, Bloomington

B.A. in Psychology; minor: Fine Arts, Centre College, Kentucky


My research explores the ways in which literary and visual forms intersect in premodern Japan, particularly during what is known as the “classical” period, the Heian (794-1185). My research interests include Japanese fiction, narrative picture scrolls (emaki), visual culture, gender studies, narrative voyeurism, intertextuality, reception studies, and spectrality. I am currently at work on a book that analyzes developments in medieval literary and pictorial arts, examining visual and verbal representations of the emperor during the mid-to-late Heian period (1000-1185). More specifically, I demonstrate how artistic re-conceptualizations of imperial power rhyme with changes in the “real world” of late-eleventh century politics, arguing that both minimized the gap between the emperor as a symbol of power and the emperor as a private individual.


“Emperor on Exhibition: Representation of Kingship in Yoru no Nezame and The Nezame Scrolls.” Proceedings of the Association of Japanese Literary Studies, vol. 17, 31-43, Summer, 2016.

“Natsume Sōseki no Yume jūya: Natsume Sōseki o nemurenu yoru ni michibiita fukakujitsusei” (Natsume Sōseki’s Ten Nights of Dreams: The Uncertainty that Kept Sōseki Up at Night). Bunshū: gendai, kindai bungaku, 61-63, Yokohama: Stanford Inter-University Center, 2008.

Articles in progress

“Viewing the Voyeur: The Link Between Female Spectatorship and Narrative Exposure in the Tale of Genji and The Genji Scrolls.” To be submitted to Japanese Language and Literature.

“Figures of Everlasting Sorrow: Re-Translation of the Yang Guifei Legend in Genji Monogatari and Yoru no Nezame.” Invited chapter for volume on the Tale of Genji (Catherine Ryu, ed.). Book proposal currently under review by the University of Michigan Press.

“Review of Unbinding the Pillow Book: The Many Lives of a Japanese Classic (2018) by Gergana Ivanova.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, forthcoming in 2020.