University of Southern California

Graduate Students

Sachiko Kawai

Contact Information


Biographical Sketch

I am a PhD student in History at the University of Southern California and currently working on my dissertation. My specific area of interest concerns the history of women and gender in premodern Japan, with special attention to women’s land ownership and management during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Despite the rather focused scope of my study in terms of the time period and geographical area, I plan to make my work useful and attractive to a broader audience. I would like to investigate a gap between ‘owning estates’ and ‘an ability to extract actual wealth from the land,’ by paying attention to not only the estate proprietors’ perspectives but also those of lower-level (cultivators and officials on the land). In addition, I would also examine how goods and people moved between the center and peripheries, how the gender of proprietors shaped power relations within the estate, and how material culture in the estate was gendered.


  • BA Tsuru Univ, 03/1993
  • MA CSU - Los Angeles, 03/2000
  • M.A. EALC, USC, 05/2007
  • MA USC, 05/2007
  • M.A. History, USC, 12/2010


Research Keywords

  • Premodern Japan, Heian, Kamakura, Women, Gender, Estate (shoen), Medieval Europe, China

Research Specialties

  • Premodern Japan, medieval history, Heian, Kamakura, Women, Gender


  • Book Chapter
    Kawai, S. (2015). Life-Cycle Rituals for Newborns in Heian Japan. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
    Kawai, S. (2012). Translation of "A Buried Past: The Tomb Inscription (Muzhriming) and Official Biographies of Wang Chuzhi (862-923)" by Angela Schottenhammer. Tokyo: Kyu¯ko Shoin. PubMed Web Address
    Book Review
    Kawai, S. (2014). Review of ‘Heike monogatari’ no jidai wo ikita onnatachi (The Women Who Lived in the Period of ‘the Tale of the Heike’. Jenda¯ shigaku shi (Gender History).
    Journal Article
    Kawai, S. (2014). The Land-based Power of Nyoin in Early Medieval Japan: A Case Study of an Unmarried Royal Daughter, Senyomon-in (1181-1252) - Inseiki nyoin no tochi ni okeru "kenri" to sokokara umidasareru "chikara" no kosatsu" fukon naishinno Senyomon-in wo chushin ni. Comparative Japanese Studies Annual Bulletin. Vol. 10, pp. 151-157.

Honors and Awards

  • USC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship , 2014-2015   
  • ACE-Nikaido Fellowship , 2013-2014   
  • Roberta Persinger Foulke Endowment Fellowship , 2013-2014   
  • The CJRC Graduate Student Research Support Award (GSRSA) , 2013-2014   
  • The Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship , 2012-2013   
  • The Project for Premodern Japan Studies Travel Grant , 2011-2012   
  • The ACE/Nikaido Japanese Studies Fellowship , 2010-2011   
  • The Roberta Persinger Foulke Endowment Fellowship, 2010-2011   
  • FLAS Graduate Fellowship, Fall 2010   
  • College Graduate Professionalization Funds , 2009-2010   
  • Exceptional Financial Aid—Dept. of History , Fall 2009   
  • FLAS Graduate Fellowship, Fall 2009   
  • College Graduate Professionalization Funds , 2008-2009   
  • Hubbard Research Grand , Fall 2008   
  • Special Recognition in Graduate Studies at the CSULA Thirty Ninth Honors Convocation, 1999-2000   
  • Special Recognition in Graduate Studies at the CSULA Thirty Eighth Honors Convocation, 1998-1999