Maki Kaneko

Associate Professor, Japanese Art
Primary office:
213 Spencer Museum of Art

Maki Kaneko teaches courses on the history of Japanese modern/contemporary art, print and popular cultures from the seventeenth-century to present, and architecture and city planning of Tokyo. Her research concerns the interaction between politics and twentieth-century Japanese visual arts. Her book Mirroring the Japanese Empire published in 2014 examines the representation and signification of the male figure between 1930 and 1950, the decades when Japan engaged with a series of imperialist wars. Her current research also includes Japanese avant-garde art in the 1930s and 40s, the history of “outsider art” in Japan, and the activity of female artists in the early twentieth century.


Ph.D., World Art Studies and Museology
University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) and Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
M.A., World Art Studies and Museology, University of East Anglia
B.A., Art Studies, Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
Visiting Assistant Professor, Art History Department, Northwestern University

Lecture Courses Taught:

Modern and Contemporary Visual Arts of Japan
Japanese Prints
Japanese Artistic Encounter with Europe and the United States
Representing the Nation/Represented by the Nation
City of Tokyo: Japan’s Pop Cultural Imagination

Graduate Seminars:

Disasters in Japanese Art
Memories of War in Post-1945 Japanese Visual Arts
Modernity and Identity of Transnational Japan, 1850-1950 (co-taught with Sherry Fowler)
Contemporary Asian Art Overseas (co-taught with David Cateforis)
History and Method of Manga
War and Empire in 20th Century Japanese Visual Culture
Men and Masculinities in Japanese Visual Culture
Korea-Japan Artistic Interactions (co-taught with Maya Stiller)

Selected Publications:

Mirroring the Japanese Empire: The Male Figure in Yōga Painting, 1930-1950 (Leiden: Brill, 2014).

"Dai roku shō dai ichi setsu Modanizumu no tayōka seido to shakai" [Chapter 6, section 1 Diversification of Modernisms: Institution and Society] to be published inNihon kingendai bijutsu zenshi [Comprehensive History of Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art] (Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha, 2014).

"New Art Collectives in the Service of the War: The Formation of Art Organizations During the Asia-Pacific War, 1937-1945," Positions: east asia cultures critique 21, no. 2 (Spring 2013): 309-350.

"Under the Banner of the New Order: Uchida Iwao's Responses to the Asia-Pacific War and Japan's Defeat," in Asato Ikeda, Aya Louisa McDonald and Ming Tiampo eds., Art and War in Japan and its Empire, 1931-1960 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 190-207. 

"Mukai Junkichi's Transformation from a War to Minka (Folk House) Painter," Archives of Asian Art no. 61 (2011): 37-60.

"Kanten kaikaku no yume: Kigen nisen roppyakunen hōshuku bijutsu tenrankai, sensō, 'shintaisei' [Dreams of a National Art Salon reform: the 2600th Anniversary Art Exhibition of the Birth of Japan, War, and 'New Order']," Kindai Gasetsu [Modern Painting Theory] no. 16 (December 2007): 81-95.

Selected Awards and Grants:

Research Fellowship Program from the Japan Foundation

Individual Research Grant from the Metropolitan Center for Far East Asian Art Studies

New Faculty General Research Fund, University of Kansas

Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize (Japan Art History Forum) for “Art and the State: Government-Sponsored Art Exhibitions and Art Politics in War-Time Japan”

Hyūga Postgraduate Studentship from the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

Professional Affiliations:

College Art Association
Association of Asian Studies
Japan Art History Forum
Meiji Bijutsu Gakkai (Meiji Art Society)

2017 Department Newsletter

Archived Newsletters »

Follow us on Facebook:
History of Art Events

Alumni, Submit Your News!

Apply for the
Eglinski Study Abroad Prize

Countdown to
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today