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Save the Date and Reserve a Book

Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road

Please save the date for two linked events:

  • Roundtable for Faculty from 4 to 5pm on Thurs 10/1, and immediately following
  • a public Presentation from 5:30 to 7pm on Thurs 10/1

The Committee for Comparative Literature hopes you will join us in welcoming Dr. Alisa Freedman (Japanese, University of Oregon)  to discuss her book Tokyo in Transit.  Freedman will discuss the social and cultural history of Tokyo transportation to elucidate how modern modes of transportation, and new forms of public space within transportation such as trains and busses, impact the understandings and engagements with modernity in Japanese literature.  

Because Freedman's work resonates with issues and theoretical concerns that many of us work on, including Urban Studies, Travel Literature, and issues concerning modernity, the individual and gender in literature, we envision the Roundtable event (4 to 5pm on Thurs 10/1) to be a forum in which faculty from both Languages & Literatures and English can engage in fruitful discussion of theoretical issues common to our research, while remaining grounded in disparate national and linguistic traditions.  We do not often get to learn about each other's work, so the aim of this roundtable is to facilitate potential collaboration and foster inspiration through conversation with each other and Dr. Freedman.

Please consider also staying for the public presentation immediately following the roundtable, and bringing your students!

In anticipation of the event, we will be offering complementary copies of Freedman's book, Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road to the first 15 persons to RSVP to the Roundtable from 4-5pm on Thurs 10/1 to Orna Shaughnessy (

More information on Tokyo in Transit:

Tokyo in Transit Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road

"Freedman weaves into her study a history of Tokyo's mass transit system and descriptions of material culture that provide readers a heightened sense of the everyday... Read more


Increased use of mass transportation in the early twentieth century enabled men and women of different social classes to interact in ways they had not before. Using a cultural studies approach that combines historical research and literary analysis, author Alisa Freedman investigates fictional, journalistic, and popular culture depictions of how mass transportation changed prewar Tokyo's social fabric and artistic movements, giving rise to gender roles and an understanding of the individual that have come to characterize modern Japan.


"This is not a conventional history of Tokyo's trains, but rather, a broad and ambitious exploration of the complexity and dynamism of early twentieth century Japan's modernity through depictions of Tokyo's mass transportation network. Impressive and insightful."

—Elise K. Tipton, University of Sydney