Maude I. Kerns Associate Professor of Japanese Art & Director of Undergraduate Studies
Lawrence Hall 237A
Harvard University, Ph.D., 2009
Akiko Walley received her Ph.D. in Art History in 2009 from Harvard University. She specializes in Japanese Buddhist art of the seventh and eighth centuries. Buddhism was introduced to Japan through the kingdoms on the Korean peninsula in the first half of the sixth century and eventually flourished as a core belief system in Japan; Buddhism is the bedrock of every aspect of Japanese lives even today. Walley focuses on the incipient period of Japanese Buddhism to reconsider the idea of “transmission” (denrai). Her interest lies in articulating more precisely the process in which a foreign idea or belief system takes root in a community. Her current book-length project investigates early Buddhist relic devotion in Japan in a trans-Asian context, focusing on the performative nature of Buddhist reliquaries. Walley also has secondary and tertiary research interests in topics such as: Edo-period (1615-1868) literati painting; Buddhist scriptures and the materiality of East Asian calligraphy; Edo-period luxurious prints (surimono); Contemporary prints, particularly by Kusama Yayoi; and manga modes of expression and the impact of onomatopoeia on animation sound effects.
Walley teaches a wide range of courses on Japanese art from prehistoric to contemporary times. Recent upper-division themed courses she has offered include: 6th-8th Century East Asian Buddhist Networks; Nirvana; Japanese Art and Christianity; Eccentrics in Japanese Art; Global Japan; War and Japanese Art; Contemporary Japanese Prints; and History of Manga. She has advised graduate students interested in an array of topics from Heian-period Buddhist sculpture, early modern woodblock prints and painting, underground Christian artifacts, to Araki Nobuyoshi’s photography.