Duncan Ryuken Williams was born in Tokyo, Japan to a Japanese mother and British father. After growing up in Japan and England until age 17, he moved to the U.S. to attend college (Reed College) and graduate school (Harvard University). Williams is the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture and the founder of the Hapa Japan Database Project. Previously, he held the Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at University of California, Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies. He also served as the Executive Vice President of Japan House/LA, a public diplomacy initiative of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Williams is the author of The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Soto Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan (Princeton University Press) and editor of 7 books including Issei Buddhism in the Americas (U-Illinois Press), American Buddhism (Routledge/Curzon Press), Hapa Japan: History, Identity, and Representations of Mixed Race/Mixed Roots Japanese Peoples (Ito Center/Kaya Press), and Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard University Press). He has also translated four books from Japanese into English including Putting Buddhism to Work: A New Theory of Economics and Business Management (Kodansha). He is currently completing a monograph titled American Sutra: Buddhism and the World War II Japanese American Experience and writing a manifesto for Japan in the 21st-century titled Hybrid Japan (in Japanese).
Roland Kelts is a Lecturer at the University of Tokyo and a co-editor of the New York-based literary journal, A Public Space. His first novel, Access, will be published next year. His articles, essays, and stories have been published in Zoetrope, Playboy, Doubletake, Salon, The Village Voice, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and The Japan Times, among others. He has lectured at New York University, Rutgers University and Barnard College, and he is a graduate of Oberlin College and Columbia University. He currently splits his time between New York and Tokyo.