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, manga, and architecture from the seventeenth-century to the present and the arts of Asia Americans and Asian diasporas. Her research concerns the politics of memory, race, and gender in twentieth-century Japanese visual culture and the Asia-Pacific region. Her book Mirroring the Japanese Empire published in 2014 examines the representation and signification of the male figure in Japanese oil painting and cinema between 1930 and 1950, the decades when Japan engaged with a series of imperialist wars. Kaneko’s current research includes Japanese American diaspora artists, the history of “outsider art” in Japan, and gender and sexuality in contemporary visual culture.


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
Manga: Histories and Theories
The Art of Asian Americans and Asian Diasporas
City of Tokyo

Graduate Seminars:

Asian Art: Theory and Method (co-taught with Amy McNair)
Photography: From Colonialism to Globalism (co-taught with John Pultz)
Asian Artists across the Pacific
Crafts in Japan: Materials, Making, and Meaning (co-taught with Sherry Fowler)
The Avant-garde in Japanese and Korean Arts (co-taught with Jungsil Jenny Lee)
Korea-Japan Artistic Interactions (co-taught with Maya Stiller)
Men and Masculinities in Japanese Visual Culture
Disasters in Japanese Visual 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)
War and Empire in 20th-Century Japanese Visual Culture

Selected Publications:

"Modern & Contemporary East Asian Art," co-edited with Kris Imants Ercums, special issue, Spencer Museum of Art: The Register, no. 5 (2019).

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

"Contemporary Goshin’ei: The Emperor, Art, and the Anus,” in Noriko Murai, Jeff Kingston and Tina Burrett (eds.), Japan in Heisei Era (1989-2019): Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Routledge; 2022), 14-30.

“Hokubei ni okeru Nihon kindai bijutsushi to Ajiakei America bijutsu kenkyū no shiza” [Japanese Modern Art History in North America and the Perspective of Asian American Art Studies], in Kitahara Megumi ed., Kagakukenkyuhi kiban kenkyū, Kenkyuseika hōkokusho: Tokushū Taniguchi Fumie kenkyū [Report of Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research: Special Issue: Taniguchi Fumie Studies] (Toyonaka: Ryūshidō, 2018), 67-78.

“Bijutsushi kara mita Mirikitani [Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani from an Art Historical Perspective],” in Mirikitani no neko [The Cats of Mirikitani] movie booklet and webpage, 2016.

“War Heroes of Modern Japan: Early 1930s War Fever and the Three Brave Bombers,” in Philip K. Hu ed., Conflicts of Interest: The Art of War in Modern Japan (St. Louis: St. Louis Art Museum, 2016), 69-81.

"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 in Nihon 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)

Doctoral Dissertations Chaired

Takaaki Kumagai, “Kitagawa Tamiji's Art and Art Education: Translating Culture in Postrevolutionary Mexico and Modern Japan,” April 2017.
Alison Miller, “Mother of the Nation: Femininity, Modernity, and Class in the Image of Empress Teimei,” April 2016.

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