Stefan TanakaStefan Tanaka 

Professor of Communication
Director, Center for the Humanities



Ph.D. in Japanese History, University of Chicago (1986)


Stefan Tanaka is a historian who has worked on modern Japan. His earlier work focused on the ways that history, pasts, and time were configured to define Japan's world and itself. Recently that inquiry has shifted to history as a technology of communication. This shift to history as media opens an inquiry into different ways that historical knowledge, categories, and practices are both tied to particular literary systems and might change in the digital age.



  • New Times in Modern Japan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004).
  • Japan's Orient: Rendering Pasts into History (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993).

Selected Articles

  • Axel Schneider and Stefan Tanaka. ``The Transformation of History in China and Japan.'' Oxford History of History Writing, volume 4, edited by Stuart MacIntyre, Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press.
  • ``Digital Media in History: Remediating Data and Narratives,'' Perspectives in History, May 2009.
  • ``Time and the Paradox of the Orient,'' Toajia bunka kosho kenkyu, 4 (bessatsu) (3.2009):165-77.
  • ``New Media and Historical Narrative: 1884 Japan,'' Performance Research, 11.4(2006): 95-104.
  • ``Objectivism and the Eradication of Critique in Japanese History,'' in H. D. Harootunian and Masao Miyoshi, eds. Learning Places: Area Studies, Colonial, Cultural, and Ethnic Studies, and Received Disciplines. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.
  • ``Childhood: the Naturalization of Development into a Japanese Space,'' in Sally Humphreys, ed. Cultures of Scholarship. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.