Professor Rajyashree Pandey

Rajyashree examines the categories of woman, body and gender in context of medieval Japanese literature and Buddhism.

Staff details

Professor Rajyashree Pandey


Professor of Japanese Studies


Politics and International Relations


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Rajyashree Pandey did her undergraduate degree at Oxford University in Japanese Studies. She received her Masters at Washington University and her PhD from Australian National University. She has taught in many universities across the world including Washington University (St Louis), University of Hawaii, and La Trobe University in Melbourne. She took up her current post in 2007.

Rajyashree has published widely in the areas of medieval Japanese literature, Buddhism and gender. She is particularly interested in examining the applicability of categories such as woman, body and gender, all of which emerged in the West, for understandind non-Western pasts and presents.

She also does research in postcolonial studies and popular culture, particularly on manga and anime, to consider how political concerns and ideologies are reflected in these contemporary artistic forms. Rajyashree has given several keynote addresses in these areas of her research in Estonia, Finland, Japan, UK and Germany, and some of her major publications have been translated into Japanese.

Academic Qualifications

BA (Hons) in Japanese, Oriental Institute, Oxford University, 1976

MA in Japanese Studies, Washington University, St Louis, USA, 1980

PhD (Asian Studies Department), Australian National University, Canberra, 1989


Rajyashree has taught across several disciplines. She taught at the Department of Asian Studies at Washington University, at the Department of Religions at the University of Hawaii, and was Head of Asian Studies for many years at La Trobe University, where she taught Japanese Language and Literature. She was a part-time Professor at Tallinn University, Estonia from 2007-2009. She has held a number of Fellowships in Japan, including the Japan Foundation Fellowship in 2003. She currently teaches an MA module entitled "Visualising Asia: Body, Gender, Politics", and offers two undergraduate modules on Japan, "Making Modern Japan: Great Expectations, Hard Times", and "An(Other) Japan: Politics, Ideology, Culture". She also co-teaches "Politics of Other Cultures" at undergraduate level.

Area of Supervision

Rajyashree welcomes enquiries regarding supervision in the areas of gender studies, popular culture, and Japanese politics and culture.

Recent Work


Perfumed Sleeves and Tangled Hair: Body, Woman, and Desire in Medieval Japanese Narratives,  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2016

Writing and Renunciation in Medieval Japan: The Works of the Poet-Priest Kamo no Chõmei, University of Michigan, Japanese Monograph Series, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1998. 

Selected Articles in Books and Refereed Journals:

“Reconfiguring sex, body and desire in Japanese modernity”, Postcolonial Studies, Vol 12, No 3, 2009, 289-301.

“Medieval Genealogies of Manga Horror and Anime” in Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the world of manga and anime, Mark MacWilliams ed; M.E Sharpe, 2008, pp. 219-236

“Performing the body in medieval Japanese narratives: Izumi Shikibu in Shasekishû”, Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.19, No.1, March, 2007


Publications and research outputs


Pandey, Rajyashree. 2016. Perfumed Sleeves and Tangled Hair: Body, Woman, and Desire in Medieval Japanese Narratives. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 9780824853549

Pandey, Rajyashree. 1998. Writing and Renunciation in Medieval Japan: The Works of the Poet-Priest Kamo no Chõmei. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0939512867

Book Section

Pandey, Rajyashree. 2019. Rethinking Gender in The Tale of Genji. In: James McMullen, ed. Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji: Philosophical Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 227-256. ISBN 9780190654979

Pandey, Rajyashree. 2018. Buddhism and ‘Violence’: Reading the War Chronicles The Tales of Heike. In: Sudhir Chandra, ed. Violence and Non-Violence across Time: History, Religion and Culture. Oxon: Routledge, pp. 78-100. ISBN 978-1-138-20329-7

Pandey, Rajyashree. 2014. Shintai wa fuhen ka? Genji monogatari ni okeru koromo o yomu (Is the body universal? Reading robes in the Tale of Genji). In: Atsushi Takagi; Saeko Kimura and Toru Ando, eds. Nihon bungaku kara no hihyo riron (Theorising Japanese Literature). Tokyo: Kasama Shoin.


Pandey, Rajyashree. 2018. Rethinking the politics of gender and agency: an encounter with the ‘otherness’ of medieval Japan. Japan Forum, pp. 1-23. ISSN 0955-5803

Pandey, Rajyashree. 2018. Regendering The Literary and Buddhist Textual Tradition of Medieval Japan. Intersections(42), ISSN 2068-3472

Pandey, Rajyashree. 2009. Reconfiguring sex, body and desire in Japanese modernity. Postcolonial Studies, 12(3), pp. 289-301. ISSN 1368-8790