Michiko N. Wilson has worked extensively both in the field of literary criticism and as a translator of modern Japanese literature. Her particular interest is the intersection of literature as an activator of the imagination with the relevance of literature to larger humanistic concerns. Her first encounter with the West as an American Field Service scholarship high school student in the United States awakened her to the richness of cross-cultural discourse. She subsequently returned to the U.S. as an undergraduate English major to advance her love of literature and completed her masters in Japanese literature and doctorate in comparative literature.
Ms. Wilson’s appreciation of literary inquiry was further enriched by an examination of marginality and outsiderhood as developed in cultural anthropology. These notions converged with her research on comparative cultural perspectives, semiotics, and gender and other feminist issues in modern Japanese literature. She is a ranking expert on Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe and on Minako Oba, both of whose work she has been instrumental in introducing to an English-speaking audience. More recently, she has been concentrating on critical essays written by modern and contemporary Japanese women writers whose iconoclastic and re-visionary voices as cultural critics speak to a broad audience. Ms. Wilson is also the editor of New Japanese Horizons (a Japanese literature-in-translation series).
In all of her roles, she takes pleasure in introducing the writings of a wide range of Japanese writers to students, classroom teachers, non-Japanese literature specialists, and the general public.