Travis Seifman is a PhD candidate in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a historian of early modern (17th-19th c.) Okinawa and Japan. His dissertation research examines the cultural dimensions of official embassies dispatched by the Okinawan kingdom of Lūchū (Ryūkyū) to Tokugawa Japan and Qing China, with a particular focus on the use of costume, music, and other aspects of cultural performance in “performing” status & identity, and on the role of ritual in enacting political relationships.

His broader research and teaching interests include Okinawan history and culture (from premodern to contemporary), the history and culture of early modern Japan, Hawaiian and Pacific Island history, art history, and museum studies.


PhD, History (University of California, Santa Barbara, expected 2019)

MA Art History (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2012)

MA Japanese Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies, 2007)

BA History + East Asian Studies (Brandeis University, 2004)


*“Hokusai’s ‘Eight Views of Ryūkyū: Islands of Imagination,” in Andon (forthcoming)

*“Nihonmachi in Southeast Asia in the Late Sixteenth-Early Seventeenth Centuries,” in Gary Leupp and Tao Demin (eds.), Tokugawa World, Routledge (forthcoming).

*“Seals of Red and Letters of Gold: Japanese Relations with Southeast Asia in the 17th Century,” Explorations: A Graduate Student Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Spring 2010, 5-22.


Networks and Negotiations: UCSB Graduate Student Conference on Premodern Japan,” co-organizer (with K. Saltzman-Li and E. Simpson), February 12-13, 2016

Love, Peace, Dreams, and Bombs,” collaborative art exhibition / panel discussion, co-organizer (with Y. Glover, C. Gabrielson, N. Matsushima, and C. Raymond), UCSB, February 26 – March 4, 2017

Picturing the Ryukyus: Images of Okinawa in Japanese Artworks from the UH Sakamaki/Hawley Collection“, exhibit co-curator (with John Szostak), University of Hawaiʻi Art Gallery, February 2013

Joint symposium Interpreting Parades and Processions of Edo Japan, presenter, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, February 11, 2013


*Association for Asian Studies
*Premodern Japanese Studies
*Early Modern Japan Network
*Japanese Art History Forum
*Japanese Art Society of America

Travis Seifman

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