Professor Takenaka specializes in social and cultural history of modern Japan with her research focusing on memory and historiography of the Asia-Pacific War. Trained as an architect and an architectural historian, she is particularly interested in the intersection between memory and space, and has examined a variety of memorial spaces broadly conceived, including memorials, museums and urban spaces, as well as virtual spaces of memory. Her teaching interests include 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 is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Memory and Spatial Practice: Yasukuni Shrine and Japan's Unending Postwar, a book that 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. In addition to the book project, she is working on two projects. The first examines what she calls “architectural survivors” of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: those built structures that have been transformed into cultural heritage and object of tourism by having survived the nuclear experience. The second is a study of peace promotion initiatives in Japan, including war and peace museums, grass-roots movements, and oral history projects.
- “Politics of Representation or Representation of Politics? Yasukuni the Movie” in Review of Japanese Culture and Society, (Winter 2009, Forthcoming)
- “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.
- “Enshrinement Politics: War Dead and War Criminals at Yasukuni Shrine,” in Japan Focus (posted June 7, 2007).
- “Exhibiting World War II in Japan and the United States,” in Pacific Historical Review 76 (February 2007): 61-94 (with Laura Hein; revised version posted on Japan Focus on July 20, 2007.
- “Pan-Asianism vs. Changeless, Timeless Japan: The Construction of a Wartime National Identity,” in Thresholds 17 (Spring 1998): 63-68.