Kai Xie joined the Kenyon faculty in 2017 after receiving her Ph.D. in Japanese literature from University of Washington, Seattle. She teaches courses in Japanese language, literature, and culture, and also directs the Japanese program at Kenyon.

With research interests and background in both Japanese and Chinese literature, Xie is especially interested in how "China" was conceptualized, transmitted, mediated, and manipulated by Japanese authors in their literary works. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Japanese Language and Literature and Asian Theatre Journal. Her current research project, tentatively titled Remapping the Sino-Japanese Dialectic: Sino-Japanese Interplay in Linked Verse Compositions of Japan, examines the juxtaposition, interaction, and integration of what Japanese authors conceived of as "Japanese" and "Chinese" elements in linked verse compositions of Japan from the 14th to 17th centuries.

Areas of Expertise

Premodern Japanese literature, Sino-Japanese comparisons and interactions, Sino-Japanese (kanbun) literature.

Education

2017 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Washington

2010 — Master of Arts from University of Massachusetts Bo

2010 — Master of Arts from University of Massachusetts Am

2007 — Master of Arts from Beijing Foreign Studies Univ

2004 — Bachelor of Arts from Beijing Foreign Studies Univ

Courses Recently Taught

This is the first half of a year-long course that is designed for students who are beginning the study of Japanese. This course introduces basic Modern Standard Japanese and provides students with language skills through intensive practice and with knowledge of various aspects of the Japanese culture. Students will also learn three types of Japanese orthography: hiragana, katakana and approximately 70 kanji. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled in this course will automatically be added to JAPN 112Y for the spring semester. No prerequisite. Offered every fall.

This second half of a yearlong course is a continuation of JAPN 111Y. The second semester continues to introduce basic Modern Standard Japanese and provides students with language skills through intensive practice and with knowledge of various aspects of the Japanese culture. Students are expected to build a solid foundation in the Japanese grammar while developing communicative skills in Japanese. Students will also learn approximately 100 kanji. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Offered every spring.

This first half of a year-long course continues building a solid foundation in the Japanese language while developing communication skills in Japanese. Students will also learn approximately 100 kanji. Coursework involves extensive assignments for speaking, listening, writing and reading, which will include materials about Japanese culture written in Japanese. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled in this course will automatically be added to JAPN 214Y for the spring semester. Prerequisite: JAPN 111Y–112Y or equivalent. Offered every fall.

This second half of a yearlong course is a continuation of JAPN 213Y. The second semester continues to build a solid foundation in the Japanese language while developing communication skills in Japanese. By the end of the course, students will have learned all the basic grammar of Modern Standard Japanese and the cumulative total of 400 kanji. Coursework involves extensive assignments for speaking, listening, writing and reading, which will include materials about Japanese culture written in Japanese. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Offered every spring.

This course explores the emergence of and transitions in the visual culture of Japan. It not only covers manga, anime and contemporary films, but also traces back to premodern times, examining illustrated handscrolls, picture books and various forms of performing arts. Students will gain a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of Japanese visual culture while developing skills in close reading, analytical thinking, discussion, presentation and writing. The course is conducted in English. No prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese language is required. No prerequisite. Offered every three years.

Japan has been fascinated with supernatural creatures for more than a millennium. Spirits, ghosts and monsters frequently appear in Japanese literature and art, and they can tell us much about Japanese history. This course examines how the supernatural and the strange are represented in works of diverse genres from ancient to contemporary times, and how these representations reflect and interact with Japanese society and culture at the time. Students will be exposed to various forms of Japanese literature and art, including myths, folk tales, illustrated handscrolls, picture books, noh, kabuki, fictions, manga, anime and films. In addition to close readings of these works, we will also situate the conception of the supernatural in broader historical and cultural contexts, discussing its relation to other topics such as gender, religion, identity, war, nation and popular culture. Students will gain a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of Japanese literature and culture while developing skills in close reading, analytical thinking, discussion, presentation and writing. This course has a CEL (Community Engaged Learning) component. Kenyon students will spend two class sessions on reading and discussing related children’s literature with students from the Wiggin Street Elementary. This course is conducted in English. No prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese language is required. This course counts toward Japanese major and minor, and Asian and Middle East Studies joint major and concentration. No prerequisite. Offered every two to three years.

In this course, we will explore a wide range of topics related to Japanese culture, such as food, religion, popular culture and performing arts. In addition to deepening students’ understanding of Japanese culture this course also seeks to further enhance reading, speaking, listening and writing proficiency in the Japanese language. Moreover, it helps students gain skills in research and presentation in Japanese. This course is conducted in Japanese. This course is repeatable for credit up to 1.0 unit. Prerequisite: JAPN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every other year.

This course introduces Japanese culture through authentic materials in Japanese language, such as newspapers, fictions, essays, TV dramas and anime. Students will learn concepts essential for understanding contemporary Japanese culture and society, and participate in discussion, presentation and research on related topics. Meanwhile, this course seeks to further enhance reading, speaking, listening and writing proficiency in the Japanese language. Prerequisite: JAPN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every other year.

This course introduces Japanese society and culture through authentic materials in Japanese language. We will study materials produced for mass consumption, including folk tales from the past, manga, anime, newspapers and science fiction. Students will learn concepts essential for understanding contemporary Japanese culture and society, and will participate in discussion, presentation and research on related topics. Meanwhile, this course seeks to further enhance reading, speaking, listening and writing proficiency in the Japanese language. This course counts toward the Japanese major and minor. Prerequisite: JAPN 213Y–214Y or equivalent.\n