Roland Kelts
Writer, journalist, and scholar, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.

Author Roland Kelts is a half-Japanese Tokyo-based writer, journalist, scholar and authority on Japanese and Western cultures. His first book, JAPANAMERICA, is considered the ultimate guide to Japan’s pop culture juggernaut — required reading for many Hollywood producers, global artists and academics worldwide. He has published in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times, Zoetrope: All Story, The Times Literary Supplement and others, and he is a primary source on Japan for CNN, the BBC and NHK. He is also a monthly columnist for The Japan Times and a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo. He has given speeches on Japan for think tanks, embassies, universities, pop culture conventions and private events in the US, Europe and Asia, including TED Talks and The World Economic Forum. Kelts has taught at The University of Tokyo, New York University, Columbia University, Sophia University, and Harvard University. He has won several awards and fellowships, including a 2017 Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard.

Seio Nakajima
Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University

Seio Nakajima is Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University. Before joining Waseda, he taught at the Department of Sociology, University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research focus is creative industries in Asia, in particular those in Japan and China, as well as comparisons between the two societies. His publications include: “The Sociability of Millennials in Cyberspace: A Comparative Analysis of Barrage Subtitling in Nico Nico Douga and Bilibili.” He is embarking on a new project on the sociological analysis of the next generation automobile industry in Japan—examining its transformation from manufacturing, to service, and even into creative industries. He currently serves as the Director of the Research Institute of Automobile and Parts Industries (RIAPI), Waseda University.

Aki Nakanishi
Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education

Akihito (Aki) Nakanishi is a cultural leader and public diplomacy expert with two decades of experience in government relations, public communication, artistic exchanges, and cultural programming in Japan.

For 10 years, Nakanishi served as the Cultural Affairs Specialist at the United States Embassy, Tokyo, where he oversaw a wide spectrum of embassy involvement in cultural, creative, and educational activities designed to enhance mutual understanding between the United States and Japan. In addition to being the principal advisor to the Mission’s Cultural Attaché, he also served as a special aide to U.S. Ambassadors, charged with direct
oversight of some of the Ambassadors’ cultural and education projects such as “Ties Over Time” (under Amb. John V. Roos) and “International Poetry Exchange Project” (under Amb. Caroline B. Kennedy).

Prior to working at the Embassy, Nakanishi worked for three years as Program Director at one of the major media corporations in Tokyo, followed by a role as Exhibition Director for four years at a family-owned museum. Drawing upon his extensive knowledge of the arts and ties with a myriad of Japanese cultural icons, he has worked as an independent art director, producing exhibitions, performing art, art fairs, co-producing literary events and festivals, writing dossiers for arts events in specialty publications and newspapers, while running his own non-profit organization for regional revitalization, leadership development, and youth empowerment across rural Japan, echovisions, since 2015.

For his work at the Embassy, Nakanishi has received multiple State Department Awards including the State Department Meritorious Honor Award (May 2010), U.S. Embassy Japan Eagle Award (October 2011), and the U.S. Mission Japan Honor Award (October 2016).

Having attended both King’s College London (BA in Economics and European Law, University of London, U.K.) and Kingston Business School (BA in Business Administration, London, U.K.), Nakanishi holds a Master of Cultural Policy from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan, where he has published a research paper on U.S. Cultural Policy in supporting the arts.

Nakanishi also currently serves on various foundation boards as Advisor to Chair, including The Ogasawara Toshiaki Memorial
Foundation (Tokyo, Japan) and The Kiyoharu Art Foundation (Yamanashi, Japan).

Bill Tsutsui (Moderator)
Edwin O. Reischauer Distinguished Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard, Author of Godzilla on My Mind

Bill Tsutsui is the Edwin O. Reischauer Distinguished Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard University and previously served as the President of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and Dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU.  A fan of Godzilla since growing up watching monster movies in Central Texas, Bill is the author of Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (2004) and co-editor of In Godzilla’s Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage (2006).