Akiko Takenaka

  • Associate Professor
  • History
1733 Patterson Office Tower
Other Affiliations:
  • Social Theory
Research Interests:

Ph.D. Yale University, 2004


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'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. She is currently working on two book projects. Mothers Against War: Gender and Grassroots Peace Activism in Postwar Japan, and War, Trauma, and Postwar in Japan and East Asia.

Selected Publications: 


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).


  • "Collecting for Peace: Memories and Objects of the Asia-Pacific War," in Verge: Studies in Global Asias 2 (Fall 2015, forthcoming).

  • “Aestheticizing Sacrifice: Media, Education, and Ritual during the Asia-Pacific War,” in Minh Nguyen ed., New Essays in Japanese Aesthetics (Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, forthcoming).

  • “The Construction of a Wartime National Identity: Japanese Pavilions in Paris and New York,” in Rika Devos, Alexander Ortenberg, and Vladimir Paperny eds., Architecture of World Expositions 1937-1958: Reckoning with Global War (Ashgate Publishing, 2015, forthcoming).

  • "Mobilizing Death in Imperial Japan: War and the Origins of the Myth of Yasukuni," in The Asia Pacific Journal vol.13 issue 38 no.2. 

  • "Memory, Trauma, Art," in Beyond Hiroshima: The Return of the Repressed--Wartime Memory in Contemporary Japanese Photography and Video Art (Tel Aviv University, 2015), 45-56.

  • "Reactionary Nationalism and Museum Controversies: The Case of Peace Osaka," in The Public Historian 36.2 (May 2014): 75-98.

  • “Politics of Representation or Representation of Politics? Yasukuni the Movie” in Review of Japanese Culture and Society (Winter 2009): 117-136.
  • “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.
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