Koichi Hagimoto

Professor of Spanish

Specialized in 19th and 20th century Latin American literature and culture; also interested in Transpacific Studies.

My first book, Between Empires: Martí, Rizal and the Intercolonial Alliance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), compares the anti-imperial literature and history of Cuba and the Philippines in the late nineteenth century. This study focuses on the writings of José Martí and José Rizal, the most prominent nationalist authors of the two contexts. Through literary and historical analyses, I argue that Martí and Rizal constructed the conceptual framework for what I call an “intercolonial alliance” against both Spain and the United States at the turn of the century.

My second book, Samurai in the Land of the Gaucho: Transpacific Modernity and Nikkei Literature in Argentina (Vanderbilt UP, 2023), explores how diverse literary and cultural approaches to Japan have defined and defied the concept of modernity in Argentina. I argue that historical imaginings of Japan contributed to the Argentine vision of what I call “transpacific modernity” in the early twentieth century. On the other hand, I study how a new generation of Nikkei or Japanese-Argentine authors is rewriting the conventional narrative of Japan in the twenty-first century based on their own immigrant experiences.

My research interests, which are at the forefront of Transpacific Studies, delve into the intricate relationship between Asia and Latin America. I have curated a volume, Trans-Pacific Encounters: Asia and the Hispanic World (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016), a collection of essays that illuminate the multidimensional nature of the historical and cultural intersection between Asian countries and the Hispanic world. I have also co-edited a special number for Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana (2018) and Geografías caleidoscópicas: América Latina y sus imaginarios intercontinentales (Iberoamerica/Vervuert, 2022). Most recently, I have co-edited an anthology, entitled Más allá del haiku: antología de autores nikkei latinoamericanos (El Fondo Editorial de la Asociación Peruano Japonesa, 2024), which showcases the literary works of over 50 writers of Japanese descent from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. My articles have been published in many peer-reviewed journals, such as Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Revista Asia/América Latina, Chasqui, Transmodernity, Hispania, and Latin American Literary Review, among others.

In addition to the traditional scholarship, I also had the pleasure of serving as the interpreter for the acclaimed Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, who came to Wellesley College as the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities during Spring 2023. My interview with Mr. Murakami was published in the journal Transmodernity. In 2024, I myself was interviewed for a podcast series called “Crossing Fronteras,” where I discussed my research and other topics related to my personal/academic trajectory.

For me, research is inseparable from teaching. I take enormous pleasure in teaching all courses related to the Spanish language and Latin American literature and culture. At Wellesley, I have taught Elementary and Intermediate Spanish, Introduction to Hispanic Studies, Introduction to Latin American Studies (in English), Hispanic Caribbean Literature and Culture, Making of Modern Latin American Culture, Nineteenth-Century Latin America, and upper-level seminars on Cuba and on Asia in Latin America. I have also directed the Wintersession program in Cuba. In recognition of my teaching, I was awarded the Ana and Samuel Pinanski Teaching Prize in 2012 and the Apgar Award for Teaching Excellence in 2019. In 2021, I was featured on the “Member Spotlight” page of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Besides serving as the department chair (2023-), I have contributed to multiple committees on campus, including the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events, Slater International Board, the Ruhlman and Tanner Conference Committees, the Committee on Minority Recruitment, Hiring and Retention, the Advisory Board on the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities, the Executive Board for Latin American Studies Program, the Committee on Curriculum & Academic Policy and the Advisory Committee on Academic Staffing.

When not working, I enjoy running, playing soccer, eating, and traveling with my family.


  • B.A., Soka University of America
  • M.A., University of Pittsburgh
  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Current and upcoming courses

  • This seminar examines Cuban literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present. As a tropical island in the Caribbean ruled by numerous imperial powers and domestic tyrants, Cuba has often been perceived as a paradise and/or a prison. We will study both the literal and metaphorical meanings of these two symbols through various modes of cultural expression, including prose, poetry, art, music, and film. We will discuss such topics as colonialism, slavery, the independence movement, the Cuban Revolution, socialism, race and gender, immigration, and the changing relationship between Cuba and the United States. Readings may include texts by Juan Franciscano Manzano, José Martí, Cristina García, Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, José Lezama Lima, Reinaldo Arenas, Yoani Sanchéz, and Sonia Rivera-Valdés.