The East Asian Studies Center is led by a faculty director and three faculty associate directors, who serve as directors for the country-specific institutes for Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and Korean Studies.

EASC's current leadership team is:

East Asian Studies Center Director:

Mitchell Lerner
Director, East Asian Studies Center

Mitch Lerner, professor in the Department of History, is one of the nation’s leading experts on Korean foreign policy and US-Korea relations. His first book, a study of US-Korean relations in the 1960s, won the John Lyman Book Prize and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Since the book’s publication in 2004, he has authored nearly 20 journal articles and 3 edited volumes. He is also a regular public commentator on this topic, with op-eds in such venues as the New York Times, Washington Post, Korea Times, Cleveland Plains Dealer, The Diplomat, and The National Interest, and appearances on television, radio, and newspapers across the globe. Prof. Lerner has been a fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center for Public Affairs, served on the governing council of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and is on the advisory board of the North Korea International Documentation Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. He has also held the Mary Ball Washington Distinguished Fulbright Chair at University College-Dublin. He currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of American-East Asian Relations, and is a newly-appointed member of the Association for Asian Studies’ Distinguished Speakers Bureau. He received his PhD from the University of Texas-Austin.

At Ohio State, Prof. Lerner is an experienced administrator and educator. He served as director of the Institute for Korean Studies (IKS) from 2012-2020. Under his leadership, the institute has developed new partnerships both within the US and abroad, increased course offerings related to Korea, and organized numerous academic events as well as community outreach and teacher training events. Perhaps most notably, Prof. Lerner was an important member of a team of Korean specialists from across Big Ten universities that partnered to develop an e-school of Korean-related classes to be shared, live and interactive, among Big Ten universities. In addition to his role at IKS, Prof. Lerner is a faculty associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. For his work in the classroom, he has won both the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Ohio Academy of History's Distinguished Teacher Award. He has also trained numerous MA and PhD graduate students in both History and the Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies MA Program.

East Asian Studies Center Associate Directors:

Ying Zhang
Director, Institute for Chinese Studies
Ying Zhang is an associate professor in the Department of History. She holds a BA from Renmin University of China, MAs from Osaka Prefecture University of Japan and University of Cincinnati, and a PhD from University of Michigan in history and women’s studies. Prof. Zhang employs a multidisciplinary approach to Chinese studies. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on diverse aspects of Chinese history in addition to her book, Confucian Image Politics: Masculine Morality in Seventeenth-Century China (Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2016). She has also trained numerous MA and PhD graduate students in both History and the Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies MA Program. Prof. Zhang has held leadership positions in several interdisciplinary programs on campus, including co-founding and co-coordinating “The Premodernist Workshop” since 2012 and the Humanities Institute Working Group on “Confinement” in 2016-2018, as well as serving as interim program chair of the Center for Historical Studies in Spring 2017 and graduate studies chair of the Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies MA Program in 2015-2016. She also organized the “History of the Mind Seminar,” which brought together multiple fields in 2018. 

Naomi Fukumori
Director, Institute for Japanese Studies
Naomi Fukumori is an associate professor in Japanese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Prof. Fukumori received her A.B. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a specialist in Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura period (1185-1333) court literature (poetry and prose), with particular interests in issues of women’s writing; history and narrative; and the dynamics among patronage, literary practice, and canonization in premodern literature. She is currently finishing a manuscript, provisionally entitled Sei Shônagon’s Pillow Book and the Poetics of Amusement, on the 11th-century “miscellany” written by a lady-in-waiting to an empress (forthcoming from Cornell East Asia Series). Her second book project investigates the literary functions of ritual and ceremony in mid-Heian period texts such as The Tale of Genji, bringing together ritual, performance, and narratological theories to explore scenes of complexly structured meaning in courtly narratives. Fukumori teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in premodern Japanese literature and culture, East Asian women’s writing, and Japanese American literature.

Danielle Pyun
Director, Institute for Korean Studies
Danielle Pyun is an associate professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Prof. Pyun earned her PhD in Foreign and Second Language Education at Ohio State. She specializes in Korean language pedagogy with particular interests in individual learner variables in second/foreign language learning and issues in inter-language pragmatics. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Korean culture, Korean language, and Korean language pedagogy and serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Teachers of Korean.