Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Professor Andrew Gerstle

Key information

Emeritus Professor of Japanese Studies Japan Research Centre Emeritus Research Associate Centre for Translation Studies Member
BA(Columbia) MA(Waseda) PHD(Harvard)
Russell Square, College Buildings
Email address


Andrew Gerstle, a Fellow of the British Academy, was born in the USA and studied Japanese culture at Columbia, Waseda (Tokyo) and Harvard Universities. A specialist in drama, literature and popular culture of the Tokugawa era. He taught at the Australian National University from 1980-1993, where he became Professor. From 1993 until his retirement in 2019 he was Professor of Japanese Studies at SOAS, University of London. He published his first book on the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725) in 1986, and later a translation of five Chikamatsu plays. He has led international research projects in Australia and the UK, resulting in many edited/joint publications. In 2005 he co-curated an exhibition on Osaka Kabuki at the British Museum, which went on to the Osaka Museum of History and the Waseda University Theatre Museum in Tokyo. This led him into the visual culture of 18th-19th century Japan where he encountered shunga (spring pictures), Japanese traditional erotic art. Realizing its importance and the taboo in modern Japan over it, he organized a research project that led to the British Museum exhibition in 2013, 'Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art', which subsequently inspired the first Shunga exhibition in Japan in 2015, thereby breaking a modern taboo.

Research interests

Japanese traditional theatre

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Barbara Micyk The supernatural in pre-modern Japanese illustrated fiction


Contact Clarence