ESP Biography



JENNIFER YOO, PhD Student specializing in Japanese Studies




Major: Asian Theatre (Japan Focus)

College/Employer: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of Jennifer Yoo

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Jennifer M. Yoo is a Japanese Studies specialist, teacher, freelance writer, and performing artist.

Although she primarily resides in Massachusetts, she has at one time or other called places ranging from Japan to Hawai'i her home. She graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and is currently studying to acquire a PhD in Asian Theatre (Japan Focus) at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Recently Jennifer was awarded the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship, which allowed her to conduct her dissertational research at the Ritsumeikan University's Art Research Center in Kyoto, Japan.

With more than 10 years of teaching and presenting experience, Jennifer has a particular interest in Japanese performing arts, pre-modern history, traditional culture, and cinema.



Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

H13987: Blood and Honor: Deconstructing the Warrior in East Asian Cinema in HSSP Summer 2020 (Jul. 11, 2020)
From Kurosawa Akira (Seven Samurai, Ran) to Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), directors in Japanese, Chinese (Mainland and Hong Kong), and Korean cinema have been telling the story of the warrior for decades. From the classics to the latest groundbreaking films and trends in cinema, find out all you need to know about this truly unique and essential genre of East Asian cinema. In this class, students will be presented a comprehensive guide to one of the largest genres in East Asian cinema. As a huge film enthusiast, I aim to provide a strong introduction for beginners but also expose more experienced viewers to lesser known (but equally important) films. No external viewing/renting/purchasing of films will be assigned/required to take this class. All necessary video clips of films will be shown, examined and discussed within class meetings. Please note: Video clips shown in class may contain some violence.


A13552: From Noh to TeniMyu: A Crash Course in Japanese Theatre in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
The theatre of Japan is among the most distinct and easily recognizable arts known today. Its influences are so deeply engrained in popular culture that you might not even realize its reach. Join us as we take you on a crash course of all there is to know about the many unique theatre forms found in Japan, from the mysterious Noh masked theatre to the flashy Prince of Tennis Musical and all that is in between. Featuring recordings of performances like the recent NARUTO Kabuki production and a live demonstration of traditional Japanese comedy!


H13553: J-Horror: Dead Wet Girls & Monstrous Mothers in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
No Japanese horror or ghost film is complete without its haunting woman specter, dating back from as early as the time of Akira Kurosawa to as recent as this year's latest Sadako film. Join us and find out why the monstrous feminine has dominated J-Horror cinema, and why some of the most iconic women figures of the genre are the way they are.


P11620: Japanese Folklore: Kitsune, Oni and Yuurei, Oh My! in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
Ever wondered what a “tanuki” really is, or what the difference is between a youkai and a yuurei? Find out the answers here! Join us as we explore Japanese folklore and superstitions. This class covers the most prominent creatures, including ghosts, in Japanese folklore, what they are and do, and how to defend against them. A large aspect of this panel involves retelling some well-known Japanese folktales, legends, and ghost stories. Finally, the role Japanese folklore plays in Japan today is addressed, such as the influence it has on contemporary superstitions and its presence in the media such as anime. Note: There is slight overlap with the Murderous Wives & Dead Wet Girls: Exploring the Horrors of Female Ghosts in Japan course.


P11621: Monstrous Wives & Dead Wet Girls: Exploring the Horrors of Female Ghosts in Japan in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
No Japanese horror film is complete without its haunting woman spectre like Sadako from Ringu (The Ring) or Kayako from Ju-On (The Grudge). To the Japanese, however, these ghosts represent far more than just a means to frighten audiences and there is a reason behind every action and trait. Join us and learn them all! Find out the significance of Sadako being thrown down a well, why the female ghosts’ hair is always left unbound, and why the Japanese cannot let go of their dead. Please be advised: There will be horror. There will be spoilers (for many of the discussed films). Note: There is slight overlap with the Japanese Folklore: Kitsune, Oni and Yuurei, Oh My! course.


X11623: Insider's Guide to Traveling/Living in Japan in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
Have you ever wanted to go to Japan? To travel, to study, or work and live there long term? If so, this course is for you. This course will offer you a close (and honest) look into what traveling and/or living in Japan entails from a veteran who has traveled from Okinawa to Hokkaido and back, worked in Japan on the JET Program, and more. Come for tips, tricks, and crazy stories!


H11699: Playwriting Intensive in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
You want to write a play, but where do you start? Character? Setting? Structure? This course will provide an overview of the craft of playwriting, ideal for both beginner and advanced writers. Content will include character, language/dialogue, conflict and structure, setting, formatting, and more. There will be brief lectures, writing exercises, and time to share and discuss work. Come in to class with whatever helps you write (laptop, pen and paper, etc) and be ready to hit the ground writing.


A5873: Blood and Honor: The Story of the Warrior in East Asian Cinema in Spark! 2012 (Mar. 10, 2012)
From Kurosawa Akira (Seven Samurai, Ran) to Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), directors in East Asian cinema have been telling the story of the warrior for decades. From the classics to the latest groundbreaking films and trends in cinema, find out all you need to know about this truly unique and essential genre of East Asian film! Please note: A majority of the video clips shown in class will contain some violence.


H5876: Japanese Folklore: Kitsune, Oni and Yuurei, Oh My! in Spark! 2012 (Mar. 10, 2012)
Ever wondered what a "tanuki" really is, or what the difference is between a youkai and a yuurei? Find out the answers here! Join us as we explore Japanese religion, folklore and superstitions.


H4484: Japanese Culture: Traditional Meets Modern in HSSP Spring 2011 (Feb. 19, 2011)
What is it like in Japan? What makes the Japanese tick? Before you can really understand a people, you have to have some idea of what their daily lives are like. What their traditions are, their beliefs, and their way of looking at the world. This class will explore the daily lives of the Japanese. Part lecture, part demonstration, and part workshop, you will get a chance to learn about many aspects of Japanese culture, both traditional and modern, including Japanese fashion, performing arts, education, cuisine, as well as cultural arts such as tea ceremony and ikebana (flower arrangement). Participation in the workshop component is not required, you are more than welcome to just watch and learn. Please note also that supplies are limited, so depending on class size not every student may be able to participate in the workshop section.


H3731: Japanese Folklore: Kitsune, Oni and Yuurei, Oh My! in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Ever wondered what a "tanuki" really is, or what the difference is between a youkai and a yuurei? Find out the answers here! Join us as we explore Japanese folklore and superstitions.


A3733: Testing the Waters of Japanese Culture in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Part lecture, part demonstration, and part workshop, you will get a chance to learn about many aspects of traditional Japanese culture, including Japanese traditional attire, music, dance, and theater as well as cultural arts such as tea ceremony and ikebana (flower arrangement). Participation in the workshop component is not required, you are more than welcome to just come to watch and learn. Please note also that supplies are limited, so depending on class size not every student may be able to participate in the workshop section.


H3734: Samurai versus Ninja in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
Samurai - "One who serves." Ninja - "One who is hidden." Almost everyone knows a little about these warriors. But what exactly were they like? Come and learn from the very warriors themselves! Find out from each how to think, act, fight, live, and even die like a samurai and ninja. Which one will you be?


S1604: How to Become a Samurai and Ninja in 2 Hours in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
Samurai - "One who serves." Ninja - "One who is hidden." Almost everyone knows a little about these warriors. But what exactly were they like? Come and learn how to think, act, fight, live, and even die like a samurai and ninja. Which one will you be?


L1605: Legends of the Samurai and Ninja in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
Hear the stories of some of the greatest samurai and ninja that ever lived. Discover the legends of how the ninja came to be, and what glory truly means to a samurai. New and improved from Splash 2007 with more stories to share!


S1606: Days of the Wolves of Mibu: Shinsengumi in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
They lived in a tumultuous time and became national heroes in a single night. Their swords were feared by countless revolutionaries. Their names were carved in stone and in the hearts and imagination of many. But just who were these great men called the Shinsengumi? Find out here! Learn about the real Wolves of Mibu, and how they compare to their media counterparts.


S1628: Japanese Culture: Traditional Meets Modern in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
Before you can really understand a people, you have to have some idea of what their daily lives are like. Their traditions, their beliefs, their way of looking at the world. This class will explore the daily lives of the Japanese. Come and find out about their festivals, traditions, performing arts, cuisine, education, and much more!


S1468: The Many Faces of Japanese History in HSSP Summer 2008 (Jun. 29, 2008)
Gods, Emperors, Nobles, Courtesans, Priests, Artisans, Merchants, Farmers, Samurai, Ninja, Warlords, Ronin, Shogun Throughout Japanese history and culture, all types of men and women have changed its course. Starting with an age where the Emperor was believed to be a god, and then to a time when warriors determined who truly ruled, Japan’s “face” has transformed time and time again. Join us as we not only witness these changes for ourselves, but also experience them.


The Many Faces of Japanese History in JUNCTION (2008)
Gods, Emperors, Nobles, Courtesans, Priests, Artisans, Merchants, Farmers, Samurai, Ninja, Warlords, Ronin, Shogun Throughout Japanese history and culture, all types ...


Days of the Wolves of Mibu: Shinsengumi! in SPLASH (2007)
They lived in a tumultuous time and became national heroes in a single night. Their swords were feared by countless ...


How to Become a Samurai and Ninja in 2 Hours in SPLASH (2007)
Samurai - "One who serves." Ninja - "One who is hidden." Almost everyone knows a little about these warriors. But ...


Legends of the Samurai and Ninja in SPLASH (2007)
Hear the stories of some of the greatest samurai and ninja that ever lived. Discover the legends of how the ...


True History Behind Samurai Anime in SPLASH (2007)
Who is Oda Nobunaga? Was Himura Kenshin real? Was Saitou Hajime actually left-handed and did he really like plain soba ...


Days of the Wolves of Mibu: Shinsengumi! in SPLASH (2006)
They lived in a tumultuous time and became national heroes in a single night. Their swords were feared by countless ...


How to Become a Samurai and Ninja in 2 Hours in SPLASH (2006)
Samurai - "One who serves." Ninja - "One who is hidden." Almost everyone knows a little about these warriors. But ...