Gabriele Koch

Social Sciences (Anthropology)

Assistant Professor


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Assistant Professor Gabriele Koch received her PhD and MA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and her BA in East Asian Studies from Stanford University. At the University of Michigan, Asst Prof Koch’s writing and teaching received multiple honours, including the Louise Ann Williams Distinguished Dissertation Award from the Anthropology faculty. Her work has been supported by grants from Fulbright IIE and the National Science Foundation. Prior to joining Yale-NUS College, Asst Prof Koch was a postdoctoral fellow at the Edwin O Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University.

Asst Prof Koch is a cultural anthropologist specialising in the critical study of gender and sexuality, labour, and political economy in Japan. Her work examines the political and economic consequences of erotic life, with a particular focus on the forms of gendered care involved in different modes of commercial sexual exchange in Japan. Her first book, Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy (forthcoming February 2020, Stanford University Press), explores the relationship between how adult Japanese women working in Tokyo’s sex industry think about what sex is and what it does and the roles and possibilities that they imagine for themselves.


Forthcoming (February 2020). Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


2016 “Producing Iyashi: Healing and Labor in Tokyo’s Sex Industry.” American Ethnologist 43(4): 704-716

2016 “Willing Daughters: The Moral Rhetoric of Filial Sacrifice and Financial Autonomy in Tokyo’s Sex Industry.” Critical Asian Studies 48(2):215-234

Comparative Social Inquiry
Ethnic Diversity in Japan
The Anthropological Imagination
Gender Perspectives in Anthropology
Sexual Economies
The Anthropology of Human Rights