PEAK Staff Profile

Toshiko Ellis, MA (University of Tokyo), PhD (Monash)
Professor – Japan in East Asia

Contact : ellis[at]


Toshiko Ellis Toshiko Ellis received her training in comparative literature at the Graduate School of Humanities at the University of Tokyo. From 1986 to 1992 she taught Japanese literature and culture at Monash University, Australia, where she received her Ph.D. She has been teaching at the University of Tokyo since 1992 and offers courses in comparative literature, Japanese poetry, modern Japanese novels, translation studies, etc. at the Department of Language and Information Sciences, and also teaches English to 1st/2nd year students. Professor Ellis has been involved in the exchange program at the Komaba campus for many years, and apart from administering the program has also been offering Japanese Literature courses in English.

Research Interests

Professor Ellis specializes in modern Japanese poetry and has written extensively on Japanese poetic modernism, focusing on Japanese poets of the 1920s and 1930s, reading their works against Japan’s socio-cultural and historical background, looking at how the poets struggled to come to terms with, incorporate, fight against or overcome the fundamental dilemma of Japanese modernity. She has also published broadly on issues related to modernism and postmodernism in Japanese literature.

Selected Publications

Hagiwara Sakutaro: Shiteki Imeeji no Kosei (The Poetic Imagery of Hagiwara Sakutaro), Tokyo: Chusekisha, 1986.
“Questioning Modernism and Postmodernism in Japanese Literature” in Y. Sugimoto and J. Arnason (eds), Japanese Encounters with Postmodernity, London: Kegan Paul International, 1995. pp.133-153.
“Struggling with the Contemporary: Japanese Literature after the Modern,” in Y. Sugimoto (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Japanese Culture, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 11, 2009. pp.199-215.
“Woman and the Body in Modern Japanese Poetry,” Lectora: Revista de Dones i Textualitat, Dossier, Mujeres en Asia Oriental, coord. Pau Pitarch Fernandez, Facultat de Filologia, Universitat de Barcelona, 2010. pp.93-105.
‘The Invisible Other and Symptomatic Silences: The Japanese Poetic Visions of the Colonial Pacific in the 1920s,” in Coolabah, No 10, ISSN1988-5946 Observatori Centre d’Estudis Australians, Universitat de Barcelona, l.Alonso-Breto and M.Renes (eds), 2013. pp.62-72.