Hiroshi Nara

  • Professor of Japanese Studies
  • Estuary: Medical & Digital Humanities, Translation, Language

Office Hours

Fall, 2019 TBA

Courses Taught

Japanese language courses at all levels. Other courses taught recently:

  • JPNSE 1999 "Capstone" (Spring 2013)
  • JPNSE 1023/2023 "Aspects of the Japanese Language" (Every year)
  • JPNSE 1700/2700 "An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Translation" (Spring 2014, Spring 2017)
  • JPNSE 1071/2071 "Modernizing Japan" (Spring 2015)
  • JPNSE 0007 "Introduction to Japanese Civilization" (Summer 2015, Summer 2016) for Pitt-in-Japan

Education & Training

  • PhD, Linguistics (NL interaction with a database), University of Kansas, 1987
  • MA, General Linguistics, University of Kansas, 1982. M.Phil., 1984
  • BFA, Painting (1974) and BA in Art History (1976), Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, México

Representative Publications


  • An Adoring Gaze: The Idea of Greece in Modern Japan. Reception of Greek and Roman Culture in East Asia, edited by Almut-Barbara Renger and Xin Fan. Amsterdam: Brill. Pp. 175–201. 2019
  • Matthew Affron, The Essential Duchamp, Philadelphia and Tokyo: Philadelphia Museum of Art. Translation of the exhibition catalogue from English to Japanese, published as デュシャン 人と作品. 190 pages. 2018.
  • The Idea of Greece in Japan’s Cultural Dreams. New Essays in Japanese Aesthetics, edited by A. Minh Nguyen. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. Pp. 155-166.  2018.
  • Kuki Shūzō as Philosopher-Poet. Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature, ed. Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton. New York: Routledge. 2016.
  • Pilgrimages to the Ancient Temples in Nara, an English translation of and a critical introduction to Watsuji Tetsurō (和辻哲郎)'s 『古寺巡礼』(東京:岩波書店, 1919). Portland, Maine: MerwinAsia, distributed by the University of Hawaii Press. March 2012, 200 pages. Photos, index. ISBN 978-1-937385-10-1 $35.00 pbk, ISBN 978-1-937385-11-8.
  • Modern Japanese Art and the Meiji State: The Politics of Beauty. An English translation of Satō Dōshin (佐藤道信)’s『明治国家と近代美術』(東京:吉川公文館, 1999). Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2011. ISBN 978-1-60606-059-9. The Japanese original was the 1999 winner of the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities. I am proud to be associated with this book.
  • Aspect and Discourse Function in Tense Switching: A Case Study of Natsume Sōseki’s Botchan. 2010. Japanese Language and Literature 45.1: 273–305.
  • 'Iki' no kōzō/The Structure of 'iki'. English-Japanese bilingual edition. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2008. ISBN 978-4-7700-4091-6. Contains the English translation of Kuki's 'Iki' no kōzō that appeared in The Structure of Detachment (above) with my own notes translated into Japanese.
  • Yoshida Shigeru: The Last Meiji Man. Boulder, Colorado: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7425-3933-4. An expanded English translation of the memoires of Yoshida Shigeru, Japan's first post-war prime minister.
  • Inexorable Modernity: Japan's Grappling with Modernity in the Arts, editor. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7391-1842-9. Contains an introduction and an essay by me on Wtasuji Tetsurō, as well as essays by ten other authors
  • The Structure of Detachment: The Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Shūzō. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8248-2735-x. Contains an English translation of Kuki Shūzō (九鬼周造)'s 'Iki' no kōzō『「いき」の構造』 (東京: 岩波書店, 1931), my critical essay, as well as essays by J. Thomas Rimer and Jon Mark Mikkelsen.
  • Acts of Reading: Exploring Connections in Pedagogy of Japanese, with Mari Noda. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8248-2261-7. Contains essays by the co-authors as well as those by Chris Brockett, Fumiko K. Harada, and Charles J. Quinn.
  • Advances in Japanese Language Pedagogy, editor and author of an article. Columbus, Ohio: National East Asian Languages Resource Center. 2002. ISBN 0-87415-345-x. Contains my chapter on automaticity.
  • Interactive Japanese: Understanding Written Japanese. Software for reading instruction in Japanese. Alpine, California: The CALL Educational Project. 1992.


Editorial Work

Research Interests

I am interested in exploring how language participates in all types of knowledge creation, formation, transmission, interpretation, and other purposes it serves. My research areas include twentieth century Japanese intellectual history and modernity, particularly the development of aesthetic categories and their political implications and identity formation before World War II. Other interests include verb aspect, grammaticalization in Japanese, medical humanities, corpus linguistics, and NLP (AI). I also have long-term interests in Japanese language pedagogy and translation studies.