College of Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Kathryn Hemmann

Kathryn Hemmann

Kathryn Hemmann

Assistant Professor

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, Writing Women Readers: 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 Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, 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

Queering the Media Mix: The Female Gaze in Japanese Fan Comics
Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol. 20 (2015)

Short Skirts and Superpowers: The Evolution of the Beautiful Fighting Girl
U.S.-Japan Women's Journal, No. 47 (2014)

Mythical Landscapes and Imaginary Creatures: Pokémon and Japanese Regionalism
Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies, No. 13 (2013)

Courses Taught

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 Anime and Manga Studies
JAPA 370: Video Games and Japan
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

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

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

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

“Beyond Damsels & Villains in A Tale of Two Rulers
FemHype, July 18, 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