Kathryn Hemmann

Kathryn Hemmann

Kathryn Hemmann

Assistant Professor

Japanese Studies: Japanese Literature and Popular Culture

Kathryn received her PhD in 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania, where her graduate research centered around Japanese fiction and graphic novels written during the past three decades. Her book project, Manga Cultures and the Female Gaze, focuses on fannish interpretations of popular manga series, specifically those of the bestselling four-woman artistic team CLAMP. She examines how these writers and artists negotiate highly gendered realms of narrative discourse, arguing for the application of a female gaze to genres that have generally been understood as taking a male audience for granted.


Current Research

Kathryn is currently studying Japanese console-based role playing games, including those in the Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Pokémon series. She is especially interested in readings that focus on environmental issues, such as attitudes toward the natural world, the politics of geography, and the ontological formation of the human, the inhuman, and the posthuman.

Selected Publications

I Coveted That Wind: Ganondorf, Buddhism, and Hyrule’s Apocalyptic Cycle
Games and Culture (August 2019): 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412019865847.

The Legends of Zelda: Fan Challenges to Dominant Video Game Narratives
In Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice, edited by Kishonna L. Gray and David J. Leonard, 213-228. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018.

The Cute Shall Inherit the Earth: Postapocalyptic Posthumanity in Tokyo Jungle
In Introducing Japanese Popular Culture, edited by Alisa Freedman and Toby Slade, 81-90. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Dangerous Women and Dangerous Stories: Gendered Narration in Kirino Natsuo’s Grotesque and Real World

In Rethinking Modern Japanese Feminisms, edited by Julia C. Bullock, Ayako Kano, and James Welker, 170-184. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2018.

The Precarity of the Housewife in Kirino Natsuo's "Rusted Hearts"
Japanese Language and Literature 51, no.2 (2017): 201-240.

A Legend of Regret: Fallen Kingdoms and Postcolonial Ghosts in Twilight Princess
Proceedings of the Association of Japanese Literary Studies 18 (2017): 47-59.

Bowser Koopa
In 100 Greatest Video Game Characters, edited by Jaime Banks, Robert Mejia, and Aubrie Adams, 26-28. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

Queering the Media Mix: The Female Gaze in Japanese Fan Comics
Transformative Works and Cultures 20 (2015). https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2015.0628.

Short Skirts and Superpowers: The Evolution of the Beautiful Fighting Girl
U.S.-Japan Women's Journal 47 (2014): 45-72.

Mythical Landscapes and Imaginary Creatures: Pokémon and Japanese Regionalism
Proceedings of the Association of Japanese Literary Studies 13 (2013): 261-271.

Courses Taught

JAPA 240: Introduction to Japanese Culture
JAPA 310: Japanese Culture in a Global World
JAPA 340: Contemporary Japanese Fiction
JAPA 340: Demonic Women in Japanese Fiction
JAPA 340: Tokyo Stories in Contemporary Fiction
JAPA 360: Introduction to Japanese Popular Culture
JAPA 360: Introduction to Anime and Manga Studies
JAPA 370: Video Games and Japan
JAPA 420: Animals and Nature in Japanese Culture
JAPA 440: Japanese for Reading Comprehension
JAPA 441: Conversational and Situational Japanese


BA, Emory University, 2006
MA, University of Pennsylvania, 2009
PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2013

Recent Presentations

Link Is Not Silent: Disability Positivity in Fan Readings of Breath of the Wild
Annual Conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies
March 2019, Seattle

Strong Female Characters: Gender, Gaming, and Digital Cultures in Japan
Asian Studies Program Spring Lecture Series
April 2018, The University of Scranton

Linkle and the Female Gaze: Differences in the Reception of Female Character Design in American and Japanese Fan Communities
Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies
March 2018, Washington DC

The Next Big Thing: Charting Fan Cultures, Social Media, and the Content Industry in Japan
Annual Conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies
March 2018, Toronto

The Female Gaze in Anime and Manga
Lunchtime Speaker Series
March 2017, Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore

Postapocalyptic Political Fantasy in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Annual Conference of the Modern Language Association
January 2017, Philadelphia

A Legend of Regret: Fallen Kingdoms and Postcolonial Ghosts in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Association of Japanese Literary Studies Annual Conference
October 2016, Pennsylvania State University

The Legends of Zelda: Fan Challenges to Video Game Narratives
Communicating with Cool Japan: International Communication Association Preconference
June 2016, Waseda University

What It Means to Be Human: Magic and Gender in Final Fantasy VI
American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting
March 2016, Harvard University

Infinite Lives and Infinite Possibilities: Posthumanism and Video Games
MAGFest Music and Gaming Education Symposium
February 2016, National Harbor, MD

Revealing and Concealing Identities: Cross-Dressing in Anime and Manga
Geek Girl Con
October 2015, Seattle

Big Eyes, Magical Girls, and the American Way: The Cultural Cross-Pollination of Shōjo Manga
Globalized Manga Culture and Fandom Symposium
February 2015, Baruch College of the City University of New York

In the Media

Outsider Stories in Contemporary Japanese Fiction
Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, May 2, 2018

Feminist Halloween 2017: Review of Nico's Fortune
The Lobster Dance, October 18, 2017

Why Ganondorf Was Wrong in The Wind Waker
FemHype, February 18, 2017

Magic and Gender in Final Fantasy VI
Kill Screen, August 16, 2016

Japanese Environmentalism, Shinto, & The Legend of Zelda
FemHype, May 10, 2016

Yoshi’s Woolly World & Mellow Mode: Validating All Skill Levels
FemHype, May 3, 2016