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Indiana University

East Asian Studies at IU

Representations of Japan in the United States

Gregory A. Waller

Professor, Communication and Culture Department

Gregory A. WallerGreg Waller’s work covers a range of topics in film studies—the history of exhibition and distribution, American popular movie genres, and New Zealand cinema—but since coming to IU in 2003 and getting involved with the EASC faculty community, his interest in Japanese film has deepened. Waller also examines the representation of Japan in the United States and is currently working on a project titled, “Japan-in-America,” a comprehensive look at the representation of Japan in American culture from 1890 to 1915.

This project started with Waller’s 2006 exhibit of images and artifacts, “Japan-in-America: The Turn of the Twentieth Century,” funded by a Toshiba International Foundation grant with EASC’s support and encouragement. The exhibit, now available as a traveling one, displays a wide array of images and artifacts from the popular culture of the period, including paintings, poetry, and travel literature, as well as postcards, sheet music, magic lantern slides, missionary tracts, and more. It illustrates the rich and complex historical period for both nations by showing the history of public opinion campaigns, war scares, Japanophilia, and Japanophobia.

“EASC does a great job of facilitating conversation and collaboration among IU faculty across departments and disciplines,” says Waller. “Under the auspices of the EASC, I’ve had the opportunity to present my research to a range of different academic audiences that I might not otherwise have reached. I have also been able to co-teach an IL/IN Summer Seminar on East Asian cinema with colleagues from the University of Illinois and a host of excellent graduate students from various universities.”