Professor, Asian Studies and Director, Asian Languages and Cultures
Jan Leuchtenberger’s research interests include representations of Japan and the West in early modern Japanese discourses, and the earliest representations of Japan in Europe. She authored the book Conquering Demons: The “Kirishitan,” Japan, and the World in Early Modern Japanese Literature, which examines the origins and influence of three popular anti-Christian works in Japan from the 17th and 18th centuries. The book covers Japanese narratives written during the Edo period (1603–1868) about the earlier arrival and expulsion of Christian missionaries, who are portrayed as villains who used magic, money, and medicine to lure potential converts into betraying their country. It also analyzes the representations of Japan and the Kirishitan in the context of contemporary discourses on the world and Japan’s place in it. Leuchtenberger teaches all levels of Japanese language, as well as courses on Japanese literature in translation, including Death and Desire in Premodern Japanese Literature and Writing the Margins in Contemporary Japanese Literature.