Nadia Kanagawa

Nadia Kanagawa was born in San Diego, CA and raised in St. Louis, MO. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in history, and then traveled to Yokohama, Japan to join the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies’ 10-month training program. After completing the IUC program, she joined Google's Tokyo office where she spent three years before returning to the U.S. and to academia. She comes to Furman from the University of Southern California, where she specialized in premodern Japanese history. She received a Japan Foundation dissertation grant to spend a year in Japan completing her dissertation research. Her work examines how the seventh- through ninth-century Japanese realm approached the incorporation, assimilation and configuration of immigrants and their descendants.​​

Name Title Description


Samurai: Real and Imagined

The idea that samurai were brave warriors with a strict honor code who served their lords with undying loyalty has captured the imagination of many different audiences from premodern to modern Japan and across the world, but how does this imagined ideal relate to the real warriors who lived and (occasionally) fought in Japan? Students will discuss themes such as orientalism, gender, and nationalism in considering samurai as both real people of the past and also creations of various imaginations.


Ancient and Early Japan

Survey of Japan from its prehistoric origins to the early 17th century. Topics include: archaeology and history, origins of Japan


Modern Japan

Survey of Japan from the 16th century to the present. Topics include: Tokugawa societies and cultures, economic systems, Imperial Japan and world wars, global interactions, modernity and modernization, and contemporary Japanese issue.

  • Book Chapter
    2017 “Approach and Be Transformed: Immigrants in the Nara and Heian State” in Hapa Japan: Constructing Global Mixed Race and Mixed Roots Japanese Identities and Representations, ed. Duncan Ryuken Williams, Ito Center Editions, an imprint of Kaya Press, January 2017.
  • Translations
    2017 “Japanese International Marriages (Kokusai Kekkon): A Longue Durée History, from Early Modern Japan to Imperial Japan,” by Itsuko Kamoto in Hapa Japan: Constructing Global Mixed Race and Mixed Roots Japanese Identities and Representations, ed. Duncan Ryuken Williams, Ito Center Editions, an imprint of Kaya Press, January 2017.
  • Web-Based Publications
    2017 “Immigrants, Outsiders, and the Outside World in the Yōrō Administrative Code” on The Project for Premodern Japan Studies Website (​

Ph.D., History
University of Southern California
M.A., History
University of Southern California
B.A. in History with distinction
Yale University. Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

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