Dr. Kinko Ito

Dr. Kinko Ito – 伊藤琴子

Dr. Kinko Ito

Professor of Sociology
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Email: kxito@ualr.edu
Stabler Hall 405
Office: 501-916-5846

Specializations: Popular Culture and Japan Studies

Dr. Kinko Ito received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the Ohio State University. She is nationally and internationally known for her research on Japanese popular culture (especially manga comics) and the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan. A Sociology of Japanese Ladies’ Comics: Images of the Life, Loves, and Sexual Fantasies of Adult Japanese Women, her harbinger work on women’s comics, the first kind in the world, was published by Edwin Mellen Press in 2011.

Since her childhood and youth, Dr. Ito was very interested in photography and movies. She is now an ethnographic, documentary filmmaker as well! She visited Hokkaido several times and made two documentary films about the Ainu.  Have You Heard About the Ainu? Elders of Japan’s Indigenous People Speak (78 minutes) is available for viewing on YouTube.  The film features in-depth interviews of several Ainu elderly men and women. It also has an original soundtrack based on Ainu music by UA Little Rock’s Professor Robert Boury. Her second documentary  Have You Heard about the Ainu? Part 2. Toward Better Understanding and World Peace (31 minutes) is also available on YouTube. Dr. Ito went back to Hokkaido in the summer of 2023, stayed with an Ainu family, and shot video clips of their everyday life. Currently, she is in the process of editing her third documentary film about the Ainu.

Dr. Ito has been to more than 82 countries! She loves to travel. Her travelogues with sociological twists are available at Amazon.com including Gourmet Food, Scrub, and Happiness in Body and Seoul: A Short Visit to South Korea, Kidnapped!? in Istanbul, Hello! Colombia, and Pantyless in Scandinavia and Other Escapades of World Travel.  She loves cooking ethnic foods and enjoys karaoke in her spare time.

Teaching areas:

Dr. Ito teaches Introduction to Sociology, Japanese Culture and Society, Sociology of World Societies, Classical Sociological Theory, and Sociology of Organizations.

Select Publications:

“Gengoroh Tagame: An Award-winning, Openly-gay, Erotic Manga Artist Portrays Gay Life and Issues for the General Audience,” International Journal of Comic Art. 2022, (24:2:268-280)

“Swallowtail Butler Cafe: Cosplay, Otakus, and Cool Japan in Contemporary Japan,” with Dr. Paul A. Crutcher of the English Department, UA Little Rock Japan Studies Review. 2021, (25:113 – 130)

Comics Education in Conversation,” Penguin Random House Education. October 2021.

“The Social Functions and Impacts of Popular Manga in Contemporary Japan: A Case of GOLDEN KAMUY,” International Journal of Comic Art. 2021, (23:1:403-421)

”Uma Historia Do Manga No Contexto Da Cultura E Sociedade Japonesas,” a Brazilian Portuguese translation of Dr. Ito’s article “A History of Manga in the Context of Japanese Culture and Society” (originally published in The Journal of Popular Culture, 2005(38:3:456-475)

“Golden Kamuy: Can This Popular Manga Contribute to Ainu Studies?” Japan Studies Review, 2019 (23:155-168)

Today’s Ainu: Tales from Hokkaido (2019).

Some of her older but noteworthy publications include: “Remembering Her 50 Years in Japanese Girls’ and Ladies’ Comics: An Interview with Chikae Ide,” “Popular Mass Entertainment in Japan: Manga, Pachinko, and Cosplay,” (2014), “An Elderly Ainu Man’s Story: Ethnography” (2014), “Osamu Tezuka: His Life, Works, and Contributions to the History of Modern Japanese Comics” (2011), “Chikae Ide – The Queen of Japanese Ladies’ Comics: Her Life and Manga” (2011), “Framing the Sensual: Japanese Sexuality in Ladies’ Comics” (2011), “New Trends in the Production of Japanese Ladies’ Comics: Diversification and Catharsis” (2009), “The Touching and the Sensual in Japanese Ladies’ Comics: an Interview with Asako Shiomi” (2008),  “Masako Watanabe: 50 Years of Making Girls’ and Ladies’ Comics in Japan” (2008), “Manga in Japanese History” (2008), “China in Japanese Manga: A Not-So-Funny Controversy” (2008), “Manga Introduction to China and Its Implication for Global Education” (2007), “Middle-Aged Japanese Women’s Love Affair with ‘Winter Sonata’” (2006), and “A One Week Retreat at a Zen Monastery in Japan” (2005).

Dr. Ito also does book reviews, including:
2018. The Fabric of Indigeneity: Ainu Identity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism in Japan by Ann-Elise Lewallen. Journal of Japanese Studies, (44:2:497-480) in 2017 Hokusai Manga Japanese Pop Culture since 1680 by Sabine Schulze et. al. in Print Quarterly. (XXXIV:4:444-446).