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William Hedberg

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Associate Professor, Japanese
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 0202
Affiliated Faculty
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 0202

William C. Hedberg's primary research focus is the literature and culture of early modern Japan.  His first book, The Japanese Discovery of Chinese Fiction: The Water Margin and the Making of a National Canon, was published by Columbia University Press in the fall of 2019. Other research interests include Japanese Sinology, translation studies, and travel literature in early modern and modern East Asia. Hedberg's research has been published in the Journal of Japanese Studies, Japan Forum, East Asian Publishing and Society, and Sino-Japanese Studies, among other venues.

  • Ph.D. East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University 2012
  • B.A. East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Kansas 2005
Research Interests: 

Sino-Japanese literary and cultural relations (esp. early modern period)

Japanese Sinology

Travel literature

Translation studies

Premodern fiction criticism in East Asia


"Translation, Colonization, and the Fall of Utopia: The Qing Decline as Explained Through Chinese Fiction" Japanese Literature and Language, Vol. 54.1 (2020), pp. 115-135.

"Chinese Fiction as a 'Signal Bell of the Revolution' and the Transregional Birth of an Author" East Asian Publishing and Society, Vol. 9.2 (2019), pp. 125-150.

"Paradise Lost and Regained: The Passion of Chinese Studies in Meiji-Period Japan" Sino-Japanese Studies, Vol. 26 (2019), pp. 1-30

“Akutagawa Ryūnosuke’s Uncanny Travels in Republican-Era China” Japan Forum 29.2 (June 2017), pp. 236-256.

“Separating the Word and the Way:  Suyama Nantō’s Chūgi Suikodenkai and Edo-Period Vernacular Philology” The Journal of Japanese Studies 41.2 (2015), pp. 343-367.

“Reclaiming the Margins: Seita Tansō’s Suikoden hihyōkai and the Poetics of Cross-Cultural Influence” International Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 12.2 (2015), pp. 193-215.

“The Chinese Afterlives of Coxinga and the Forty-Seven Faithful Rōnin of Akō:  Japanese Puppet Theatre and Cultural Encounter in Edo-Period Nagasaki” Sino-Japanese Studies, Vol. 20 (2013), pp. 34-65.

Research Activity: 

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship Program

Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton

Social Science Research Council Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship

Japan Foundation Institutional Project Support Program

Participant in US Department of Education Title VI UISFL grant (“Asia Mediated”)



Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
JPN 484Internship
JPN 492Honors Directed Study
JPN 493Honors Thesis
JPN 499Individualized Instruction
JPN 586History of Japanology
JPN 590Reading and Conference
JPN 592Research
JPN 595Continuing Registration
JPN 599Thesis
Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
JPN 333Japanese Civilization
JPN 484Internship
JPN 590Reading and Conference
JPN 592Research
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
JPN 115Japanese Popular Culture
JPN 484Internship
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
JPN 414Intro to Classical Japanese
SLC 551Global Approaches to Trans
JPN 590Reading and Conference