Cynthea J. Bogel is Professor of East Asian Buddhist Visual Cultures and Japanese art history at Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan). Her research features the study of Japanese Buddhist icons, especially statues and temple histories, ritual contexts, the historiography of Buddhist cultural properties, and the effects of nineteenth-century scholarship on the field. Her first monograph, titled With a Single Glance: Buddhist Icon and Early Mikkyō Vision (2009), examines early Esoteric temples and icons in Japan, the artistic and cultural legacies of Saichō and Kūkai, and their sojourns to China. A monograph in progress features the history of the eighth-century temple Yakushiji in Nara and the medley of figures, creatures, and motifs on the base of its bronze main icon in the context of early Chinese-style imperial state ideology in Japan.
Bogel has served as co-chair of the International MA Program in Japan Studies for seven years and co-founded the International Doctorate program, both of which feature degrees in premodern and modern Japan humanities (https://www.imapkyudai.net/). She founded and served as chief Editor of the English-language peer-reviewed Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University (JAH-Q) https://www.imapkyudai.net/jahq for its first four volumes (2014–2019). Before moving to Japan in 2012 she taught at the University of Oregon (1995–1999) and the University of Washington (1999–2012), where she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2007. Before that she was Curator of Asian Art and Ethnography at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, which led to her (co-authored) first book on ukiyoe prints. She is the recipient of major research grants from the (US) National Endowment for the Humanities; J. Paul Getty Foundation; Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts & Cultures; Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS); Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art; and the Japan Foundation. She holds degrees from Harvard University (MA, PhD) and Smith College (BA).
Bogel has conducted research on Buddhist visual culture, religion, and the decorative arts/crafts in Bhutan, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, China, Korea, Vietnam, and other corners of Asia besides Japan. Before joining Frogbear, she led intensive fieldwork courses for ten years with her American university students to Kyoto, Nara, and Kumano; fieldwork with her Kyushu University graduate students is now a natural extension of research in Japan. The Frogbear Cluster (2020–2022) that she leads with Profs. Kim and Nguyen will examine talisman cultures in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.