Rabson's research has focused on modern Japanese literature, especially works depicting war, its aftermath, and the experiences of women and minorities. He is regarded as an expert on Okinawa, subject of several of his books, and has spoken of wartime rape there to the New York Times. He is also a Japan Focus associate. As a U.S. Army draftee he was stationed in Okinawa in 1967-68.
- The poetry of Kaneko Mitsuharu, 1979
- Okinawa : two postwar novellas by Tatsuhiro Oshiro, (Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1989, reprinted 1996)
- Shimazaki Tōson on war, 1991
- Yosano Akiko on War : To Give One's Life or Not : A Question of Which War, April 1991
- Righteous Cause or Tragic Folly: Changing Views of War in Modern Japanese Poetry, (Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 1998)
- Southern exposure: modern Japanese literature from Okinawa, co-edited with Michael Molasky (University of Hawaii Press, 2000)
- Edo senryū on waka and women, 2003
- The Okinawan Diaspora in Japan: Crossing the Borders Within (University of Hawaii Press, 2012)
- Kpop Crash Course: Beyond Gangnam Style, Dr Steve Rabson with Alexandra Swords
- Islands of Resistance: Japanese Literature from Okinawa, co-edited with Davinder Bhowmik (forthcoming from University of Hawaii Press, 2015)
- Steve Rabson at JapanFocus.org; retrieved 2013-5-16.
- Steve Rabson at Brown.edu; retrieved 2013-5-16.
- Sims, Calvin (1 June 2000). "3 Dead Marines and a Secret of Wartime Okinawa". New York Times. Nago, Japan. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- "Steve Rabson". JapanFocus. March 31, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- WorldCat Identities: Rabson, Steve; retrieved 2013-5-16.
- Rabson, Steve (1991). "Yosano Akiko on War: To Give One's Life or Not: A Question of Which War". The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese. 25 (1): 45–74. doi:10.2307/488910. JSTOR 488910.
- Steve Rabson and Alexandra Swords. "Kpop Crash Course: Beyond Gangnam Style". Google Docs. Retrieved 8 December 2013.