I have lived, taught and written in Tokyo for twenty years, but I was born in Kansas City, a very different world from Tokyo. After graduating from Brown University in philosophy, I hit the road. I traveled around the world for two years working odd jobs, and finally went back to school. After a Master’s in Education, I got a call from Beijing offering me a teaching position. I took it. I lived in Beijing for two years, teaching English, traveling the country and writing. I was lucky enough to meet my wife there.
I spent more time traveling, teaching English and finishing two more degrees, Comparative Literature in Madison, Wisconsin and a PhD in English at the University of Kent at Canterbury, writing about film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novels.
Now, I live with my wife in western Tokyo and work as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. I teach seminars in contemporary novels and film adaptations, and classes in American indie film and American music and art. After talking with my students about Jackson Pollock, Bessie Smith, or Kurt Vonnegut, I head out to wander through Tokyo. The contrasts, and confluences, always put ideas for writing into my head.
I have published three award-winning collections of essays: Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo (Raked Gravel Press 2015), Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens (Raked Gravel Press 2014), and Beauty and Chaos: Essays on Tokyo (Raked Gravel Press 2014). I have also published books in Japanese and two textbooks in both English and Japanese.
Over the years in Tokyo, I have written regular columns for many publications: The Japan Times, Newsweek Japan, Jazznin, ST Shukan, Jazz Colo[u]rs, and Artscape Japan. I currently run my own website Jazz in Japan (www.jazzinjapan.com). I also continue to publish academic articles and help run a conference on teaching literature (www.liberlit.com). More information is available at: www.michaelpronko.com
Write me at: email@example.com