The East Asian Studies Center is led by a faculty director and three faculty associate directors, who serve as directors for the country-specific institutes for Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and Korean Studies.

EASC's current leadership team is:

East Asian Studies Center Director:

Mitchell Lerner
Director, East Asian Studies Center
Mitch Lerner, professor in the Department of History, is one of the nation’s leading experts on Korean foreign policy and US-Korea relations. His first book, a study of US-Korean relations in the 1960s, won the John Lyman Book Prize and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Since the book’s publication in 2004, he has authored nearly 20 journal articles and 3 edited volumes. He is also a regular public commentator on this topic, with op-eds in such venues as the New York Times, Washington Post, Korea Times, Cleveland Plains Dealer, The Diplomat, and The National Interest, and appearances on television, radio, and newspapers across the globe. Prof. Lerner has been a fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center for Public Affairs, served on the governing council of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and is on the advisory board of the North Korea International Documentation Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. He has also held the Mary Ball Washington Distinguished Fulbright Chair at University College-Dublin. He currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of American-East Asian Relations, and is a newly-appointed member of the Association for Asian Studies’ Distinguished Speakers Bureau. He received his PhD from the University of Texas-Austin.

At Ohio State, Prof. Lerner is an experienced administrator and educator. He served as director of the Institute for Korean Studies (IKS) from 2012-2020. Under his leadership, the institute has developed new partnerships both within the US and abroad, increased course offerings related to Korea, and organized numerous academic events as well as community outreach and teacher training events. Perhaps most notably, Prof. Lerner was an important member of a team of Korean specialists from across Big Ten universities that partnered to develop an e-school of Korean-related classes to be shared, live and interactive, among Big Ten universities. In addition to his role at IKS, Prof. Lerner is a faculty associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. For his work in the classroom, he has won both the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Ohio Academy of History's Distinguished Teacher Award. He has also trained numerous MA and PhD graduate students in both History and the Interdisciplinary East Asian Studies MA Program.

East Asian Studies Center Associate Directors:

Max Woodworth
Interim Director, Institute for Chinese Studies
Max Woodworth is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. He earned his PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley after earning his B.S. in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University and M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds a Certificate in Chinese Studies from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center. Max is a geographer with research interests in multiple aspects of China’s urban transformations, including the political economy of land development, urban governance, city planning and spatial design, urbanization in resource extraction regions, and large-scale new-town development. He has recently expanded his scope of research to include Taiwan. His work there focuses on military enclaves during the White Terror period and mining settlements. Max has previously served as the Chair of the East Asian Studies Interdisciplinary M.S. Graduate Studies Committee and currently serves on the committee. He has also served as the Principal Investigator of the Asian Futures Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme grant. He teaches courses in human geography, geopolitics, urban China, and international economic development.

Naomi Fukumori
Director, Institute for Japanese Studies
Naomi Fukumori is an associate professor in Japanese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Prof. Fukumori received her A.B. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a specialist in Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura period (1185-1333) court literature (poetry and prose), with particular interests in issues of women’s writing; history and narrative; and the dynamics among patronage, literary practice, and canonization in premodern literature. She is currently finishing a manuscript, provisionally entitled Sei Shônagon’s Pillow Book and the Poetics of Amusement, on the 11th-century “miscellany” written by a lady-in-waiting to an empress (forthcoming from Cornell East Asia Series). Her second book project investigates the literary functions of ritual and ceremony in mid-Heian period texts such as The Tale of Genji, bringing together ritual, performance, and narratological theories to explore scenes of complexly structured meaning in courtly narratives. Fukumori teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in premodern Japanese literature and culture, East Asian women’s writing, and Japanese American literature.

Danielle Pyun
Director, Institute for Korean Studies
Danielle Pyun is an associate professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Prof. Pyun earned her PhD in Foreign and Second Language Education at Ohio State. She specializes in Korean language pedagogy with particular interests in individual learner variables in second/foreign language learning and issues in inter-language pragmatics. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Korean culture, Korean language, and Korean language pedagogy and serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Teachers of Korean.