Nozomi Naoi

Humanities (Art History)

Assistant Professor
J Y Pillay Fellow

Contact No.: +65 6601-3654

Assistant Professor Nozomi Naoi did her graduate work at Harvard University at the Department of History of Art and Architecture where she completed her PhD in 2014 and received her MA in 2009. Before starting her graduate programme, Asst Prof Naoi worked as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Asst Prof Naoi grew up bi-culturally and bilingually in Tokyo, Japan through an international school system.

Asst Prof Naoi’s research interests include Japanese prints and visual culture, Japanese graphic design and department store posters, images of children in modern Japan, the development of new media technologies in modern and contemporary Asia as well as the evolving forms of female imagery in East Asian art and design.

Her first book, Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth Century Japan (University of Washington Press, 2020) illuminates the work by the hugely popular Japanese artist, Takehisa Yumeji (1884–1934) and situates his graphic art within the emerging media landscape of the 1900s and 1910s, when novel forms of reprographic communication helped create new spaces of visual culture and image circulation. The book addresses Yumeji’s rich and yet unexplored synergy between his leftist and antiwar illustrations in socialist bulletins; wrenching portrayals of Tokyo after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923; and fashionable images of beautiful women—referred to as “Yumeji-style beauties”—in books and magazines that targeted a new demographic of young female consumers. Asst Prof Naoi was interviewed for a podcast interview by New Books Network about Yumeji Modern and has written a Press Blog reflecting on Yumeji’s Great Kantō Earthquake series and its meaning in our current pandemic times: “What keeps us calm during the chaos: Nozomi Naoi on Yumeji Modern and finding the “moon-viewing” moment.” Asst Prof Naoi is on the Steering Committee for the Society for the Promotion of International English-Language Scholarship on East Asian Art History and has helped develop the website platform to promote new books in East Asian Art History, which has two feature videos of highlights from Yumeji Modern.

Asst Prof Naoi co-curated the first exhibition focused on Takehisa Yumeji outside of Japan, Takehisa Yumeji: Artist of Romance and Nostalgia (Nihon no hanga Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2015). She is also the co-author of the accompanying exhibition catalogue, Takehisa Yumeji, for which she received the first Takehisa Yumeji Research Society Award (March 4, 2017) for contributing to Yumeji studies in the English language scholarship.

Asst Prof Naoi has published on the development of Japanese posters, “The Modern Beauty in Taishō Media,” in The Women of Shin Hanga (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2013), which analyses the image of the female beauty in Japanese poster production and addresses issues of advertisement, department stores, consumer culture, and design.

Asst Prof Naoi is currently working on two research projects. The first project furthers her previous work on Japanese poster design to examine the role of department stores, designers, and global modernism during the early twentieth century. She will focus on poster designs by Sugiura Hisui (1876-1965), Mitsukoshi Department store’s in-house designer and founding director of Advertising, and other works from the modern to postwar era. Asst Prof Naoi has received the J Y Pillay Fellowship to further this project. The second project examines the visualization of children and childhood in art and literary magazines in modern Japan. The image and value of the modern Japanese child demonstrated through the print media convey the formation and role of family identity, gender roles, education, and class in modern Japan. This project will take a more multi-disciplinary approach. Asst Prof Naoi has presented multiple times on these two projects.

Asst Prof Naoi is also collaborating with Associate Professor Maria Taroutina and Dr Yanyun Chen in examining art and regional identity in a global context with comparative perspectives from Japan, Russia, and Singapore.  



Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth Century Japan (University of Washington Press, 2020)

“The State and Future of Yumeji Studies: Nihon no Hanga Exhibition and Beyond (欧米における夢二研究の現状とこれから—アムステルダム夢二展を越えて—).” Takehisa Yumeji Research Society Journal (Takehisa Yumeji Gakkai: Gakkai shi), “Takehisa Yumeji Studies (Takehisa Yumeji kenkyū)” vol. 1 no. 1 (Dec. 2017), 43-49. (in Japanese)

Naoi, Nozomi, Sabine Schenk, and Maureen de Vries. Takehisa Yumeji. Leiden: Hotei Publishing/Brill, 2015.

“Beauties and Beyond: Takehisa Yumeji and the Yumeji-shiki.” Andon 98 (2015).

[Reprint] Arrow Film Blu-ray release of film director Suzuki Seijun’s Taisho Trilogy box set
(Zigeunerweisen, Kagero-za and Yumeji), accompanying essay in release booklet.

“The Modern Beauty in Taishō Media.” In The Women of Shin Hanga: The Joseph and Judy Barker Collection of Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints, edited by Allen Hockley, 23-42. Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 2013.

“Select Annotated Bibliography on Okakura Kakuzō.” With Noriko Murai In The Review of Japanese Culture and Society, vol XXIV (Dec. 2013) “Okakura Kakuzō: New Perspectives,” published by the Jōsai International Center for the Promotion of Art and Science, Jōsai University.

The Female Image in Japanese Art and Literature
Japanese Woodblock Prints
Modern Art in East Asia
From Edo to Modern City: TOKYO (HI)
Critical Approaches to Art History
Literature and Humanities II