Karin Swanson has an M.A. from San Diego State University in Japanese Art History and is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Kansas, focusing on Edo-period paintings and prints, woodblock printed books, and 17th-century painting. She has lived in Kyoto since 1993 and has held lectureships at a number of universities, including the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies, where she worked with Columbia University’s program. She is a member of Kyoto Asian Studies Group as well as a Kyoto Townhouse Association, which promotes this classic but unfortunately rapidly disappearing form of Kyoto architecture. When not lecturing, Karin enjoys attending art exhibitions and auctions as well as both rural and urban hiking.
Alexander Bazes, originally from New York, has lived in Kyoto for 6 years. After finishing his BA in East Asian studies at Brown University he went on to take a master’s degree in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused on pre-modern Japanese Buddhism. In early 2012, he began training in the craft of Japanese knife making, which he is pursuing full-time. Passionate about Japanese craftsmanship and culture, he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with others.
Marcin Tatarczuk is a PhD Candidate at Kyoto University, studying Folk culture in contemporary Japan. Marcin's PhD studies are a continuation of his Master's thesis, which he also completed in Kyoto. His studies focus on the Depictions of Japanese Otherworld and Buddhist Hell, but also usage of these traditional motifs in present day Japan's culture and tourism. Marcin also has a Master's degree in Japanese studies at Warsaw University, Poland. There he specialized in Japanese folklore, ancient culture, religion and history. He published a book "Kaidan - Strange Tales of Edo period" (2011) in which he introduces Japanese ghosts, demons and goblins in 17-18th Century Japan. He also co-wrote "The Culture of Heian Imperial Court" (2008) about Japanese culture in 9th and 10th Century. Marcin has a wide knowledge of Japan, starting from its history, folklore and religion, through its politics, post war society, but also has interest in its more recent pop culture and media. In his spare time he enjoys walking through Kyoto’s streets rediscovering its secrets. He also enjoys riding his Kawasaki motorcycle seeking more remote and hidden places. Marcin has lived in Kyoto for 10 years.