Susan J. Napier

Susan Jolliffe Napier (born October 11, 1955) is a Professor of the Japanese Program at Tufts University. She was formerly the Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin. She also worked as a visiting professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University,[1] and in cinema and media studies at University of Pennsylvania. Napier is an anime and manga critic.

Susan J. Napier
Napier in 2008
Napier in 2008
OccupationProfessor, anime critic
SubjectJapanese literature
Notable worksAnime from Akira to Princess Mononoke


Napier is the daughter of historian Reginald Phelps, a historian and educational administrator, and Julia Sears Phelps, both Harvard academics. She was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[2] Her neighbors included John Kenneth Galbraith, Julia Child, and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.. She obtained her A.B., A.M., and PhD degrees from Harvard University.[3]

In 1991 Napier published Escape from the Wasteland: Romanticism and Realism in the Fiction of Mishima Yukio and Oe Kenzaburo. Her second book, The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity, followed in 1996.[3]

Napier first became interested in anime and manga when a student showed her a copy of Akira. Napier then saw the film, which led to the creation of her third book, Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation,[1][4] which was revised in 2005.[5] Napier's From Impressionism To Anime: Japan As Fantasy And Fan Cult In The Western Imagination was published in 2007, which discusses anime fandom in greater depth.[6][7]


  • Napier, Susan J. (1996). The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity. London: Routledge. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-415-12458-4.
  • Napier, Susan J (1998). "Vampires, Psychic Girls, Flying Women and Sailor Scouts". In Martinez, Dolores P (ed.). The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture: Gender, Shifting Boundaries and Global Culture. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63128-9.
  • Napier, Susan J. (2001). "Confronting Master Narratives: History As Vision in Miyazaki Hayao's Cinema of De-assurance". Positions East Asia Cultures Critique. 9 (2): 467–493. doi:10.1215/10679847-9-2-467.
  • Napier, Susan J. From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 272. ISBN 1-4039-6214-6.
  • Napier, Susan J (2006). Meet Me on the Other Side:Strategies of Otherness in Modern Japanese literature. London: Routledge. pp. 38–55. ISBN 978-0-415-36185-9.
  • Napier, Susan J. (2006). "'Excuse Me, Who Are You?': Performance, the Gaze, and the Female in the Works of Kon Satoshi". In Brown, Steven T (ed.). Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-8308-4.
  • Napier, Susan J. (2005). Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Japanese Animation. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 384. ISBN 978-1-4039-7052-7.
  • Napier, Susan J. (2007). "When the Machine Stops: Fantasy, Reality, and Terminal Identity in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments: Lain". Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime. University of Minnesota Press. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-8166-4973-0.
  • Napier, Susan J. (2018). Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art. Yale University Press. p. 344. ISBN 978-0-300-22685-0.


  1. ^ a b "Anime Lecture at MIT". Anime News Network. 2001-05-01. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  2. ^ Tufts University profile, "Don't Call Them Cartoons" Archived 2013-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Tufts
  4. ^ Gerrow, Robin (2004). "An Anime Explosion". University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 13 October 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
  5. ^ Anime From Akira To Howl's Moving Castle, Updated Edition
  6. ^ "Susan Napier presents new book on American anime fans". Anime News Network. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  7. ^ Participations

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