Matthew (Matt) W. Shores is a scholar of early modern and modern Japanese literature and entertainment. He has spent more than ten years in Japan, where he conducted research, pursued a graduate degree, and trained in the performing arts. He informally apprenticed under Japanese comic storytelling (rakugo) masters and has experience in other genres including dance, noh, kyogen, kabuki, and shamisen. His academic work to date has been connected in one way or another to rakugo and its precursors, or Edo-period street performance/ spectacle (misemono) and comic literature. He recently completed a book manuscript, tentatively titled Osaka Rakugo: Comic Storytelling in Japan’s Cultural Heartland.
A native of Oregon, Shores began his career in the UK, where he was a Fellow and Director of East Asian Studies at Peterhouse, the oldest of the Cambridge colleges. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Pre-Modern Japanese Literature at the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Colorado Boulder, where he teaches Classical Japanese and Advanced Writing Topics on Chinese & Japanese Literature and Civilization. He has previously taught courses on Japanese theater and cultural history, Japanese text reading/translation at all levels, modern/contemporary Japanese literature, and East Asian cinema. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Japanese literature by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and has master’s degrees from Portland State University and Tezukayama University.