Lisa Yoneyama

Professor, Department of East Asian Studies
Professor, Women and Gender Studies Institute
Lisa Yoneyama headshot

Areas of interest

  • Memory and history
  • Gender and militarism
  • Violence, justice, human rights
  • Transpacific Cold War and Post-Cold War studies
  • Studies of colonialism, empires, neo-colonialism
  • Transnational Asian/American studies
  • The Nuclear Age


Main Bio

Lisa Yoneyama received her B.A. in German Language Studies and M.A. in International Relations at Sophia University, Tokyo, and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University, California. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, she taught Cultural Studies and U.S.-Japan Studies at University of California, San Diego, where she also served as Director of two academic units, Program for Japanese Studies and Critical Gender Studies Program.

Her research interests have centered on the memory politics concerning war and colonialism, issues related to gender and militarism, transnationalism, neo-colonialism, and nuclearism, as well as the transpacific and inter-Asia Cold War and post-Cold War knowledge production. Yoneyama was born in the United States and received her primary and secondary education in Kyoto, Japan.

Yoneyama’s first book Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space and the Dialectics of Memory (University of California, 1999) examined the politics of remembering and forgetting the Japanese history of colonialism, the Asia-Pacific War and the atomic destruction of Hiroshima. Through the exploration of city space, nuclear ruins, survivors’ testimonials, and ethnic, colonial, and gendered narratives around various memorial icons, including the Korean victims’ memorial and the monument dedicated to mothers and children, the book identifies ethno/nationalization, feminization, globalization and other cultural forces that come into play in the struggles over Hiroshima memories. Hiroshima Traces was translated and published in Japanese: Hiroshima kioku no poritikusu, Ozawa Hiroaki, et. Al., trans. (Iwanami Shoten, 2005).

Her second single-authored book, Violence, War, Redress: The Politics of Multiculturalism (Boryoku senso, ridoresu: tabunkashugi no poritikusu) was published in Japanese from Iwanami Shoten, 2003. It includes a number of essays that appeared in such journals as Sekai, Shiso, and Gendai Shiso, among others, on multiculturalism, feminism, cultural studies, neo-nationalism and the conflicts over historical memories in the global culture wars.

She also co-edited Perilous Memories: Politics of Remembering the Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press, 2001).

Yoneyama’s third single-authored book, Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes (Duke University Press, 2016) explores the transpacific entanglement of Cold War knowledge production about war, post-conflict administration of transitional justice, and the failure of decolonization. Cold War Ruins received the 2018 Best Book Award in Humanities and Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies.

Yoneyama’s research has been supported by a number of fellowships and grants over the years: SSRC-McArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security, East-West Center Postdoctoral Fellowship in Program for Cultural Studies, SSRC-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California Humanities Research Institute Resident Fellowship, Jackman Humanities Institute Research Fellowship, etc.

Yoneyama is currently working on her fifth book project, “Literature and Culture of Redress in the Nuclear Transpacific,” under the support of a SSHRC-Insight Grant, 2019-23.

Select publications

  • “Epilogue Transwar Imperial Formations: Popular Cultures.” In Pei-yin Lin and Su Yun Kim, eds., East Asian Transwar Popular Culture: Literature and Film from Taiwan and Korea. Singapore: Palgrave, 2019, pp.261-265.
  • “Toward a Decolonial Genealogy of the Transpacific.” American Quarterly 69:3 (September 2017): 471-90.
  • “Asian American Studies in Travel” Inter-Asia Cultural Critique vol. 13, no.2 (June 2012): 294-299.
  • “Politicizing Justice: Post-Cold War Redress and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission” Critical Asian Studies vol. 42, no.4 (November 2010): 653-671.
  • “Hihanteki feminizumu to Nihongun seidoreisei: Ajia/amerika kara miru josei no jinken rejimu no kansei” [Critical Feminism and Japan’s Military Sex Slavery: Asian/America and Critique of the Women’s Human Rights Regime].” In Kim Puja and Nakano Toshio, eds., Rekishi to sekinin: “Ianfu” modai to 1990 nendai [History and Accountability: “Comfort Women” Issues and the 1990s]. Tokyo: Seikyusha, 2008, pp. 234-49. Translated and published in Korean as “pip’anjok p’eminijum kwa Ilbon’gun songno yeje,” in Kim Puja and Nakano Toshio, eds., Yoska wa ch’aegim (Seoul: Sunin [Sonin], 2008).
  • “Nihon shokuminchishugi no rekishi kioku to Amerika: Yoko monogatari o megutte”  [Historical memory of Japanese Colonialism and the United States: On So Far From the Bamboo Grove.” In Komori Yoichi, et. Al, eds., Higashi Ajia rekishi ninshiki ronso no metahisutori: Kannechi, rentai 21 no kokoromi  [Metahistory of East Asian Historical Debate]. Tokyo: Seikyusha, 2008, pp. 267-284.Translated and published in Korea as “Ilbon singminjijuui ui yoksa kiok kwa Asiakye Mikugin,” in Han’il Yondae 21, ed., Han’il yoksa insik nonjaeng ui met’ahisut’ori) Seoul: Prui wa lp’ari, 2008).
  • “Shiso no kotoba: seigi to iu tasha.” [Keynote Essay: Justice and Alterity]. Shiso 993 (January 2007): 2-5.
  • “Senso no katari to posuto-reisen no masukyuriniti” [Renarration of the War and Post-Cold War Masculinities]. In Tess Morris-Suziki, et. Al., eds.,<e.Iwanami koza: Ajia/Taiheiyo senso > [Iwanami Lecture Series: The Asia-Pacific War], vol. 1, “Naze, ima, Ajia/Taiheiyo senso ka” [The Asia-Pacific War, Why Now?]. Iwanami Shoten, 2005, pp. 317-356.
  • “On the Unredressability of U.S. War Crimes: Vietnam and Japan.” Amerasia Journal vol.31, no.2 (2005):140-144.
  • “Liberation under Siege: U.S. Military Occupation and Japanese Women’s Enfranchisement.” American Quarterly 57.3 (September 2005): 885-910.
  • “Traveling Memories, Contagious Justice: Americanization of Japanese War Crimes at the End of Post-Cold War.” Journal of Asian American Studies vol.6, no.1 (February 2003): 57-93.
  • “Contes de deux ruines et au dela Politiques de la memoire: Hiroshima, World Trade Center, innommable camps-bordels japonais.” Anne Querrien, trnas. Multitudes 13 (2003): 45-53.
  • “NHK’s Censorship of Japanese Crimes Against Humanity” Harvard Asia Quarterly vol. VI, no.1 (Winter 2002): 15-19.
  • “Remembering and Imagining the Nuclear Annihilation in Hiroshima.” The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter vol.17, no.2 (2002).


  • Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
  • Violence, War, Redress: Politics of Multiculturalism (in Japanese under the title, Bōryoku, sensō, ridoresu: tabunkashugi no poritikusu). Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2003.
  • Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s). T. Fujitani, Geoffrey M. White, and Lisa Yoneyama, eds. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.
  • Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space and The Dialectics of Memory. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.