Professor of Japanese • Department Chair • Undergraduate Faculty Advisor (Japanese, Fall 2023)

By appointment (in-person or on Zoom)

Keller Kimbrough received an undergraduate degree from Colorado College (BA 1990), and graduate degrees from Columbia University (MA 1993) and Yale University (MA 1996; PhD 1999). Before joining the faculty at the University of Colorado in 2005, he held teaching positions at the University of Michigan (1999-2000), the University of Virginia (2000-2001), and Colby College (2001-2005). He grew up in Aspen, Colorado, and in Memphis, Tennessee.


  • Preachers, Poets, Women, and the Way: Izumi Shikibu and the Buddhist Literature of Medieval Japan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, 2008).
  • Wondrous Brutal Fictions: Eight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013).
  • Monsters, Animals, and Other Worlds: A Collection of Short Medieval Japanese Tales (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), co-edited with Haruo Shirane.

Research Interests: 

Keller Kimbrough’s research interests include the literature and art of late-Heian, medieval, and early Edo-period Japan. Kimbrough has been particularly interested in medieval poetry and poetics, illustrated Buddhist fiction (otogizōshi), illustrated temple and shrine histories (jisha engi), eighteenth-century children’s literature, and, more recently, seventeenth-century kanazōshi prose fiction and the early seventeenth-century puppet theater.