Leo Ching

Leo Ching

Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

External address: 
2204 Franklin Center, Room 227, Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708-0414
(919) 684-5240

My research revolves around two major themes: Japanese empire studies and popular culture studies. In Becoming Japanese: The Politics of Identity Formation in Colonial Taiwan, I argue that Taiwanese consciousness emerged during the Japanese colonial period as a response to the failure of mainland China as a viable political alternative. The emphasis is on the fractured identity that triangulates between China, Japan and Taiwan. My forthcoming work, Anti-Japanism: The Politics of Sentimentality in Postcolonial East Asia, argues that anti-Japan sentiments in the region today should be grasped in the context of the larger shift from a Japan-centric to a Sinocentric system. Anti-Japan sentiments embody the contradictions and unresolved issues of this transition. My current project, Trans-imperial Characters: Popular Culture and its Discontents, brings the two themes together and argues that characters in popular culture are important sites of desire and fantasy projections, especially during times of imperial transitions. I teach the following courses: Nightmare Japan, Minor Japan, Pop Japan, East Asian Cultural Studies, and Games and Culture.


His research interests include colonial discourse studies, postcolonial theory, Japanese mass culture, and theories of globalization and regionalism. He has published in boundary 2, positions and Public Culture.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California at San Diego 1994

  • M.A., University of California at Los Angeles 1988

  • B.A., Occidental College 1985

Maitra, A., and R. Chow. “What’s“in”? Disaggregating Asia through new media actants.” Routledge Handbook of New Media in Asia, 2016, pp. 17–27. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315774626. Full Text

Ching, L. “"Japan in Asia".” Blackwell Companion to Japanese History, edited by William Tsutsui, Blackwell, 2006.

Ching, L. “Savage Construction and Civility Making: Japanese Colonial Discourse and Taiwanese Aborigines.” Japan and Cultural Imperialism, edited by Gennifer Weisenfeld, 2000, pp. 795–818.

Ching, L. “"Shiko fukanosei toshite no Mushajiken” (The Musha Rebellion as Unthinkable).” “Kioku Suru Taiwan” (Taiwan Remembers: Encountering Empire), edited by Wu Mitsa et al., Tokyo University Press, pp. 103–29.

Ching, L. “'Japanese Devils': The conditions and limits of anti-Japanism in China.” Cultural Studies, vol. 26, no. 5, Sept. 2012, pp. 710–22. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09502386.2012.697728. Full Text

Ching, L. “Champion of justice: How asian heroes saved Japanese imperialism.” Pmla, vol. 126, no. 3, May 2011, pp. 644–50. Scopus, doi:10.1632/pmla.2011.126.3.644. Full Text

Ching, L. “Inter-Asia cultural studies and the decolonial-turn.” Inter Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, June 2010, pp. 184–87. Scopus, doi:10.1080/14649371003616102. Full Text

Ching, L. Japan in Asia. Dec. 2007, pp. 407–23. Scopus, doi:10.1002/9780470751398.ch24. Full Text

Ching, L. “’Give Me Japan and Nothing Else!’: Postcoloniality, Identity, and the Traces Colonialism” in Millennial Japan: Rethinking the Nation in the Age of Recession.” South Atlantic Quarterly, edited by Harry Harootunian and Tomiko Yoda, 2000, pp. 763–88.

Leo Ching, K. K. “Regionalizing the Global; Globalizing the Regional: Mass Culture and Asianism in the Age of Late Capital.” Public Culture, vol. 12, no. 1, 2000, pp. 233–57.