University of Southern California

Graduate Students

Kevin Wilson

Contact Information


Biographical Sketch

I was raised in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, before moving to Calgary, Alberta for University. I left the U of C because I had the opportunity to represent Canada for several years by competing on the World Cup Sport Climbing circuit in Europe. I climbed with my twin brother and while competing we attended L'Universite d'Aix-Marseille III. I then returned to Calgary where I received a B.A. in French and another B.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Calgary. I came to USC in 2005 in order to pursue a Ph.D. in Premodern Japanese History.  I wrote a master's thesis on the Buddhist monk Gyoki and received my M.A. in History in 2010.  I am now conducting research on Jisha Engi (Temple and Shrine Foundation Legends) for my Ph.D. dissertation.


  • Diplome French, Universit√© d'Aix-Marseille III, 05/1997
  • B.A. French, University of Calgary, 06/2000
  • B.A. East Asian Area Studies, University of Calgary, 11/2003
  • M.A. History, University of Southern California, 08/2010


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • My studies have focused mainly on Japanese Buddhist, social, and political history. I recently received my M.A. from USC for my work on a text, which describes the significant events in the life of a well-known monk from the Nara period named Gyoki, called the "Chronology of Gyoki." My dissertation research will focus on Japanese temple and shrine engi, or "foundation legends," and how they related to the religious, political and social goals of the monks who wrote them. I have served as a teaching assistant for the History department (teaching Chinese and Korean History) and in the Religion department (teaching Buddhist Literature). I will be conducting research this year at Meiji University and Daito Bunka University in Tokyo.

Research Specialties

  • Premodern Japan (Nara to Kamakura), Buddhism, Temple and Shrine History in Japan, Premodern East Asia