William Fleming

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Harvard University
Early Modern Japanese Literature
HSSB 2224

William Fleming specializes in early modern Japanese literature. His primary interest is in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction and the popular stage, in particular the representation of and engagement with unfamiliar cultures, whether those of rural Japan, Japan’s geographical peripheries, or overseas. He is currently completing a book manuscript in which he examines aspects of the importation, circulation, reading, and adaptation of Chinese fiction in early modern Japan. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Harvard University and has spent time as a visiting researcher at Kyoto University, Waseda University, and the National Institute of Japanese Literature in Tokyo. Before joining the faculty at UCSB, he taught in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the Theater Studies Program at Yale University.


  • Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace (Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, 2015). Co-authored with Fabian Drixler and Robert George Wheeler.

Selected Articles:

  • “Provincial Theaters and the Imagination of Japanese Identity in the Late Tokugawa Period” (tentative title), in Gary Leupp, James McClain, and Tao Demin, eds., The Tokugawa World (Routledge, forthcoming).
  • “Japanese Students Abroad and the Building of America’s First Japanese Library Collection, 1869–1878,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society, forthcoming.
  • “Suwaraya Mohei no Goshoseki mokuroku to Yēru daigaku Nihon shoseki korekushon seiritsu no hiwa” [Suwaraya Mohei’s Catalog Goshoseki mokuroku and the Forgotten Story Behind Yale University’s Japanese Library Collection], in Tōkyō daigaku shiryō hensanjo, ed., Yēru daigaku shozō Nihon kanren shiryō: mokuroku to kenkyū (Bensei shuppan, 2016), 15–28. In Japanese.
  • “Restaging the Forty-Seven Rōnin: Performance and Print in Late Eighteenth-Century Japan,” in Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 48, no. 4 (summer 2015), 391–415.
  • Review of G. G. Rowley, An Imperial Concubine’s Tale: Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in Seventeenth-Century Japan (Columbia University Press, 2012), in Japan Forum, vol. 26, no. 3 (2014), 406–408.
  • Review of Lucie Folan, ed., Stars of the Tokyo Stage: Natori Shunsen’s Kabuki Prints (National Gallery of Australia, 2012), in Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 31, no. 1 (spring 2014), 343–45.
  • “Strange Tales from Edo: Liaozhai zhiyi in Early Modern Japan,” in Sino-Japanese Studies, vol. 20 (2013), 75–115.
  • “The Tao of Kibyōshi: Santō Kyōden’s Zhuang-zi: The Licensed Edition,” in The International Journal of Comic Art, vol. 9, no. 1 (spring 2007), 79–118.