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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

East Asian Studies
University Associate Professor in Pre-Modern Japanese Studies
Email address: 
+44 (0) 1223 335148
Fellow of: 
Emmanuel College
Director of Studies at: 
Emmanuel College

After a BA and an MA in Japanese Studies at Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (Italy), in 2003 I earned a PhD at the same university. Following the Italian practice at the time, I spent the first two years of my PhD course studying at Tokyo University as a research student (kenkyūsei) with the help of a Monbukagakusho Scholarship. My study focused on Edo-period literature and I was trained mainly by Profs Nobuhiro Shinji and Nagashima Hiroaki. I pursued and further strengthened my interests in 17th-century Japanese prose by working with Prof Fukasawa Akio (Shōwa Joshi Daigaku) and Oka Masahiko (NIJL and Sophia University).

I have many years of teaching/research experience. I started as a Teaching and Research Associate at Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (2003-2005), then became a Lecturer at the same university (2005-2010), while also working as an Adjunct Professor at Università degli Studi di Bergamo (2006-2010). My teaching covered various aspects of Japanese Studies, namely pre-modern and early-modern Japanese literature, classical Japanese and modern Japanese language at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2010 I joined the School of Modern Languages at Newcastle University (UK). The interdisciplinary and multicultural environment and, in particular, the privilege of working with two German medievalists/early-modernists (Prof Henrike Lahenemann and Dr Elizabeth Andersen) nurtured some of the theoretical aspects of my research on Japanese early-modern prose. I was invited to be a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia (2008), Keio University (2009), Leiden University (2009), Leuven University (2009), Ritsumeikan University (2010), Japan Women's University (2016).

I am deeply engaged in teaching how to read Japanese calligraphy (hentaigana, kuzushiji and sorobun) in order to access and decode manuscript and printed texts produced until the begining of the twentieth century and run graduate workshops for hentaigana, kuzushiji, sorobun and kanbun.

I was Secretary of the European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists from 2008 to 2012. 

I have been a member of the extended Council of the European Association of Japanese Studies since 2011 and in 2015 was elected Secretary of the same Association.


Teaching responsibilities: 

Dr Moretti teaches a range of Japanese undergraduate courses, with a focus on Japanese literature up to the 19th century and premodern Japanese.

Supervision information: 

Dr Moretti welcomes graduate projects on Japanese literature, intellectual history, textual scholarship, book history, translation studies and popular culture (with a focus on the Edo period and with or without connection with contemporary Japan).

Research interests: 

My research focusses on early-modern Japanese popular literature. I work with a focus on seventeenth-century prose but not only. Other research interests include early-modern ephemera (with a specific interest in kobanzuke printed and sold by the Osaka publisher Shioya Kihei); intertextuality, parody and re-packaging in the early-modern book industry; text and image relationships with a focus on picture-books; early-modern palaeography; textual scholarship focussed on wahon.

Pleasure in Profit


Current PhD students

Mr Frederick Feilden: From A to B and Back Again? Picturebook Adaptations in Nineteenth-Century Japan Freddie is looking at strategies of adaptation in 19th-century Japanese popular literature, with a particular focus on picturebook genres such as yomihon and gōkan. Through analysing the transformations in content and format, he aims to clarify the connections between narrativity, temporality, text and image on the page - ultimately as a means of considering what these creative rewritings may tell us about the relationship between commercial publication and the evolution of readership from late Edo through into the Meiji period.
Ms Helen Magowan: Nyohitsu - the construction of femininities through writing Helen is investigating women’s writing in premodern Japan. Japanese writing, its calligraphic scripts, letterforms, vocabulary and expression, had gendered aspects which affected - and continue to affect - the manner and form in which people express themselves. My research focusses on manuals published in the 17th century teaching women how to write in a ‘feminine’ mode, asking what they tell us about femininities in the early-modern period.

Articles, Book Chapters etc

Adaptation as a Strategy for Participation: The Chikusai Storyworld in Early Modern Japanese Literature. Japanese Language and Literature [Online], 54.1 (2020) pp. 67-113 (2020)
近世初期・前期の散文文学における『伊勢物語』の書き直し、パロディーおよび新展開 (‘Kinsei shoki – zenki no sanbun bungaku ni okeru Ise monogatari no kakinaoshi, parodi oyobi shin tenkai) Yamamoto Tokurō (ed.) & Joshua Mostow (ed.) 伊勢物語創造と変容 (Ise monogatari sōzō to hen’yō) pp. 269-301 (2018)
Sōgōteki wahon literashii: Kenburijji daigaku Imanueru carejji no kokoromi「総合的和本リテラシー」教育―ケンブリッジ大学イマヌエル・カレッジの試み Shomotsugaku 書物学, n.9 pp. 27 - 32 (2016)
A Forest of Books: Seventeenth-Century Kamigata Commercial Prose Haruo Shirane (ed.) & Tomi Suzuki (ed.) & David Lurie (ed.) Cambridge History of Japanese Literature pp. Cambridge University Press (2016)
Onna enshi kyōkun kagami and Onna genji kyōkun kagami: sexual education through entertaining parody Japan Review 26, Special Issue on Shunga pp. 195-212 (2013)
Critical edition of Chikusai ryōji no hyōban 竹斎療治之評判 (1685) Fukasawa Akio (ed.) Kanazōshi shūsei 仮名草子集成, vol. 48 pp. 175-201/328-332 (2012)
‘The Japanese early-modern publishing market unveiled: a survey of Edo-period booksellers’ catalogues East Asian Publishing and Society, 2/2 pp. 199-308 (2012)
Kanazōshi revisited: reconsidering the beginnings of Japanese popular literature in print Monumenta Nipponica, 65/2 pp. 297-356 (2011)
On the edge of narrative: towards a new view of the 17th-century popular prose in print Japan Forum 21 (3) pp. 325-345 (2009)
Special Issue on ‘Narrativity and fictionality in Edo-period prose literature’ Japan Forum 21 pp. 116 (2009)