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Yoshiko Okuyama

A photo of Yoshiko Okuyama

Visiting Scholar

Yoshiko Okuyama (PhD, University of Arizona) is a professor of Japanese studies in the Department of Languages at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. Her areas of specialization include Japanese popular culture, disability studies, deaf studies, second language acquisition, and technology-mediated communication.

Her recent publications include Tōjisha Manga: Japan’s Graphic Memoirs of Brain and Mental Health. (Palgrave Macmillan 2022), Reframing Disability in Manga (University of Hawaii Press, 2020), and Japanese Mythology in Film: A Semiotic Approach to Reading Japanese Film and Anime (Lexington Books, 2015).

She was a recipient of the Japanese affairs educational subsidy at Nanzan University in 2014, the Japan Foundation research fellowship in 2017, and a stipend to attend the National Endowment for Humanities Summer Institute on Global Histories of Disability in 2018. She also received a research grant from the Association for Asian Studies/ Northeast Asia Council and finalized her fieldwork in Japan in 2022 after a COVID-related interruption.

Besides her own university duties, she serves as an affiliated researcher at Institute of Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University Graduate School, gives talks at other universities, and provides cultural consultation to media outlets such as National Public Radio, the National Geographic, and CNN. She lives in Hawaii, signs American Sign Language, and is a mid-life marathon enthusiast.

Additional Information



  • Postdoc
  • Visiting Scholar