Takeshi Watanabe is the author of Flowering Tales: Women Exorcising History in Heian Japan. The book examines A Tale of Flowering Fortunes, a historical tale contemporaneous to The Tale of Genji (c. 1000). It shows how the rise of writing in the vernacular allowed for a new, shamanic type of history, one that sought to capture court gossip and channel its divisive energy into stories that brought healing. The book aims to inspire conversations about what constitutes historical writing and its aims.
Watanabe’s next project centers on representations of food and eating in premodern Japan. He is also working on translating the Utsuho monogatari (The Tale of the Hollow Tree). He has two publications on food in the Heian period, one in a collection of papers on Japanese foodways edited by Nancy Stalker, Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity (Oxford University Press, 2018). He has also published in Japanese and English on The Illustrated Scroll of the Wine or Rice Debate (Shuhanron emaki, 16th century). Watanabe’s interest in food seeks to challenge assumptions about Japanese identity, and to foster engagement with food as a vehicle through which society and individuals express their dilemmas and aspirations. Emaki consistute another area of interest, and he has published an English introduction to the Yamai no zoshi (Chuo koron bijutsusha).