James Scanlon-Canegata was born and raised in New York City. After receiving his B.A. from Bard College, James lived and worked in Kyushu as an English instructor on the JET program. Before returning to the U.S. James attended Kyoto University as a graduate researcher, looking at Buddhist literature and Japanese new religious movements. James completed his M.A. in Japanese linguistics at the University of Hawaii before joining the program at Yale. His master’s thesis dealt with the language and orthography of the saibara uta collection. His research interests are in the development of waka, literary (poetic) and oral (musical) culture, performance literature, early Japanese ritual traditions and archaic folk ballads (kayo), and the relationship of writing systems to varieties of literature, among others.