Professor Takenaka specializes in social and cultural history of modern Japan. Her research involves memory and historiography of the Asia-Pacific War, gender and peace activism, and history museums. Her teaching interests include gender, war and society, nationalism, memory studies, and visual culture. Prior to coming to UK, she has taught as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.
Professor Takenaka's first book, entitled Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan's Unending Postwar (University of Hawai'i Press, Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University), explores Yasukuni Shrine as a physical space, object of visual and spatial representation, and site of spatial practice in order to highlight the complexity of Yasukuni’s past and critique the official narratives that postwar debates have responded to. Her second book project Mothers Against War: Gender, Motherhood, and Peace Activism in Postwar Japan is under advance contract with the University of Hawai'i Press. Her research has been funded by long-term research fellowships by Fulbright and the Japan Foundation.