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Namiko Kunimoto

Assistant Professor, Department of History of Art

When Namiko Kunimoto joined Ohio State’s faculty in 2013, there were no Japanese art courses, and History of Photography had not been offered for many years. To remedy this required her to develop a half-dozen courses during her first years on faculty. In 2018, Kunimoto was awarded the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is given to faculty for their superior teaching. Faculty members are nominated by present and former students and colleagues and selected by a committee of alumni, students, and faculty.

B.A., Art History and Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 1998
M.A., Art History, University of British Columbia, 2001
Ph.D., Art History, University of California, Berkeley, 2010
I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I paid for university working full-time at restaurants and with scholarships.

Describe your current research:
My research focuses on issues of gender and national identity in Japan. I look at performance artworks, paintings, and the political history of Japan.

What undergraduate classes are you currently teaching?
I am teaching HA 4825, Modern and Contemporary Art in Japan. My classes are focused on Arts in Japan, but I strive to help students read, write, and think at higher levels. I engage students and make sure we build a safe and comfortable learning environment for all.

What aspects of your teaching give you the most satisfaction?
I enjoy watching students get excited about new material, and I enjoy when different kinds of students come together to learn and share in my class.

What book, music or movie do you enjoy?
I've been listening to a lot of hip hop since my 6-year-old is into breakdancing. We all like Jurassic 5 and Missy Elliot.

What is an interesting place you visited or has inspired you?
I traveled through Central America alone when I was 18. I was inspired by the people who live through poverty and other challenges, but were still caring enough to help a stranger.

What advice would you give to undergraduate students?
Don't put too much pressure on yourselves. There is no one path to one career, just let yourself work hard and learn.  You will come out of your undergraduate career where you need to be.

Would you like to share an interesting fact about yourself?
My first name is Thalia, the muse of comedy in Greek mythology, but no one has ever called me Thalia. I go by my middle name, Namiko, which means little ocean wave.

Feel free to stop by my office hours.  I love to talk about life's challenges and how to make the most of your time in University.

Dr. Kunimoto's words of wisdom

Don't try and be "The Best," just try and do "Your Best."

Read more about Dr. Kunimoto’s research and many achievements by clicking here.