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Akiko Takenaka

Research Interests:
Modern Japanese History
War and Memory
Visual Culture
Asian American History

Ph.D. Yale University, 2004


Professor Takenaka specializes in social and cultural history of modern Japan. Her research involves memory and historiography of the Asia-Pacific War, gender and peace activism, and history museums. Her teaching interests include gender, war and society, nationalism, memory studies, and visual culture. Prior to coming to UK, she has taught as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.

Professor Takenaka's first book, entitled Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar (University of Hawai'i Press, Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University), explores Yasukuni Shrine as a physical space, object of visual and spatial representation, and site of spatial practice in order to highlight the complexity of Yasukuni’s past and critique the official narratives that postwar debates have responded to. Her second book project Mothers Against War: Gender, Motherhood, and Peace Activism in Postwar Japan is under advance contract with the University of Hawai'i Press. Her research has been funded by long-term research fellowships by Fulbright and the Japan Foundation. 

Selected Publications:


Mothers Against War: Gender, Motherhood, and Peace Activism in Postwar Japan (under contract with the University of Hawai'i Press).

Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory and Japan’s Unending Postwar (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, and Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute Series, Columbia University 2015).



  • "Iijima Aiko (1932-2005): A Feminist's Fight Against Discrimination in Japan," in Francisca de Haas ed., The Palgrave Handbook of Communist Women Activists around the World (Palgrave, 2023), 327-398.

  • “Aestheticizing Sacrifice: Media, Education, and Ritual during the Asia-Pacific War,” in Minh Nguyen ed., New Essays in Japanese Aesthetics (Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), 179-191.

  • “Mobilizing Death: Bodies and Spirits of the Modern Japanese War Dead,” in Paul Corner and Jie-Hyun Lim eds., Palgrave Handbook of Mass Dictatorship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 351-363.

  • “Architecture for Mass-Mobilization: The Chūreitō Memorial Construction Movement, 1939-1945,” in Alan Tansman ed., The Culture of Japanese Fascism (Duke University Press, 2009), 235-253.
  • “Pan-Asianism vs. Changeless, Timeless Japan: The Construction of a Wartime National Identity,” in Thresholds 17 (Spring 1998): 63-68.

Opinion Pieces