Sabine Frühstück

East Asia Center, Director
Ph.D., University of Vienna
Modern Japanese Cultural Studies
HSSB 2232


Sabine Frühstück is interested in the study of modern and contemporary Japanese culture and its relationship to the rest of the world. Her research has engaged several intellectual fields. In Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan (2003) she uses the methodologies of the historical and sociological study of knowledge to examine the formation and application of a “science of sex” from the late 19th through the mid-20th century. The book constitutes a history of the interplay between sexuality, scientific expertise, social control and politics. During her research for Colonizing Sex, Frühstück became aware of the military’s enormous impact on the formation of the modern world. Subsequently, the armed forces became a second area of research. The ethnography, Uneasy Warriors: Gender, Memory and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army (2007) employs gender, memory and popular culture as technologies of…

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…engagement with a number of debates that centrally involve the ambivalent status and condition of Japan’s contemporary military. Frühstück’s new book, Playing War: Children and the Paradoxes of Modern Militarism in Japan (2017) is a cultural history of the naturalized connections between childhood and militarism. It analyzes the rules and regularities of war play, from the hills and along the rivers of 19th century rural Japan to the killing fields of 21st century cyberspace.

Committed to the pursuit of knowledge as an interdisciplinary and transnational enterprise, Frühstück has co-edited volumes on Child’s Play: Multi-sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan (2017), Recreating Japanese Men (2011), Neue Geschichten der Sexualität (1999), and The Culture of Japan as Seen Through Its Leisure (1998). Her articles and essays have appeared in Japanese, German, French, and English.

Frühstück has been serving on the American Advisory Committee for Japanese Studies of the Japan Foundation; the North East Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies; the Executive Board of the Vereinigung für sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung; the Board of Trustees of the Society for Japanese Studies; the advisory/editorial boards of book series on “Transnational Asian Masculinities” (Hong Kong University Press) and “Children, Youth and War” (University of Georgia Press); the advisory boards of The Journal of Japanese Studies and Japan Forum, and the editorial committee of the University of California Press. She has been the chair of the Executive Board of the Pacific Rim Research Program, University of California, and the director of the East Asia Center at UCSB. She was a Japan Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Tokyo (1998-99, 2001), a University of California President’s fellow at Berkeley (2001-2002), an external faculty fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (2005-2006), a visiting research professor at Kyoto University (2003), a senior fellow at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna (2010), and a visiting scholar at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University.



Selected Articles:

Courses Taught:

  • Violence and the State in Modern Japan (Japan 25, lower division)
  • Culture and Society of Modern Japan (Japan 63, lower division)
  • Asian Values (EACS 7, co-taught)
  • Modern East Asian Cultures (EACS 4B, co-taught)
  • Representations of Sexuality in Modern Japan (Japan 162, upper division); cross-listed with History and Anthropology
  • Modernity and the Masses in Taisho Japan (Japan 164, upper division); cross-listed with History
  • Popular Culture in Japan (Japan 165, upper division)
  • Japan Modern (Japan 226, graduate seminar)
  • Topics in Modern East Asian Cultural Studies (EACS 215, graduate seminar)
  • Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan (INT 94BC, freshmen seminar)
  • Men and Masculinities in Modern Japan (INT 94IA, freshman seminar)
  • Growing Up in Japan (INT 94IA, freshmen seminar)
  • History and Memory in the 20th Century (INT 184SF honors forum course)