Mizuko Ito

Mizuko Ito
Mizuko Ito

Ito at her home desk
Born July 22, 1968 (1968-07-22) (age 43)
Kyōto, Japan
Residence Southern California
Nationality Japanese
Education Ph.D.
Alma mater Harvard University (undergraduate)
Stanford University (graduate)
Occupation anthropologist
Spouse Scott Fisher
Children 2
Relatives Joi Ito (brother)

Mizuko Itō or Mizuko Ito a.k.a. Mimi Ito (伊藤瑞子 Itō Mizuko?, born 22 July 1968, Kyōto, Japan) is a Japanese cultural anthropologist who is an Associate Researcher at the Humanities Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine. In addition, she is a Visiting Associate Professor at the Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance.

Her main professional interest is the use of media technology. She has explored the ways in which digital media are changing relationships, identities, and communities. With Misa Matsuda and Daisuke Okabe, Ito edited Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life (MIT Press, 2005). In 2006, Ito received a MacArthur Foundation grant to "observe children's interactions with digital media to get a sense of how they're really using the technology."[1] This work led to the "Digital Media and Learning Hub" (housed in the UCHRI) and the recent publication of two books: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out and Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software.


Family and Education

Ito grew up between the United States and Japan. In Japan, she attended Nishimachi International School and the American School in Japan. She did her undergraduate work at Harvard University, graduating in 1990 with a degree in East Asian studies: her thesis was "Zen and Tea Ritual: A Comparative Analysis."

Ito did her graduate work at Stanford University. In 1991, she received a Masters of Arts degree in anthropology; her thesis was "The Holistic Alternative: A Symbolic Analysis of an Emergent Culture." In 1998, she received a Ph.D. from the Department of Education for her dissertation: "Interactive Media for Play: Kids, Computer Games and the Productions of Everyday Life." In 2003, she received a Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology for her dissertation: "Engineering Play: Children’s Software and the Productions of Everyday Life."

Ito lives in Southern California with her husband, Scott Fisher, a virtual reality researcher, and their two children. She keeps a Bento Moblog, a visual record of the school lunches she prepares for her kids. Ito's brother is Joi Ito, a venture capitalist and blogger. With her brother, she hosts Chanpon.org.


Mizuko Ito wrote or contributed to several books:[2]

  • Ito, Mizuko. "Introduction." In Networked Publics, edited by Kazys Varnelis, 1-14. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008.
  • Ito, Mizuko, Heather A. Horst, Matteo Bittanti, danah boyd, Becky Herr Stephenson, Patricia G. Lange, C. J. Pascoe, and Laura Robinson. Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project In The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008.
  • Ito, Mizuko, Sonja Baumer, Matteo Bittanti, danah boyd, Rachel Cody, Becky Herr, Heather A. Horst, Patricia G. Lange, Dilan Mahendran, Katynka Martinez et al. Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, In Press.
  • Ito, Mizuko. Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009.
  • Ito, Mizuko. "Virtually Embodied: The Reality of Fantasy in a Multi-User Dungeon" in Porter, David Internet Culture. Routledge, 1997.


External links

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