David Humphrey


B361 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyLinguistics, Languages, and CulturesFilm StudiesGlobal Studies in Arts and Humanities

Assistant Professor

Japanese Studies Program

ORCID: 0000-0002-7699-6903


Ph.D., Japanese | University of California, Berkeley

M.A., Japanese | University of California, Berkeley

David Humphrey received his Ph.D. in Japanese with a designated emphasis in New Media from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to MSU, he previously taught at Middlebury College and the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on two principle areas: the media and culture of modern and contemporary Japan, and science and technology studies (STS) within Japanese and East Asian Contexts. His first book, The Time of Laughter: Comedy and the Media Cultures of Japan (University of Michigan Press, 2023), examines laughter and comedy’s rise in late 20th and early 21st century Japanese media culture. He has furthermore published widely in journals including Media, Culture & Society, the International Journal of Communication, and the Journal of Japanese Studies. He is currently working on a second book manuscript, tentatively entitled “Training Attention: How machine learning, advertising, and surveillance have shaped attention (in Japan).”

At MSU, he teaches courses on Japanese media, digital and popular culture, literature, and language, as well as on global studies. In addition to serving as a core faculty member of the program in Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, he is also an affiliated faculty member of the Film Studies and Digital Humanities programs.


The Time of Laughter: Comedy and the Media Cultures of Japan. University of Michigan Press (2023). https://www.press.umich.edu/12233973/time_of_laughter

“Japanese Dramas and the Streaming Success Story That Wasn’t: How Industry Practices and IP Shape Japan’s Access to Global Streaming”, Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images 3(1): 3. https://doi.org/10.3998/gs.3668

“Sensing the Human: Biometric Surveillance and the Japanese Technology Industry.” Media, Culture and Society 44.1 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1177/01634437211036996

“Laughter Suspended: Japanese Surreal Comedy and the Ends of Progress.” Archiv Orientální 90.3 (2022). https://doi.org/10.47979/aror.j.90.3.447-472

“’Can Mom Laugh?’ The Production of the Japanese Television Family, 1960s-1980s.” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 8.2 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1386/eapc_00077_1

“The Black Box and Japanese Discourses of the Digital.” International Journal of Communication 14 (2020). https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/13621/3077

“On Mediating Laughter: Japan, Television, and the Discourse of Cheer.” The Journal of Japanese Studies 44.2 (2018). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/700027

“Shattering the Everyday: Konto 55-gō and the Television Comedy of the Late 60s.” Japan Studies Association Journal 15.1 (2017).

“The Tone of Laughter and the Strangely Warm Comedy of Hagimoto Kin’ichi.” Japan Forum 26.4 (2014). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09555803.2014.947615

“Excerpts from The Legends of Japan (1929).” [Translation] Review of Japanese Culture and Society 25 (2013). https://www.jstor.org/stable/43945390


JPN260 Japanese Cinema

JPN369 Japanese Literature and Culture I

GSAH312 Global Digital Cultures

GSAH850 Seminar on Global Theories and Concepts

JPN101 Elementary Japanese I

University News

College Welcomes 30 New Faculty and Staff Members
Published August 30, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
brick building with a blue sky surrounded by trees
This year, the College of Arts & Letters welcomes 30 new faculty and staff members. They include the following:  Qais Assali Qais Assali, Visiting Assistant Professor and…Read now »