Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—And Japan to the West

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19:30 (Doors open at 19:00)
  • Frederik L. Schodt (Writer, translator, and conference interpreter)
Mita Hall, Temple University, Japan Campus
Robert Dujarric (ICAS Director)
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“Professor Risley” was the stage name of Richard Risley Carlisle. Born in New Jersey in 1814, Risley became a famous acrobat in North America and Europe in the 1840s. Later in life, he also became an entertainment impresario who helped pioneer the Asian entertainment circuit. The story of how this larger-than-life character introduced circus to Japan in 1864, and how he triggered a craze for Japanese performers in the West in 1867, is part of a fascinating lost-but-recently-uncovered history. In a presentation heavily illustrated with photographs and drawings, Frederik L. Schodt will reveal the incredible but true story of Risley and his troupe, who gave the world one of its first glimpses of Japanese popular culture.


Frederik L. Schodt

Writer, translator, and conference interpreter

Frederik L. Schodt is a writer, translator, and conference interpreter based in the San Francisco area. He specializes in currents of thought flowing between Japan and North America, and has written extensively on popular culture, technology, and history. He has won numerous awards, including, in 2009, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his work. In 2013, his book, Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe, won the Circus Historical Society’s Stuart Thayer Prize. His website is at . A more extensive profile can be viewed at .