Cynthea J. Bogel is Professor of Japanese Art History and East Asian Buddhist Visual Cultures at Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan). She is co-chair of the IMAP and IDOC graduate student programs in premodern Japan studies (see https://www.imapkyudai.net/) and Editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University (JAH-Q). Her research focusses on premodern Japanese Buddhist icons, especially statues. Relationships between Japanese icons and East Asian correlates, the study of iconography or ritual contexts and how they relate to the goals of the temple and patrons, the historiography of Buddhist cultural properties, and the effects of nineteenth-century scholarship on the field are a few of her research interests.
Bogel holds MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University and a BA from Smith College. She taught Japanese art history and Buddhist visual culture at the University of Oregon (Eugene) for five years and at the University of Washington (Seattle) for fourteen years before moving to Japan in 2012 to take up her current position. She worked as Asian Art Curator at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, which led to her first co-authored book on ukiyoe prints. She has conducted research in India, Pakistan, Bhutan, China, Korea, Vietnam, and other corners of Asia besides Japan. For many years she led intensive courses with her American university students; fieldwork with graduate students is now a natural extension of her work in Japan. Her first monograph, titled With a Single Glance: Buddhist Icon and Early Mikkyō Vision (2009), examines early Esoteric temples and icons in Japan, the legacies of Saichō and Kūkai, and their sojourns in China. A monograph in progress features the temple Yakushiji (Nara) and its bronze main icon during the late seventh- and early eighth-century in the context of early Chinese-style imperial state ideology in Japan. She is the recipient of major research grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the J. Paul Getty Foundation; the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts & Cultures; and the Japan Foundation. The Frogbear Cluster (2020–2022) she leads with Profs. Kim and Nguyen will examine talisman cultures in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.