AB: Yale University (’62)
AM: Harvard University (’64)
PhD: Harvard University (’70)
History of Early Modern Japan, Japanese Woodblock Prints, Urban History of Edo/Tokyo, Chūshingura
Professor Smith wrote his dissertation on the prewar Japanese student movement, published as Japan’s First Student Radicals (Harvard, 1972) and Shinjinkai no kenkyû: Nihon gakusei undô no genryû (Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1972). His recent work deals with aspects of the history of Chūshingura, in an effort to integrate the historical Akô Incident with its many later stage and literary versions as a unified history of storytelling in Japan.
Professor Smith continues his research on various dimensions of the “Chūshingura” story, looking at the various ways in which the Ako Incident of the “47 Ronin” of 1701–1703 has become Japan’s “national legend” through retelling, embellishment, and reenactment in multiple media over three centuries. More recently, he has turned to research on the modern history of the city of Kyoto and the ways in which Kyoto has become the focus of a continuing reinterpretation of the meaning of “tradition” in modern Japan.
He has written extensively on woodblock prints, including Hiroshige, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Hokusai, One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji, and Kiyochika: Artist of Meiji Japan (Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988). For his recent writings and translations, see his webpage.
“The Trouble with Terasaka: The Forty-Seventh Rōnin and the Chūshingura Imagination,” Nichibunken Japan Review (2004)
Hokusai, One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji (George Braziller Inc., 1988)
Hiroshige, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (George Braziller, Inc., 1986)
Learning from SHŌGUN: Japanese History and Western Fantasy (editor and co-author, Santa Barbara, 1980)
Japan’s First Student Radicals (Harvard, 1972)