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My Japan Journey podcast - episode
Finding Creativity in Japanese Artists

Susan Napier

"This is going to sound kind of weird, but [my Japan journey] actually started in Europe"

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Dr. Susan Napier is a hailed author, researcher, and professor of Japanese literature, films, and culture, as well as the published author of 5 books. Currently a professor in the Japanese department at Tufts University in Massachusetts, she has also taught at Harvard University, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of Texas in Austin. She has been featured on The M Dash, TEDxTufts, and more.

The daughter of a Harvard professor, Dr. Napier took interest in academia and Japanese culture at a young age, when she was taken to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by her mother and discovered Japanese art. This led to her studying abroad in Tokyo for her senior year of high school. She further pursued this passion at Harvard University, attaining an undergraduate degree and eventually Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Though at first, she wanted to use her degree to become a diplomat, she instead developed a passion for teaching and academia, beginning teaching when she was 22.

Dr. Napier published her first book Escape from the Wasteland: Romanticism and Realism in the Fiction of Mishima Yukio and Oe Kenzaburo in 1991, soon followed in 1996 by The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity. Since then, she has written three more books on Japanese anime, discussing topics such as Hayao Miyazaki and anime culture. Though she originally received pushback for researching what some considered the “frivolous” subject of anime, this only fueled her drive to study such an underestimated topic. She was proven right when her articles and research on anime became some of the most highly respected in the field of Japanese culture.

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