Welcome & nice to meet you!
I'm currently a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta undertaking my SSHRC funded research on manga adaptations of literary classics, but with a focus on Japanese detective manga, in the field of Comparative Literature. My research specifically examines Japanese manga and anime adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and how the Victorian sleuth has been appropriated in the role of youth and/or child detective. In Winter 2017, I taught a course of my own design entitled “Sherlock Holmes & the Transcultural Imagination” at the University of Alberta, which I won in a departmental competition (See course syllabus and reading list). I'm also a member of the local Sherlockian Society “The Wisteria Lodgers.” If I wasn't a scholar, I think, I'd most likely be a sleuth.
In addition to my thesis work, I also conduct research on women game developers in Japan, exploring questions of women's equal employment laws, Japanese work culture, and discourses of domesticity. As a feminist scholar, I'm invested in destabilizing gendered expectations and attitudes towards women's involvement in STEM, video games and other technological pursuits. My manuscript entitled "Rule Makers vs. Rule Breakers: The Impact of Legislative Policies on Women Game Developers in the Japanese Game Industry" has been accepted on November 1st 2015 for the upcoming "Women's Studies Volume" as part of the Gender and Gaming Trilogy 2018.
I was born in Miyagi, Japan, but immigrated to Canada when I was 11 months. I've lived in Ontario for the majority of my life. I'm a bilingual speaker of Japanese and English and I'm currently studying to achieve Level 5 proficiency in Mandarin Chinese with Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (HSK) and preparing to write the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF). I also have a purple sash in Mantis Style Kung Fu from the Niagara Kung Fu Academy. I'm a self-proclaimed foodie (@mimirellaz) and collect anything related to Sherlock Holmes and Aoyama Gōsho's Meitantei Konan--yes, I currently have up to 91 volumes of the original manga series, and counting!
It's my dream one day to visit the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory!
Why I study detective fiction and love what I do!
My love for everything Sherlockian was sparked not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but by Aoyama Gōsho’s famous Meitantei Konan manga and anime series. Ironically, it was Aoyama's works that introduced me to the Sherlockian canon. Although I grew up in Canada, I was very fortunate to have had access to a small library of Japanese manga where I encountered the works of Yōzaburō Kanari’s and Seimaru Amagi's Kindaichi Shōnen no Jikenbo as well as Meitantei Konan. I also grew up watching Japanese crime dramas and police procedurals such as Furuhara Ninzaburō--all thanks to my parent's influence.
Since about the age of 8, or 9 I was fascinated with tales of mystery and crime and became an avid reader of Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon and P.D. James to list but a few of my favorite authors. I collected anything and everything that had the words detective, mystery and Sherlock Holmes written on it. When I was in grade 6, my home room teacher taught a unit on mystery fiction, focusing mainly on the works of Agatha Christie. We watched a film adaptation of one of Christie's work, which I can't recall, but I clearly remember being frightened from a scene in the film where a woman is found murdered, dangling on a clothing line, and hung with pins. Despite feeling scared, I was addicted to mystery. One day, my home room teacher held a competition in class, which required us to create a mystery themed book cover. The winner would receive a note pad and pen provided by the Forensic Pathology Branch of Ontario" (thanks to her father who worked as a detective). I won that competition and I still have the notepad and envelope that came with it (though, sadly, I have lost the pen).
This was taken at Umeda station in Osaka in the summer of 2015. We couldn't get seats, but the experience of seeing it (and buying all the paraphernalia) made my day!
Detective fiction was my calling and in 2012, I pursued my first MA in Popular Culture, Communications & Film, which was prompted by what I perceived was a gap in North American scholarship on manga adaptations of classic detective fiction and Sherlock Holmes. Doing research in my field wasn't easy. At a time when the study of manga was still emerging in Canada, I turned to literary theory and interdisciplinary approaches to trouble definitions of a Great detective through a counter-orientalist reading of Aoyama’s manga. In 2013, I undertook another MA, but this time in English Literature, to study Japanese adaptations of Jane Austen’s works to further expand my knowledge of manga adaptations of literary classics. The feminist aims of this project made me rethink boundaries of female empowerment and agency and I began investigating issues of social justice and equality in Japanese society, which led me to a study of women's participation in the Japanese game industry. Ultimately, what keeps me going is my passion for detective fiction and the study of pop culture. Pop culture is everywhere! It's the food we eat, it's the music we listen to, it's the shows we watch. It shapes and defines who we are as individuals and connects us to people from all around the world. It connects us with the past, defines the present and prepares us for the future. There are but only a handful of scholars within my field of research and there is no landmark text in this field of study. I intend to write one. Who knows what the future holds, but as Holmes once said, "The game is afoot!"