Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Jeffrey Dym

Title: Professor of History

Office Location: Tahoe 3088

Email: Dym@csus.edu

Mailing Address: History Department, MS 6059, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-2605

Office Hours: Spring 2024: Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00-11:00 & 3:00-4:00 and by appointment

Virtual Office : Dr. Dym's Zoom meeting room

Courses That I Teach

FALL 2023
  • History 6: Asian Civilizations (GE C2) TR 12:00-1:15  syllabus
  • History 21: Freshman Seminar W 1:30-2:45  syllabus
  • History 146A: Cultural History of Japan to 1800 (GE C2) MW 12:00-1:15  syllabus
  • History 146D: The History of Manga TR 9:00-10:15 syllabus


  • Asia 190: Short-term Study Abroad in Japan

SPRING 2024 (Tentative)

  • History 6: Asian Civilizations (GE C2) TR 9:00-10:15
  • History 146B: Modern Japan, 1800-present (GE D) TR 12:00-1:15
  • History 146D: The History of Anime (GE C1) M 1:30-2:45
  • History 192C: Senior Reading Seminar, Asia, (Hybrid) W 1:30-2:45

SUMMER 2024 (Tentative)

  • Asia 140/History 140: Modern East Asian Cinema (GE: C1 & WI) Online Asynchonous Session I

FALL 2024 (Tentative)

  • History 6: Asian Civilizations (GE C2) TR 12:00-1:15
  • History 21: Freshman Seminar W 1:30-2:45
  • History 146A: Cultural History of Japan to 1800 (GE C2) MW 12:00-1:15
  • History 146D: The History of Manga TR 9:00-10:15





“Make Your Documentary! A Call to Action,” Education About Asia, 26:2, (Fall 2021): Online Supplement.

“The Trailblazers,” The Linguist 60:4 (August/September 2021): 11.

A Brief History of Benshi. About Japan: A Teacher's Resource.

Kamishibai: What is it? Some Preliminary FindingsKamishibai for Kids

Benshi, Japanese Silent Film Narrators, and Their Forgotten Narrative Art of Setsumei: A History of Japanese Silent Film Narration. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003.

"Tokugawa Musei: A Portrait Sketch of One of Japan's Greatest Narrative Artists." In In Praise of Film Studies: Essays and Translations in Honor of Makino Mamoru, edited by Aaron Gerow and Abe Markus Nornes. Yokohama: Kinema Club, 2001.

"Benshi and the Introduction of Motion Pictures to Japan." Monumenta Nipponica, 55:4 (Winter 2000): 509-536. (Also available at About Japan).

Documentaries and Videos that I have made

Traditional Japanese Puppetry: Beyond Bunraku (人形浄瑠璃)

Ohenrobyo: Pilgrimage Addiction

Grand Prize Winner

2022 16th annual Shikoku Content Video Festival, Amateur Division

Japanese Puppet Heads

Flowers on the Stage: Noh Costumes, 能装束, nō shōzoku, Nō Costumes

Amaterasu, Her Jealous Brother Susano, and Weaving in Japan


Noh Men: The Spirit of Noh

Official Selection: Sacramento Film and Music Festival, 2018

Feature Length Documentary Audience Award Winner

Official Selection: Action on Film Festival, 2018


Carving a Noh Mask with Bidou Yamaguchi 山口毘堂 能面を打つ 

Part of "Making Faces: The Remarkable Masks of Master Bidou Yamaguchi" Exhibit at The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields' Japanese Collection. 

A Neighborhod Lost: Sacramento'sJapantown      Place Called Sacramento Laurels     Sacramento Asia Pacific Film Festival Laurels

Shikoku Henro (四国遍路): The 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku (四国八十八ヶ所)

 Check out the videos for each of the 88 Temples (and 20 Bekkaku Temples) of the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Bibliography for sources used in the films: Ohenro Bibliography pdf


Cambodia's Other Lost City: French Colonial Phnom Penh

Gold Medal, International Movie Awards, 2014. 

Die for Japan: A Look at Japanese Propaganda Kamishibai(Paper Plays) 

What is Kamishibai? 

Kamishibai in the Classroom



During the silent film era, roughly 1894-1930s, Japanese silent movies were never silent. In addition to live musical accompaniment, they always had a narrator (benshi, setsumeisha) or a group of narrators accompany the film with running commentary and dialog (setsumei).  If you would like to hear what Japanese silent film narration, or even Japanese silent film music, sounded like, then check out my YouTube channel of my 78RPM record collection of Japanese silent film narration.  DymSensei’s 78 RPMs (SP盤)映画説明レコード Silent Film Narration Records

Somei Saburo performs silent film narration for the film Anthony and Cleopatra.

Mt. Fuji Sunrise and Summit, June 22, 2011 

History 140 / Asia 140 Modern East Asian Cinema Promo 

What Makes You Happy?

Book Reviews

Heritage Politics: Shuri Castle and Okinawa’s Incorporation into Modern Japan, 1879-2000, by Tze May Loo.  In The Public Historian 37.3 (2015): 146-148.

Nuclear Apartheid: The Quest for American Atomic Supremacy from World War II to the Present, by Shane J. Maddock. In Canadian Journal of History 46 (Autumn 2011).

North Korea Kidnapped My Daughter, by Yokota Sakie. In North Korean Review 6.1 (2010).

The Cinema of Naruse Mikio: Women and Japanse Modernity, by Catherine Russell. In Pacific Affairs 82:3 (Winter 2009/2010): 726-727.

Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization, by Ian Condry. In Canadian Journal of History 42 (Winter 2007): 581-583. 

Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture: An Illustrated Sourcebook, edited by Stephen Addiss, Gerald Groemer, and J. Thomas Rimer. In Education About Asia 12:3 (2007): 71. 

Tolerance, Suspicion, and Hostility: Changing U.S. Attitudes toward the Japanese Communist Movement, 1944-1977, by Henry Oinas-Kukkonen.   In American Communist History 4:1 (2005). 

Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan, by Frederik L. Schodt. In Canadian Journal of History 39 (August 2004): 446-448. 

The Human Tradition in Modern Japan, edited by Anne Walthall. In Journal of World History 15: 1 (March 2004): 99-101.

Japan: A Modern History, by James L. McClain. In The Historian 65: 5 (Winter 2003): 1214-1215.

Wonju: The Gettysburg of the Korean War, by J. D. Coleman. In The Historian 64: 3 & 4 (Spring and Summer 2002): 787-788.

Writing in Light: The Silent Scenario and the Japanese Pure Film Movement, by Joanne Bernardi. In Monumenta Nipponica, 56:3 (Autumn 2001): 430-432.


Ph.D. History - University of Hawaii

M.A. Asian Studies - University of Michigan

B.A. East Asian Studies - Colby College

Research Scholar - Kyoto Gakuen Daigaku

Research Student - Waseda University

Professional Associations