Universiteit Leiden

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Angelika Koch-Low

Assistant Professor

Dr. A.C. Koch-Low
+31 71 527 5165

Angelika Koch-Low is an assistant professor at the Institute for Area Studies.

More information about Angelika Koch-Low


I specialize in early modern Japanese culture and language, with a particular focus on the history of genders/sexualities and history of medicine.

I completed a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Master’s degree in Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna, with periods of study at Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice and Meiji University in Tokyo. My Master’s thesis focused on the depiction of male same-sex desire in comic literature of the Edo period. This was followed by a PhD in Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge. My PhD thesis Sexual Healing. Sexuality, Health and the Body in Early Modern Japan (1600-1868), which I am currently preparing for publication with Cambridge University Press, explored medical views of sex as a health and disease concept in the Edo period. Following an appointment as visiting lecturer in pre-modern Japanese literature and language at Yale University and a research fellowship at the University of Ghent, I joined the University of Leiden in 2020. My new research project focuses on the imagination of the medical body in early modern Japan, with a particular focus on late 18th- and early 19th-century popular fiction and prints.

I am also interested in material aspects of early modern books, historical scripts and language styles (bungo, kanbun, kuzushiji) and seek to explore new pathways in Digital Humanities to highlight features that are less suited to conventional publication formats. My online project Blood, Tears and Samurai Love: Reading a Treasure from Yale's Beinecke Library, which has been carried out in collaboration with resource specialists and students from Yale University, aims to produce a critical online edition of an early 18th-century manuscript recently acquired by Yale's Beinecke Library https://tenthousandrooms.yale.edu/project/blood-tears-and-samurai-love-reading-treasure-yales-beinecke-collection

I am also part of the collaborative project Timing Day and Night: ‘Timescapes’ in Pre-modern Japan, which explores time as a set of social practices prior to the introduction of the Western time system (https://www.ames.cam.ac.uk/research/project/timing-day-and-night-timescapes-premodern-japan). In April 2015, I convened the international conference Timing Day and Night at the University of Cambridge (for select papers see the special issue of Kronoscope 17/1  https://brill.com/view/journals/kron/17/1/kron.17.issue-1.xml). In September 2016, I was awarded a JSPS Fellowship at Tokyo University to pursue further research for this project in Japan.

Beyond this, my academic and teaching interests extend to modern and contemporary Japan. I have co-edited a volume on genders and sexualities in contemporary Japan titled Manga Girl Seeks Herbivore Boy: Studying Japanese Gender at Cambridge (LIT 2013) https://www.ames.cam.ac.uk/publications/books/manga-girl-seeks-herbivore-boy) and more recently a second  volume on contemporary masculinities titled Cool Japanese Men: Studying New Masculinities at Cambridge (LIT 2017) https://www.ames.cam.ac.uk/publications/books/cool-japanese-men-studying-new-masculinities-cambridge. The third and final volume on contemporary femininities (Beyond Kawaii: Studying Japanese Femininities at Cambridge, LIT 2020) was published in June 2020.

I supervise graduate students who wish to work on subjects relating to Japanese genders and sexualities, Edo-period history and literature.

Education and Research

  • From 8/2020: Lecturer in Japanese Studies, Leiden University
  • 7/2017-6/2020: BOF Research Fellow, University of Ghent
  • 1/2017-5/2017: Visiting Lecturer in East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University
  • 9/2016-12/2016: Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences Fellow, University of Tokyo
  • 10/2014-8/2016: Research Associate and Adjunct Lecturer Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 9/2011-3/2012: Japan Foundation Phd Fellowship, Ritsumeikan University
  • 1/2010-10/2014: PhD Fellow, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

Key Publications

  • (forthcoming) ‘Medicine as Metaphor: The Medical Body in Late Eighteenth-Century Popular Fiction.' (under review with Monumenta Nipponica) (20 000 words)
  • (forthcoming) 'Jippensha Ikku’sThe Essentials of Healthy Living Inside the Abdomen (Hara no uchi yōjō shuron 腹内養生主論, 1799). An Introduction and Annotated Translation'' (under review with Monumenta Nipponica) (12 000 words)
  • (forthcoming 12/2020) 'War on Syphilis: Funakoshi Keisuke's Ehon baisō gundan 絵本黴瘡軍談 (1838)', Jan Schmidt, Willy Vande Walle and Eline Mennens (eds) Japan's Book Donation to the University of Louvain. Japanese Cultural Identity and Modernity in the 1920s. Leuven: Leuven University Press (2200 words)
  • 2020 Brigitte Steger, Angelika Koch and Christopher Tso (eds) Beyond Kawaii: Studying Japanese Femininities at Cambridge (LIT Publisher)
  • 2020 'Diplomatic Devices: The Social Lives of Foreign Timepieces in Late Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth Century Japan', Kronoscope: The International Journal for the Study of Time 20/1, pp. 64-101 https://doi.org/10.1163/15685241-12341454
  • 2017 Brigitte Steger and Angelika Koch (eds) Cool Japanese Men: Studying New Masculinities at Cambridge (LIT Publisher)
  • 2017 ‘Nightless Cities. Timing the Pleasure Quarters in Early Modern Japan’, Kronoscope: The International Journal for the Study of Time 17/1 (Special Issue Time in Historic Japan, ed. by Raji Steineck and Brigitte Steger), pp.  61-93 https://doi.org/10.1163/15685241-12341370
  • 2013 ‘Sexual Healing. Regulating Male Sexuality in Edo Books on Nurturing Life’, International Journal of Asian Studies 10/2, pp. 143-170 https://doi.org/10.1017/S1479591413000041
  • 2013 Brigitte Steger and Angelika Koch (eds) Manga Girl Seeks Herbivore Boy. Studying Japanese Gender at Cambridge. (LIT publisher) 
  • 2011 ‘Between the Back and the Front: Male Love in Humorous Tales of the Edo Period’,Vienna Journal of East Asian Studies 1, pp. 1-32

Talks and Conference Papers

  • 6/2019 International Society for the Study of Time Triennial Conference, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles ‘Diplomatic Devices: Clocks and Clashing Time(s) in Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth-century Japan’
  • 5/2019 (invited) Leiden University ‘Yale’s Ten Thousand Room Project: A User’s Perspective on Digital Humanities for Early Modern Japanese Scholarship'
  • 5/2019 (invited) International Workshop ‘Packaging Knowledge in Early Modern Japan’, Leiden University ‘Packaging Medical Knowledge in Late Eighteenth-Century Fiction’
  • 5/2019 (invited) Ruhr University Bochum, East Asian Lunchtime Seminar Series ‘Sex and Gender in Early Modern Japanese Medicine'
  • 11/2018 (invited) International Workshop ‘Early Modern Japan through its Publications’, University Paris Diderot ‘The Body as Metaphor: The Medical Body and Health in late 18th-century Japanese Illustrated Fiction’
  • 10/2018 (invited) OUTREACH TALK : Festival of Ideas, University of Cambridge ‘Manga Boy & JPop Girl: A Crash Course in Gender Theory and Japanese Popular Culture’ https://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk/events/limited-tickets-available-d...
  • 9/2018 (invited) International Workshop ‘Performing Gender and Place in Early Modern and Modern Japan’, University of Leiden ‘The Sexual Body as Gendered Space in Early Modern Japanese Medicine’
  • 8/2018 German Association of Japanese Studies Annual Conference (Deutscher Japanologentag),FU Berlin ‘Gekaufte Zeit. Zeitmessung und Zeitbewusstsein in frühmodernen Freudenvierteln‘
  • 8/2018 (invited) Symposium ‘Time in Medieval Japan’, Yamaguchi University, Time Studies Institute. Discussant for panel ‘Time and Market’
  • 6/2018(invited) Conference ‘Embattled and Conquered? The History of the Night-time in the Early Modern World’, Harvard University Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti,Florence ‘Night and the City. Night-time Entertainment in Early Modern Japan’
  • 2/2018 (invited) Cambridge East Asian Seminar Series, University of Cambridge ‘Sexual Healing. Sexuality, Health and the Male Body in Early Modern Japan’
  • 10/2017 Association of Cultural Studies Annual Conference ‘Bodies in Motion’, University of Ghent ‘Gendering the Male Body in Early Modern Japanese Medicine’
  • 2/2017 (invited) Yale Council of East Asian Studies Seminar Series, Yale University ‘Nightless Cities. Timing the Pleasure Quarters in Edo Japan’
  • 6/2016 (invited) Tokugawa Ieyasu Conference, University of Durham ‘Ieyasu’s Time: His Clock(s) and their Legacy’
  • 9/2015 Japan Foundation Alsace Japan Research Seminar, Kientzheim (France) ‘Fuyajō no jūnitoki. Kinsei yūri ni okeru jikan ishiki’( Time Awareness in Early Modern Japanese Pleasure Quarters)
  • 4/2015  Conference ‘Timing Day and Night: Timescapes in Premodern Japan’, University of Cambridge ‘“Nightless Cities”: Timing the Pleasure Quarters in Edo Japan’
  • 4/2015  OUTREACH TALK: Japanese story-telling (rakugo) event, University of Cambridge ‘Burning Flowers: Measuring Time in Early Modern Japan’s Pleasure Quarters’; introductory talk and themed rakugo evening
  • 5/2012  8th European Association of Japanese Studies PhD Workshop, Newcastle ‘Sexual Healing. Sexuality, Health and the Body in Edo Japan’
  • 4/2012 European Social Sciences History (ESSH) Conference, Glasgow ‘Undesirable Desires. Regulating Male Sexuality in Early Modern Japanese Health Discourses’
  • 8/2011  13th International Conference of the European Association of Japanese Studies (EAJS),Tallinn ‘Don’t Waste the Oil in the Lamp. Sexuality and the Healthy Body in Edo-period Writings on Nurturing Life’
  • 2/2011 14th Annual Harvard East Asia Society Conference, Cambridge/Massachusetts ‘Sexuality and Edo-period Health Cultivation’
  • 2/2011 Columbia University 20th Annual Graduate Student Conference on East Asia, NYC ‘The Pleasures of Knowledge. Informing Sexuality in the Edo Period’

Media Appearances

Assistant Professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Japan

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 105a



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