Dr. Brecher teaches courses on East Asia and specializes in early modern and modern Japanese social and cultural history. His past research projects have focused on Japanese thought, aesthetics, urban history, race, private spheres, autonomy, as well as contemporary environmental issues. Currently he is working on several projects pertaining to the history of Japanese animal care and hunting.
Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2005
M.A., University of Michigan, 1991
B.A., Kenyon College, 1988
Research and Teaching Interests
Animal Care in Japanese Tradition: A Short History (Association for Asian Studies, distributed by Columbia University Press, 2022)
The Aesthetics of Strangeness: Eccentricity and Madness in Early Modern Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2013).
Articles & Chapters
2018 “Contested Utopias: Civilization and Leisure in the Meiji Era,” Asian Ethnology 77:1&2 (2018): 31-53.
2017 “Eurasians and Racial Capital in a ‘Race War’,” Asia Pacific Perspectives 14:2 (Spring 2017): 4-19.
2016 “A Miscellany of Eccentricities: Spirituality and Obsession in Hyakka kikōden,” Asian Ethnology 75:2 (2016): 303-2
2016 “Warugaki de aru koto: Edo jidai no kodomotachi no hankô no rinri,” in Edo no naka no Nihon, Nihon no naka no Edo, Peter Nosco, James E. Ketelaar, and Yasunori Kojima, eds. Tokyo: Kashiwa shobo
2015 “Being a Brat: The Ethics of Child Disobedience in the Edo Period,” in Values, Identity, and Equality in 18th– and 19th-Century Japan, Peter Nosco, James E. Ketelaar, and Yasunori Kojima, eds. Leiden, Boston, Tokyo: Brill, pp. 80-109.
2014 “Precarity, Kawaii, and their Impact on Environmental Discourse in Japan,” in Visions of Precarity in Japanese Popular Culture and Literature, Roman Rosenbaum and Kristina Iwata Weickgenannt, eds. London, New York: Routledge, pp. 43-63.
2013 “Sustainability as Community: Healing in a Japanese Ecovillage,” The Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies 13:3 (2013), pp. 1-23.
2013 “Post-Disaster Japan’s Environmental Transition,” in Values in Sustainable Development, ed. Jack Appleton. London, New York: Routledge, pp. 172-181.
2012 “Useless Losers: Marginality and Modernization in Early Meiji Japan,” The European Legacy 17:6 (2012): pp. 803-817.
2010 “In Appreciation of Buffoonery, Egotism, and the Shômon School: Koikawa Harumachi’s Kachô kakurenbô.” Early Modern Japan: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 18 (2010): pp. 88-102.
2010 “Eccentricity as Ideology: Biographies of Meiji Kijin.” Japanese Language and Literature, 44:2 (October 2010): pp. 213-237.
2010 “Kôetsumura: Of Rhythms and Reminiscence in Hon’ami Kôetsu’s Commune.” Japan Review, 22: pp. 27-53.
2010 “Brewing Spirits, Brewing Songs: Saké, Haikai, and the Aestheticization of Suburban Space in Edo Period Itami.” Japan Studies Review, XIV: pp. 17-44.
2009 “Down and Out in Negishi: Reclusion and Struggle in an Edo Suburb,” Journal of Japanese Studies 35:1 (Winter 2009): pp. 1-35.
2006 “Bungei ni okeru ‘ki’: rekishi wo kaeru gendôryoku ka? Sore to mo senryakuteki junnô ka?” Nichibunken 35: 27-34.
2005 “To Romp in Heaven: A Translation of the Hôsa Kyôshaden.” Early Modern Japan: An Interdisciplinary Journal 13 (Spring 2005): pp. 11-27.
1999 “Shizen to bunka no hikaku shakaigaku,” in Chiiki to Bunka, Yasui Koji, ed. Nagano, Japan: Kyôdô Press, pp. 233-59.