The College of Humanities celebrates its 50th year at BYU in 2015, and I am proud to be its seventh dean, following in the footsteps of luminary college leaders Bruce B. Clark, Richard Cracroft, Todd Britsch, Randall Jones, Van Gessel, and John Rosenberg. One of the great satisfactions of my career has been to work closely with former mentors, and now with former students, as colleagues in the enterprise of investigating the depth, breadth, and variety of the human experience. Our faculty members are premier teachers and scholars of national and international repute who engage in groundbreaking research, develop widely-adopted, innovative teaching materials, write prizewinning works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, and harness technology to expand the range of inquiry into the study of languages, cultures, texts, and art. Each brings a unique perspective to our humanities “collage,” and we routinely involve our students in research projects.
Professionally I am both a product of the College and a professor in it, having been an undergraduate major in comparative literature and minor in Japanese and now, with appropriate chiasmus, serve as a professor of Japanese and affiliated professor of comparative literature. I conduct research on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japanese literature, oral narrative, early Japanese sound recordings, and translation theory. As part of my research I have curated an exhibition of rare Japanese artworks from the Harold B. Lee Library archives and published a book examining how Western novels were adapted into Japanese in the late nineteenth century. I have also published an audio CD containing digitally remastered versions of the first instances of recorded Japanese music, a historical dictionary of modern Japanese literature and theater, and an English-language translation of a modern Buddhist fable. This page will allow you access to some of my more recent talks, media, and scholarship, with the hope that it may serve, if not to edify, at least to entertain.