Michael received his PhD in Japanese Studies from the University of California, Irvine (2010). In 2004-2005, he was a visiting researcher at Hosei University, in Tokyo, under Professor Kawamura Minato. Before entering graduate school, he lived and worked in the Hanshin (Osaka-Kobe) region of Japan for eight years. He received his BA in English Literature from Boston College.
Michael specializes in Japanese modern literature, film, and popular culture. His interests include critical theory; issues of dialect and national language, and the critique of area studies. His current research project, Treasonous City: Osaka in the Imperial Imagination, examines the relation between local city and imperial nation in film and literature of the transwar period, from the 1930s to the 1950s.