Shunsuke Nozawa




Assistant Professor

Research Keywords

Ethnography of communication, semiotics of culture, politics of language, popular culture, popular history, voice, contact, linguistic anthropology


Ph.D in Anthropology, University of Chicago
MA in Anthropology, University of Chicago
BA in Anthropology and Linguistics, New York University


As a linguistic anthropologist and cultural semiotician, I am broadly interested in the meaning of communication and sociality: how ideas and assumptions about language, media, interaction, voice, and so forth, shape everyday habits, institutional practices, and political processes. Currently, I am building a project, tentatively titled “On Social Contact,” which examines metacommunicative struggles over how to define, control, and discipline (im)proper human contact, as these struggles unfold in diverse moments of our contemporary social life, ranging from harassment to social distancing, from solo karaoke to solitary death. In another line of research I hope to continue with my ethnographic work on voice and the labor of characterization in contemporary Japanese popular culture.

I teach classes on diverse topics, ranging from popular culture to politics of language, from anthropology of Japan to academic writing and methods. My classes are mostly discussion-based, and I am looking forward to working with students to create meaningful leaning experience together.

Classes Taught on MJSP

Japanese Popular Culture; Introduction to Japanese Studies II (Culture); Diversity in Language; Marginal Texts; Academic Writing in Japanese.

Selected Publications

Edited Volumes:

  • In preparation.      (Co-edited with Jason G. Karlin and Patrick W. Galbraith) Japanese Media and Popular Culture: Key Concepts.

Journal Articles:

  • In preparation.  “The concentration booth and the handshaking lane: language ideology of the phatic.” A special issue on “Language Ideologies in Japan,” International Journal of the Sociology of Language.

  • In preparation.      (Co-authored with Gretchen Pfeil) “Effacement-Work.” Semiotic Review.
  • 2017   (難波阿丹, 難波純也, 仁井田千絵, 近藤和都との共著) 「情動の出来事性――インターフェイス, ライブ性, 交感」『情報学研究調査研究編』東京大学大学院情報学環33: 1-30
  • 2016   “Life encapsulated: addressivity in Japanese life writing.” Language and Communication46:95-105
  • 2016   (Co-authored with Christopher Ball) “Tearful Sojournsand Tribal Wives: Primitivism, kinship, suffering, and salvation on Japanese and British reality television.” American Ethnologist43(2): 243-257
  • 2015   “Phatic traces: sociality in contemporary Japan.” Anthropological Quarterly88(2): 373-400
  • 2014   “Phaticity: contact and its allure.” Section News (Society for Linguistic Anthropology) Anthropology News55(11): n.pag.
  • 2013   “Characterization.”Semiotic Review. n.pag.
  • 2012   “The gross face and virtual fame: semiotic mediation in Japanese virtual communication.” First Monday17(3) n.pag.
  • 2007   “The meaning of life: regimes of textuality and memory in Japanese personal historiography.” Language and Communication27(2): 153-177

Book Chapters:

  • Forthcoming.   “Face.” In: James Stanlaw, ed., The International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology.
  • Forthcoming.   “The Face.” In: Mary Bucholtz and Kira Hall, eds., Parsing the Body: Language and the Social Life of Embodiment.
  • Forthcoming.   “Effacement.” In: Jason Karlin, Patrick Galbraith, and Shunsuke Nozawa, eds., Japanese Media and Popular Culture: Key Concepts.
  • Forthcoming.   “Phatic communication.” In: Jason Karlin, Patrick Galbraith, and Shunsuke Nozawa, eds., Japanese Media and Popular Culture: Key Concepts.
  • 2018   「言語のキャラクター化――遊戯的翻訳と引用」定延利之編『キャラ概念の広がりと深まりに向けて』Pp. 217-236. 三省堂
  • 2018   「「荒らし」と相互忘却」武黒麻紀子編『相互行為におけるディスコーダンス――言語人類学からみた不一致・不調和・葛藤』Pp. 98-119. ひつじ書房
  • 2016   “Ensoulment and effacement in Japanese voice acting.” In: Patrick Galbraith and Jason Karlin, eds., Media Convergence in Japan. Pp. 169-199. Kinema Club
  • 2012   “Discourses of the coming: ignorance, forgetting, and prolepsis in Japanese life-historiography.” In: Casey High, Ann Kelly, and Jonathan Mair, eds., Anthropology of Ignorance: an Ethnographic Approach. Pp. 55-85. New York & Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan

Book Reviews:

  • 2016   Aging and Loss: Mourning and Maturity in Contemporary Japan, by Jason Danely. Anthropological Quarterly89(1): 297-302
  • 2007   Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan, by Miyako Inoue. Anthropological Quarterly80(1): 295-299