Truth is One, sages call it by various names. 
--Rig Veda I:164.46

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. 
--Confucius, Analects 2:15

Accumulate learning by study, understand what you learn by questioning. --Mingjiao, Jiufeng Annals

Better than if there were thousands of meaningless words is one meaningful word that on hearing brings peace. 
--The Buddha, Dhammapada 100

Knowledge is as wings to man's life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words. 
--Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf




I specialize in the cultural history of modern Japan and Korea, but both my research and teaching interests extend well beyond those countries. Much of my previous work could be characterized as historical ethnomusicology, using music to understand cultures of the past.  I am also interested in colonialism, public memorialization, nationalism, aesthetics, and transnational popular culture.

Principal Publications:

A History of Popular Culture in Japan, From the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming October 2017).

Primitive Selves: Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze, 1910-45.  Colonialisms 5 (University of California Press, 2010). Podcast interview on New Books in East Asian Studies Rorotoko interview Indiana University East Asian Book Series

(Editor) Jazz Planet (University Press of Mississippi, 2003). 

Blue Nippon: Authenticating Jazz in Japan (Duke University Press, 2001); winner of the 2003 John Whitney Hall Prize from the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies. (NIU News report)

Other Projects:

A History of Popular Culture in Japan: From the Seventeenth Century to the Present, under contract with Bloomsbury Press.

Religious cosmopolitanism, international humanitarianism, and the Bahá'í Faith in Japan and Korea.

"Reflections on Jazz in Japan" IGNITION

Interview for NPR's "A Blog Supreme"

Interview about jazz historiography at All About Jazz

Interview about "Jazz Abroad" on The New Jazz Archive

Arirang discography (updated summer 2011)

Podcast of my Korea Society lecture on “Arirang”  

The 2.14 Memory Project