Akiko Takeyama

Akiko Takeyama head shot
  • Professor
  • Director
  • President

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Blake Hall, room #306-A
Bailey Hall, room #203-A


Akiko Takeyama is a professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Kansas. As an interdisciplinary, feminist scholar, trained as a cultural anthropologist, her scholarship focuses on changing gender, sexuality, and class dynamics in the context of (neo)liberal globalization. Her work provides fine-grained ethnography to better understand how social inequalities are perpetuated in the name of individual choice. She uses Japan as a window into asking enduring questions about patriarchal nation-building, capitalistic profit-seeking, and political philosophy of liberalism.


Her first book, Staged Seduction: Selling Dreams in a Tokyo Host Club (Stanford University Press, 2016), examines the commercialization of affect —hopes, dreams, and intimacy— and theorizes what she calls an ‘affect economy.’ She defines the affect economy as a postindustrial, service-centered economy that capitalizes on aspiration, especially young working-class men’s upward mobility and aging middle-class women’s romantic fantasy. Her second book, Involuntary Consent: The Illusion of Choice in Japan’s Adult Video Industry (Stanford University Press, 2023), interrogates involuntary —neither overtly forced nor completely voluntary— consent to precarious labor and problematizes taken-for-granted legal premises of autonomy, freedom of choice, and equality under the law. She argues that the premises based on liberal principles put society’s have-nots at risk to submit to precarious lives by choice while allowing the haves to take advantage of the situation.

Ultimately, her scholarship sheds light on people’s lived experience of structural vulnerabilities through the analytical lens of affect economy and involuntary consent. Her first book explores heterosexual men’s sexual labor, which is understudied in feminist scholarship, to complicate male dominance within a patriarchal capitalist system. Her second book ethnographically traces consent-giving and contract-making processes, which often remain invisible and confidential, to demonstrate the power dynamics behind the scenes. To humanize sexual commerce and labor contract, she employs what she refers to as affective ethnography, an evocative writing with vivid description and insightful analyses. Her first book was a finalist for the 2017 Michelle Rosaldo Book Prize at the Association of Feminist Anthropology. Her article, “Involuntary Consent,” was featured as a major article with commentaries in Current Anthropology, the flagship journal in anthropology.

Her intellectual interests are closely intertwined with her leadership role. To promote scholarly activities and creative workshops at KU, she has developed an interdisciplinary research frame, “Global Asia,” since she became Director of the Center for East Asian Studies in 2021. Instead of demarcating Asia as a discrete geographic location, “Global Asia” allows us to look into the circulation of information, moves of people, and flows of capital that are interconnected with public health, climate change, and economic globalization. It thematically brings scholars together to build intellectual communities through interdisciplinary dialogues and creative work across different fields. Her field building engagement includes a Global Asia speaker series, “Asian Experience in the Midwest” Oral History Project, and “When Global East Meets Global South: East Asia and Latin America” conference, to name a few.

She also has a stellar record of securing competitive grants. For her own research, she is a recipient of the Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, SSRC (Social Science Research Council)-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship, and Japan Foundation Research Fellowship. For the institutional grants, the Center for East Asian Studies won the prestigious U.S. Department of Education’s 2022-2026 Title VI grant (US$2.1 million), among others such as the Korea Foundation and Laurasian Institution, to serve as a National Resource Center. She is also President of the Association of Feminist Anthropology (2023-2025), one of the largest subsections in the American Anthropological Association.

Research interests:

  • Gender, sexuality and subjectivity
  • Capitalism, class, and labor
  • Cultural anthropology
  • Feminist history
  • Japan


Her teaching explores human experience through which cultural meanings are created and negotiated in everyday lives. She also often uses gender, among other factors, as an analytical lens to critically analyze social structure and lived experiences in various socio-historical contexts, (post)colonial geopolitics, and global capitalism.

Selected Publications


2023 Involuntary Consent: The Illusion of Choice in Japan’s Adult Video Industry. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

2016 Staged Seduction: Selling Dreams in a Tokyo Host Club. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

2023 “Involuntary Consent: Contract Making in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” Current Anthropology 64(6). https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/727895.

2022 “Extramarital Romance: Juggling Femininity, Marriage, and Commercial Sex in Contemporary Japan.” In Opting-Out: Women Messing with Marriage around the World, eds. Joanna Davidson and Dinah Hannaford, Pp. 155-169. “Politics of Marriage and Gender: Global Issues in Local Contexts” Series. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

2022 「AV出演強要問題から考える「自発的でない同意」—「自由意志」と「強制」の狭間で」(“Involuntary Consent” as Lensed Through the 'Issue of Forced AV Performance': Between Free Will and Coercion”). Inポルノ被害の声を聞く:デジタル性暴力と#MeToo (Listen to the Voices of Porn Victims: Digitally-Facilitated Sexual Violence and #MeToo), ed. PAPS (People Against Pornography and Sexual violence), Pp. 67-84. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

2020 “Marriage, Aging, and Women’s Pursuit of Commercial Sex in Japan.” Sexualities (24)4: 592-613.

2020 “Possessive Individualism in the Age of Postfeminism and Neoliberalism: Self-Ownership, Consent, and Contractual Abuses in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” In Feminist and Queer Theory: An International and Transnational Reader, eds. L. Ayu Saraswati and Barbara L. Shaw, Pp. 86-91. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2020 “Doing and Writing Affective Ethnography.” In Studying Japan, eds. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher, Pp. 219-222. Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos.

2019 “Opening the Box: An International Asian Woman Scholar’s Fight.” In Fight the Tower: Asian American Women Scholars’ Resistance and Renewal in the Academy, eds. Kieu Linh Caroline Valverde and Wei Ming Dariotis, Pp. 234-254. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

2010 “Intimacy for Sale: Masculinity, Entrepreneurship, and Commodity Self in Japan’s Neoliberal Situation.” Japanese Studies 30(2):231-246.

2005 “Commodified Romance in a Tokyo Host Club.” In Genders, Transgenders and Sexualities in Japan, eds. Mark McLelland and Romit Dasgupta, Pp.200-215. New York: Routledge.

Selected Presentations

2023-24 Book Talk, “Involuntary Consent: The Illusion of Choice in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.”

  • Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, March 21, 2024. (planned)
  • terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, December 4, 2023.
  • Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Speaker, Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, KU, November 29, 2023.
  • Japanese Studies, East Asian Studies Research Seminar Series, University of Manchester, November 29, 2023
  • Kinsey Institute and East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University, October 12, 2023.
  • Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, July 25, 2023.

2023 “Involuntary Consent as a Form of Structural Violence: A Case Study of Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” Meanings of Violence Colloquium Speaker Series, East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University, October 13.

2023 “Asian Experience in the Midwest: Music and Oral History.” Co-presented with Yi-Yang Chen and Gian Dien Nguyen, Humanities Out Loud Seminar, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU, Lawrence, KS, April 24.

2022 “Involuntary Consent: The Illusion of Choice in Japan’s Adult Video Industry,” JSA (Japan Studies Association) Workshop, Johnson County Community College, KS, October 6.

2022 “Involuntary Consent: The Illusion of Choice in Japan’s Adult Video.” Japan Club, Wellesley College, Boston, MI, March 31.

2021 “Affective Violence: Unfree Speech and Pornographic Illusion in Japan's Adult Entertainment Videos.” Gender Seminar, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU, Lawrence, KS, March 4.

2020 “Involuntary Consent: The Issue of ‘Forced Performance’ in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” The University of Tsuda Institute for Research in Language and Culture Project, “Possibilities and Issues of Japan Studies in English.” Tsuda University, Tokyo, Japan, December 4.

2019 “Sexual Self-Determinism in Japanese Adult Videos in the Age of the Internet?” Institute for Japanese Studies Lecture Series, East Asian Studies Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, September 23.

2019 “Contract-Based Sexual Labor in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” Colby College, Waterville, MI, April 25.

2019 “Contract-Based Sexual Labor in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, April 8.

2019 “Contract Bondage in Japan’s Adult Video Industry.” Gender Seminar, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU, Lawrence, KS, February 21.

Grants & Other Funded Activity

2024-29 Support for Establishment of Professorship grant, Korea Foundation, Seoul, Korea ($343,942)

2022-25 International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE), Title VI National Resource Centers (NRC) Program (P015A220124), U.S. Department of Education ($1,053,688)

2022-25 International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE), Title VI National Foreign Languages and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships Program (P015B220120), U.S. Department of Education Department of Education ($1,078,328)

2022-24 Japanese Outreach Imitative JOI Program, Laurasian Institution

2022-23 Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Grant. Co-PI with YiYang Chen for “Prelude,” Center for Research, KU ($20,000)

2019-20 Social Science Research Council (SSRC)/Abe Fellowship (100135), Brooklyn and Tokyo ($68,000)

2014-15 Japan Foundation Research Fellowship, Tokyo, Japan (JPY 5,500,000, roughly $55,000)

2011-12 Social Science Research Council (SSRC)/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship (PE11542), Brooklyn and Tokyo (JPY 5,574,500, roughly $71,000)

2010-11 Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Foundation, New York ($40,000)