Faculty Profile

Michihiro Ama

Michihiro Ama

Japanese Language and Culture

Email: michihiro.ama@mso.umt.edu
Office: LA 320


Dr. Michihiro Ama has taught courses on various aspects of Japanese literature and culture, and all levels of Japanese, including business Japanese and Classical Japanese.

JPNS201/202: Intermediate Japnaese

JPNS301/302: Advanced Japanese

JPNS306: Business Japanese

JPNS312: Japanese Lilterature Medieval to Modern

JPNS371: Japanese Film and Anime

JPNS411: Modern Japanese Writers and Thinkers

JPNS415: Japanese for Professionals


University of California, Irvine  Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures, 2007

Research Interests

The Transpacific Development of Japanese Buddhism, Buddhism in Japanese Literature and Film, Buddhism and Japanese Language, Buddhism and Law, Buddhism and Gender, and Buddhism and Ethnicity

Selected Publications


  • Immigrants to the Pure Land: The Modernization, Acculturation and Globalization of Shin Buddhism, 1898-1941. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011. 313 pp. https://uhpress.hawaii.edu/title/immigrants-to-the-pure-land-the-modernization-acculturation-and-globalization-of-shin-buddhism-1898-1941/  (Republished through http://universitypressscholarship.com by Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • The Awakening of Modern Japanese Fiction: Buddhism and an Interpretation of Buddhism. Albany: State University of New York, 2021. 342 pp. http://www.sunypress.edu/showproduct.aspx?ProductID=7022&SEName=the-awakening-of-modern-japanes

Book Chapters

  • “Translation with a Critical Note, ‘A Future of Shin Buddhism in America: Tana Daishō’s Vision for American Buddhism.’” In Pure Lands in Asian Texts and Contexts: An Anthology, ed. Richard Payne and Georgios T. Halkias, 379-395. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2019.
  • “‘First White Buddhist Priestess’: A Case Study of Sunya Gladys Pratt at Tacoma Buddhist Temple.” In Buddhism Beyond Borders: New Perspectives on Buddhism in the United States, ed. Scott Mitchell and Natalie Quli, 59-74. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2015.
  •  “Flying Sparks: Dissensions among the Early Shin Buddhists in Canada.” In Flowers on the Rock: Global and Local Buddhisms in Canada, ed. John S. Harding, Victor Sogen Hori, and Alexander Soucy, 55-78. Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014.
  • “The Legal Dimensions of the Formation of Shin Buddhist Temples in Los Angeles.” In Issei Buddhism in Americas, ed. Duncan R. Williams and Moriya Tomoe, 65-86. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010.

Peer-Reviewed/Refereed Articles

  •  “A Jewish Buddhist Priest: The Curious Case of Julius A. Goldwater and the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temples in 1930–1940s Los Angeles.” Southern California Quarterly vol. 100, no. 3, (Fall, 2018): 297-323.
  • “Shinran as ‘Other’: Revisiting Kurata Hyakuzo’s The Priest and His Disciples.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies vol. 43, no 2: (2016): 253-274.
  • “A Neglected Diary, A Forgotten Buddhist Couple: Tana Daisho’s Internment Camp Diary as a Historical and Literary Text.” Journal of Global Buddhism vol. 14 (2013): 45-62.
  • “A Transnational Development of Japanese Buddhism During the Postwar Period—The Case of Tana Daisho.” Pacific World 3rd series no. 14 (2012): 1-26.
  • “Shin Buddhist Women in America.” Religion Compass 5, no. 5 (May 2011): 180-191.
  • “Transcending Death in Departures (Okuribito)—A Case Study of Film, Literature, and Buddhism in Modern Japan.” The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 2, no.1 (Dec. 2010): 35-50.
  • “Rethinking Kaikyo (Overseas Propagation of Japanese Buddhism): Integrating Perspectives from Both Sides.” The Eastern Buddhist n.s., 40 (2009): 121-138.
  • “Shifting Subjectivity in the Translation of Shinran’s Texts” The Eastern Buddhist n.s. 37 (2005): 205-221.

Encyclopedia Entries (Peer-Reviewed)

  • “American Buddhism during World War II Internment.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion


  • “Imamuras and the Making of American Buddhism.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion


Articles in Japanese

  • “Buddhism and Literature,” an entry to Bukkyoshi Kenkyu« Handbook (A Handbook for the Historical Study of Japanese Buddhism), ed. Bukkyo shigakukai, 364-365. Kyoto: Hozokan, 2016.
  • “Buddhism and Music,” an entry to Bukkyoshi Kenkyu« Handbook (A Handbook for the Historical Study of Japanese Buddhism), ed. Bukkyo shigakukai, 367. Kyoto: Hozokan, 2016.
  • “Hokubei niokeru senzen no nihon bukkyo no tenkai—shin shiryo niyoru kosatsu” (A Development of Japanese Buddhism in North America during the Pre-war Period.” Migration kenkyukai kaiho, The Periodical Report of the Society for the Studies of Japanese Migration 8 (May 2013): 6-7
  • “Nikkei imin shukyo kenkyu ni okeru ameica to nihon no kenkyu hohono soiten oyobi gakujutsu koryu no teiki: Nikkei bukkyo no kenkyu o chushin to shite (Integrating American and Japanese Scholarship on the Topic of Japanese Buddhism in North America).” Nihon imin gakkai nenpo, The Annual Review of Migration Studies, 16 (March 2010): 109-121.


Professional Experience

August 2016 - present       University of Montana

                                          Karashima Tsukasa Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture

July 2015 - June 2016       University of Alaska, Anchorage

                                           Associate Professor of Japanese, Department of Languages

August 2010 - June 2015   University of Alaska, Anchorage               

                              Assistant Professor of Japanese, Department of Languages