Eli’s Asian-American Background: Multicultural, Diverse, Multiracial

Elijah Saburo White, or Eli White for short, is the pen name of a retired academic turned writer. His stories are mostly about American life in the second half of the 20th century, but he also occasionally writes fiction about Japan. He has also contributed to blogs concerning life in Japan. Eli White has lived all over the United States. Most of his early formative years were spent in a small town in Iowa. As a young adult he spent years in several states on the Atlantic seaboard and attended college in New York City. Graduate studies took him to Colorado, California, and Hawaii. Those academic interests would also take him to the Far East, including several locales in Japan, which he now calls home. It is his fervent hope that the stories he has written for this website can entertain and maybe even move any interested visitors so inclined to take a chance on nostalgic short fiction.

You can take a look at Eli's CV below.






Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Ph.D.  Religious Studies, April 2006. Dissertation: Strange Tidings from the Realm of Immortals: Hirata Atsutane’s Ethnography of the Other World


University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

M.A.  Religious Studies, January 1996. Thesis: Hirata Atsutane’s Taxonomy and Comparative Morphological Method


Columbia University, New York, NY

A.B.  East Asian Studies, May 1984. Thesis: Tanizaki Junichiro’s Use of the Unreliable Narrator




Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, Yokohama Japan, 1999-2000. 


Beijing University, Beijing China, Summer 1999

Summer intensive Chinese language immersion program held in cooperation between Beijing University and Stanford University.


Indiana University EASLI, Summer 1994,1997

Summer intensive Japanese language immersion program designed to provide a year’s language instruction in two months.





San Diego State University,


Department of Religious Studies, Associate Professor Emeritus 2016-


Department of Religious Studies, Associate Professor  2010-2016

Center for Asia & Pacific Studies, Director 2012-14

Department of Religious Studies, Assistant Professor  2007-2010


Western Kentucky University, 


Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Visiting Assistant Professor  2006-2007.

University of California, Santa Barbara,


Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, Visiting Lecturer  Feb. to Aug. 2006.

Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, Project Scientist  Summer 2006.

Kokugakuin University,


Center of Excellence, Translator 2002-2003.

University of Hawaii,


Center for Japanese Studies,Visiting Scholar 2001-2002.




Peer-Reviewed Book  

 When Tengu Talk: Hirata Atsutane’s Ethnography of the Other World. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008.


Peer-Reviewed Articles


 Japanese Nationalism and Cultural Memory:  Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies,

 March 2016.

Creating Modern Japanese Subjects: Morning Rituals: Religions 2016, 7,28. March 11, 2011.

Of Heretics and Tax Cheats: Chicago: University of Chicago Press. History of Religions February 2011 (50:3).

Dancing as if Possessed: A Coming Out Party in Edo Spirit Society, Nagoya, Japan: Nanzan University Press. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Fall 2010 (37/2).

Examining Prewar Tôgô Worship in Hawaii: Toward Rethinking Hawaiian Shinto as a New Religion in America.” Berkeley: University of California Press. Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, August 2010 (14:2).

The Dao of Nineteenth CenturyJapanese Nativist Healing: A Chinese Herbal Supplement to Faith Healing. Early Modern Japan: An Interdisciplinary Journal. (XVI) December 2008 pp. 92-103.

The Medium is the Message: Hirata Atsutane’s Ethnography of the World Beyond. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. History of Religions May 2006 (45:4) pp. 339-372.



"The True Pillar of the Soul,” in

Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook

The Siege of Rhodes. By Shiono Nanami

The Battle of Lepanto. By Shiono Nanami

Essentials of Buddhist Images. By Matsunami Kodo

Encyclopedia of Shinto. Kokugakuin



Japanese: JLPT Level 1

Chinese:   Two years modern, two years classical

Sanskrit:  One year