Carnegie Mellon University

Yoshihiro Yasuhara

Yoshihiro Yasuhara

Associate Teaching Professor of Japanese Studies

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall 160
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


My primary research has involved two areas of interest that center on the relationship between aesthetic and social realities: 1) the Japanese modernist writer Ishikawa Jun and Japanese Modernity, and 2) the Performances of Ethnic and Cosmopolitan Identities in Japanese Culture, both situated in the discipline of comparative literature studies with a focus on Japanese culture in the modern transnational context.

I have pursued the first interest in my book manuscript, Historicity, Reality, and Japanese Modernity: the Literature of Ishikawa Jun and Japanese Experimental Novels in the 1930s to 1950s, which examines Ishikawa's search for a locus of literary reality as an alternative to the preexisting historiography of modern Japan. Excerpts from the manuscript have been published in Japanese and US journals. The project argues that the literature of Ishikawa reflects his social commitment by his literary experiments that highlight his rethinking of the Japanese avant-garde in its interplay with its Western counterparts, and polemics of history and literature in the context of the historical development of Japanese modernity. Given that Ishikawa is a key figure in postwar Japanese literature, this study also rethinks Japanese experimental novels by such authors as Kōbō Abe, Toshio Shimao, and Nobuo Kojima.

The above-mentioned second research interest has been developed from the fourteen years of teaching experience at three universities in the US before joining Carnegie Mellon University, questioning what really means to be a minority in Japan, beyond its existing definition and scope. In this vein of research, I am specifically interested in how the marginal voices reveal the neglected social problems, negotiate with the existing art forms, and thereby lead Japan's cultural landscape into a new direction.


Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2003

Selected Works

  • “TV Commercials as Potential Materials for Content-Based Instruction in Elementary to Advanced Japanese.” Co-authored with Mamoru Hatakeyama. Proceeding of 18th Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum (May 7-8, 2011)
  • “Oubei no tabi” [Journey to Europe and the United States, 51-52]; “Miyako no onna” [Woman of the City, 249-250] Enchi Fumiko jiten [Encyclopedia of Enchi Fumiko]. (Tokyo: Kaname Shobō, 2011)
  • “Senryōki no Ishikawa Jun bungaku to ‘Kakumei’ no shutai—Watashi to iu jinmin” [The Literature of Ishikawa Jun During the Occupation and the Subject of ‘Revolution’—People as the Subject] Ishikawa Jun to Sengo [Ishikawa Jun and Postwar Japan] (Ed. Sadami Suzuki and William J. Tyler, Tokyo: Minerva Shobō, 2010), 79-93.
  • “Nagisa Oshima’s Vast Historical Project and the Theme of Homoeroticism in his Taboo (Gohatto).” Literature/Film Quarterly (Vo. 35, No.1 2007) 350-357.

Courses Taught

  • 82-474 The Evolution of Japan's Urban Culture  (Topics in Japanese Studies)
  • 82-474 The Transnational Within: Multiculturalism in Japan and Beyond (Topics in Japanese Studies)
  • 82-474 Rethinking Culture from the Marginal Voices of Japan (Topics in Japanese Studies)
  • 82-371 Advanced Japanese I
  • 82-372 Advanced Japanese II
  • 82-271 Intermediate Japanese I
  • 82-272 Intermediate Japanese II
  • 82-171 Elementary Japanese I
  • 82-172 Elementary Japanese II

Department Member Since