May 15th, 2020
Michael Pronko has lived in Tokyo for twenty years but was born in Kansas City, a very different world. After graduating from Brown University in philosophy, he hit the road, traveling around the world for two years working odd jobs. He went back to school for a Master’s in Education, and then took a teaching position in Beijing. For two years, he taught English, traveled China and wrote.
After more traveling and two more degrees, another M.A. in Comparative Literature in Madison, Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in English at the University of Kent at Canterbury, he finally settled in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. His seminars focus on contemporary novels and film adaptations, and he teaches other classes in American indie film and American music and art.
Pronko has 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). He has published books in Japanese and two textbooks in both English and Japanese.
Over the years in Tokyo, he has written regular columns for many publications: The Japan Times, Newsweek Japan, Jazznin, ST Shukan, Jazz Colo[u]rs, and Artscape Japan. He runs his own website Jazz in Japan (www.jazzinjapan.com). He also continues to publish academic articles and helps run a conference on teaching literature.
For more information about Michael Pronko and his work, visit his website at www.michaelpronko.com.
Topics of conversation:
- Writing Mystery
- Life in Tokyo
- Cultural differences between Japan and America
- Being a Professor of American Literature in Tokyo
- Jazz and his Jazz website: www.jazzinjapan.com