Japan Studies Newsletters

Autumn 2008 Newsletter

Pyle Receives Japan Foundation Award

Kenneth B. Pyle, the Henry M. Jackson Professor of History and Asian Studies and Japan Studies faculty member, was honored with the 2008 Japan Foundation Award for Japanese Studies. The award, created in 1973, is given to an individual or organization that made significant contributions to the enhancement of mutual understanding between Japan and other countries through their cultural activities in academic and art fields.

Previous American recipients include Edwin O. Reischauer, Ezra F. Vogel and Donald Keene.. Professor Pyle traveled to Tokyo in early October with his wife Anne to attend the award ceremony and deliver a lecture titled, “Emerging Political Generations in East Asia” at The International House of Japan. As a recipient of the award, Professor Pyle was also granted a private audience by Their Majesties, The Emperor and Empress of Japan. “I was moved by the warmth and hospitality shown to Anne and me by the Japan Foundation and The Imperial Household,” he reflected.

Reception of this distinguished award is the culmination of a career in Japanese studies which began more than 40 years ago. After receiving his B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1958, Pyle received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1965, where he was the Walter Hines Page Fellow in International Relations. He also served as Director of The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies from 1978 to 1988. One of the pioneering figures in modern Japanese studies, he has authored numerous books on Japan’s history, including The Making of Modern Japan (D.C. Heath, 1996) and Japan Rising (Public Affairs Books, 2007), as well as founding The Journal of Japanese Studies in 1974 and serving as editor until 1986.

Pyle has been witness to the increased prominence of Japanese studies in the U.S. academic community in the post-war period. “Due in large part to the fellowships and endowments provided by the Japan Foundation, study of Japan has been worked into the common body of academic knowledge in the U.S.,” commented Pyle on the influence of the organization since its founding.

Strong in his opinion that the study of Japan and East Asia is important for future generations, Pyle emphasizes that “In light of the fact that the United States has its most important bilateral relations, has its most sustained military deployments, conducts more of its trade, and owes more of its national debt in East Asia, a thorough understanding of Japan and of that region is essential for the next cadre of academics and policy makers.”

In addition to his scholarly work, Pyle has been active in the public sector throughout his career. He served as Chairman of both the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (1992-95) and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (1992-95). He also has advised many former ambassadors to Japan, provided congressional testimony and used his expertise to promote understanding of Japan throughout the world.

His close friendship with Senator Henry M. Jackson catalyzed his second academic interest, foreign policy. “On our trips to Asia and in correspondence, Senator Jackson repeatedly spoke of the need for a more informed foreign policy towards Asia,” added Pyle. Spurred by Jackson’s words Pyle founded the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) in 1989. NBR is committed to informing and strengthening policy in the Asia-Pacific Region and disseminates its research through publication, briefings, conferences, congressional testimony and other means.

Pyle has been the recipient of numerous honors, including a Ford Foundation Fellowship (1961-64) and the 2000 Henry M. Jackson Award for Distinguished Public Service. In 1999, he received one of the Government of Japan’s highest honors, The Order of The Rising Sun in recognition of his advancement of Japanese studies. In March 2008, Professor Pyle delivered the keynote address in Tokyo at a convocation marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States.

In his early academic career, Pyle took a circuitous route to studying Japan. His undergraduate honors thesis, which focused on the dispute between Roosevelt and Churchill over India’s independence, sparked his interest in U.S. – Asian relations. “My interest in foreign relations meshed with boyhood love for American history and was transformed into an interest in Japanese history,” added Pyle. Although his path to Japan was indirect, Pyle has never wavered in his support for Japan studies. For his many achievements and his commitment to increasing understanding of Japan, all the members of the Japan Studies Program congratulate Professor Kenneth B. Pyle on winning the 2008 Japan Foundation Award for Japanese Studies.


From the Chair

Next year (2009) marks the centennial of the founding of the Department of Oriental Subjects, by the remarkable Rev. Herbert H. Gowen, which today is the Jackson School of International Studies and also the Department of Asian Languages and Literature. Also 100 years ago, the commitment of Seattle, and indeed that of Washington State, to make a bridge across the Pacific was brilliantly marked by the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. The bridge to Japan in particular has been a strong one, and we are proud of the long history of learning about, and engaging with, Japan here at the University of Washington.

Much has changed in the last century, but the strength of Japan Studies at the University of Washington has stayed constant. While we have continued to grow many facets of our program, at our core remains the excellence of our students, our vital connections to the community, and the powerful research of our faculty. You don’t have to take my word for it, however. One of our faculty members recently received a very high testimonial from no less a personage than the Emperor of Japan. In early October 2008, Ken Pyle was honored with the Japan Foundation Award for Japanese Studies for his exemplary contributions to the field and a lifetime of achievement. We thank you, alumni, supporters, and friends of the Japan Studies Program, for being a part of this legacy, and we eagerly look forward to the next 100 years of working together.

Robert Pekkanen, Chair, Japan Studies Program.


Student News

Internships in Japan

In addition to the many Japan Studies Program students engaged in language study and travel abroad this year, two students participated in government internships in Japan. Jessica Leithem, BAIS candidate Japan Studies 2010, interned for the Government of Japan during the spring, and Rebekah Harmon, MAIS candidate Japan Studies 2008, for the U.S. State Department during the summer. Support by Japan Studies was made possible with a generous gift from an anonymous alumnus.

Concurrent with her intensive language study at Waseda University, Tokyo, Leithem became the first participant in an internship program created by Diet member and UW School of Law alumnus Takashi Shinohara (JD ’78) and Japan Studies Chair Robert Pekkanen. Shinohara is a Democratic Party of Japan representative from Nagano Prefecture. His membership in various Diet committees, including the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Special Committee on Political Ethics and Election Law, offers student interns the chance to observe the inner workings of the Diet. Leithem attended policy meetings on topics ranging from the recent events in Tibet to voting rights for special permanent residents in Japan.

As an intern in Shinohara’s office, Leithem was able to apply her Japanese language skills and knowledge of Japanese politics in a challenging, dynamic environment. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sitting in a plenary session of the House of Representatives was amazing,” reflected Leithem.

Rebekah Harmon likewise had a fulfilling experience working on the other side of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Interning in the Cultural Affairs division of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Harmon met foreign dignitaries and connected with the Japanese community through outreach activities such as presentations and workshops. Harmon represented the embassy as a liaison; she addressed students at high school conventions, designed a department web site, prepared cultural programming proposals, and compiled a report on the Japanese judicial system for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer when he visited Tokyo.

With an eye toward current events, Harmon made contributions to program development. “My most fulfilling work was adding a Native American speaker program to the agenda. In September 2007, the United Nations passed a Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was supported by the Japanese delegation. Considering the increased awareness of indigenous peoples around the world, I felt it was important to provide programming that highlights the Native American population,” Harmon added.

The experiences of Leithem and Harmon demonstrate how the dedication of University of Washington alumni and
the motivation of students combine to produce unique opportunities for Japan Studies students to work and live in Japan. Internships such as these, through both individuals and organizations, provide a bridge between the academic and the professional worlds and afford the chance to put learning into action.


Student Awards

Rebekah Harmon, MAIS Candidate Japan Studies 2008 – Anonymous Donor Internship Award. Harmon was awarded an internship from the Department of State to work in the Cultural Affairs Division of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in summer 2008.

Cindy Huang, MA Candidate Art History 2009 – Blakemore Foundation Scholarship to participate in Exploration Seminar: Japanese Buddhist Temples, Past and Present led by UW Professor Cynthea Bogel in Kyoto, Japan, in summer 2008.

Samuel Lederer, MAIS Candidate Japan Studies 2010 – FLAS Fellowship 2008-2009.

Jessica Leithem, BA Candidate Japan Studies 2009 – George M. Beckmann Memorial Scholarship, Ayako Betty Murakami Scholarship, Anonymous Donor Internship Award. Leithem’s internship was with Representative Takashi Shinohara of the Democratic Party of Japan in spring 2008.

Raeanna Kaylin Pierce Mason, BA Japanese 2008 – Henry S. Tatsumi Scholarship 2007-2008.

Catherine Roche, PhD Candidate Art History – Blakemore Foundation Internship in Japanese and Korean Art, Seattle Art Museum, 2008-2009.

Holly Strasser, MA Candidate Art History 2010 – Blakemore Foundation Scholarship to participate in Exploration Seminar: Japanese Buddhist Temples, Past and Present led by UW Professor Cynthea Bogel in Kyoto, Japan, in summer 2008.

Ryan Zielonka, MAIS Candidate Japan Studies 2009 – Tamaki Grant in Japan Studies. Anonymous Donor Internship Award, Eleanor Hadley Scholarship, FLAS Fellow, Zielonka attended Waseda University’s Intensive Japanese Language Program in summer 2008.

Doctoral Candidates: 

Robert Hoppens, PhD Candidate History plans to defend his thesis, “Japanese Nationalism and
Sino-Japanese Relations 1971-1979” in spring 2009. 

Hiro Sasada, PhD Candidate Political Science, successfully defended his dissertation in September 2008. His thesis was titled “Institutions, Interests, and Ideas: The Evolution of Developmental State Systems in Manchuria, Wartime Japan, and Postwar Japan.”

Michael Strausz, PhD Political Science 2007, joined Texas Christian University as assistant professor.

Emi Tamaki, PhD Candidate Sociology


Faculty News

Marie Anchordoguy delivered a talk about Japan’s model of economic development at a conference on “Beyond Borders: Asia on the World Stage” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2008.  She also published an article titled “Alfred Chandler and Business History in Japan,” in Business History Review (Summer 2008).

Andrea Arai is co-authoring a forthcoming book with UW Anthropology Professor Ann Anagnost titled “Global Futures in East Asia.” The book explores the effects of globalization and how a loss of certainty about personal and national futures plays out in the arenas of education, labor, militarization, and technology in East Asia. In February 2008, she delivered a lecture titled “Disciplining Hearts and Minds: The Local and Global Contexts of Patriotism and Militarization in Post-Recessionary Japan” at Stanford Univerity.

Paul Atkins published an article titled “Chigo in the Medieval Japanese Imagination” in The Journal of Asian Studies (August 2008). Employing historical records and fictional narratives, the article examines the depiction of chigo, adolescent boys attached to Buddhist temples and aristocratic houses whose subsistence was provided in exchange for personal services.  He also presented a paper at the conference “Gatherings Beneath the Dai: Seasonal Topics in Hyakushu and Utaawase,” held at Columbia University in March 2008. 

Cynthea Bogel is on sabbatical Autumn Quarter, conducting research in Kyoto and Seattle. She is writing a book on Edo-period woodblock prints (ukiyoe) with support from the Japan Endowment and the Northeast Asian Council of the Association for Asian Studies. In September, she led the UW Exploration Seminar “Japanese Buddhist Temples: Past and Present” with 15 UW students; they studied temples, icons, and Buddhism in Kyoto, Nara, and on Mt. Koya. 

Ted Mack’s article “Pure Art as Mass Culture: Industrialized Publishing and ‘Modern Japanese Literature’” was published in Books in Numbers (Harvard-Yenching Library, 2007). Mack also gave a lecture titled “Para-colonial Literature: Japanese-Language Literature in Brazil” at Stanford University in March 2008.

Amy Snyder Ohta co-edited the book Japanese Applied Linguistics: Discourse and Social Perspectives (Continuum, 2008), in which she authored a chapter titled “Laughter and Second Language Acquisition: A Study of Japanese Foreign Language Classes.” She delivered the keynote address at the annual conference of the Washington Association of Teachers of Japanese in Shoreline on February 9, 2008.

Ken Tadashi Oshima is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for Autumn 2008. His recent publications include “Postulating the Potential of Prefab: The Case of Japan,” in Home Delivery (Museum of Modern Art, 2008), and “Beyond Borders: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA,” in conjunction with the November 2007 – March 2008 exhibition he curated at the UW’s Henry Art Gallery. His recent lectures include: “19th Century Design Trajectories: England, America, and Japan” at the Words for Design International Conference, in Norwich, England (July 2008); “Dynamics of Domesticity,” at UCLA (May 2008); and “Tokyo Trajectories,” at the University of British Columbia (March 2008).

Kenneth Pyle delivered the keynote address in March 2008 in Tokyo at a convocation marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States.

Robert Pekkanen received the 2007 Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize for his book Japan’s Dual Civil Society (Stanford University Press, 2006). This autumn, he went on a U.S. State Department-sponsored lecture tour of U.S. consulates in Japan. 

Saadia Pekkanen’s book, Japan’s Aggressive Legalism: Law and Foreign Trade Politics Beyond the WTO, was published by Stanford University Press in March 2008. Her book explores how law has interacted with concrete interests to transform Japan’s foreign trade politics and create an aggressive legalism that is active on a global scale.

David Spafford completed a forthcoming article titled “An Apology of Betrayal: Political and Narrative Strategies in a Late Medieval Memoir.” Spafford presented a paper “Literary Irony and Non-Literary Personas in Late Medieval Japan” at the annual MLA conference held in Chicago in December 2007. He is currently at work on his first book, a still-untitled rewriting of his dissertation, “War and Territorial Imagination in Late Medieval Japan.” He is also involved in the organization of a workshop on “Japan’s Long Sixteenth Century,” to be held at the University of Southern California in December.  

Veronica Taylor was Visiting Professor at the Center for Asian Legal Exchange (CALE) at Nagoya University and Visiting Researcher at the University of Tokyo during 2007 – 2008. She also presented lectures at Kobe, Nagoya, and Waseda Universities. She currently serves as chair of the Japan Foundation American Advisory Committee.

Michio Tsutsui co-authored A Dictionary of Advanced Grammar (The Japan Times, 2008). This is the third installment of the highly acclaimed Japanese grammar dictionary series that he co-wrote with Seiichi Makino.


Program Highlights

Alumni Highlight – Theresa Mudrock

Earlier this year, Theresa Mudrock, MA Japan Studies 1987, history librarian in the Reference and Research Services Division of UW Libraries, received the first-ever UW Distinguished Librarian Award. The award recognizes Ms. Mudrock for her exhibit, Interrupted Lives, which brought to light the experiences of many of the 449 UW Japanese American students forced to leave the university during 1941-42. The U.S. government considered them, along with all Japanese Americans, a security threat after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and they were forced into relocation camps away from the West Coast.

Mudrock’s research began in 1996 as a historical web site on the Camp Harmony, “assembly center.” Demonstrating the new capabilities of research via the Internet, her project was recognized as one of the early “Yahoo Sites of the Week.” As a UW alumna, she wondered what part the university was playing at the time of the relocations. She discovered through research of unique materials held at UW libraries that administration and faculty led efforts assisted students caught in the relocation. By raising funds, testifying before congress, writing editorials for local papers, and joining the American Friends Organization, the university community helped move many students to other universities so that they could finish their degrees. A UW assistant dean was given special military leave to help direct the effort.

In addition to researching records, photos, and correspondence there was translation and transcribing. “At that time, it was pre-PDF technology, so I had to transcribe much of the documentation” not just translate it, explains Mudrock.

Mudrock’s years of research gained notice. The Columns magazine of the UW Alumni Association and other publications began highlighting the history of the internment and the UW Japanese American students. Volunteers, particularly from the Nikkei Alumni Association, joined forces to ascertain the current whereabouts of students. Through interviews, surveys, and questionnaires, two-thirds of the relocated students were found.

In 2007, Mudrock’s research spurred UW’s Board of Regents to pass a resolution granting honorary degrees to students affected by the relocation, and on May 18, 2008 it culminated in a graduation ceremony for surviving students, and family members of those students who had passed away. Mudrock acknowledged, “We’re still finding people due to the publicity [of the ceremony]. What surprised me were the students’ enthusiasm, the excitement and community effort. In a way it paralleled the activities and enthusiasm in 1942 on campus and in the community.”

Looking back at the journey from Japan Studies through Library Science Mudrock expressed appreciation of her professors for being good mentors and admitted that “You don’t always know where your degree will lead.”


Donor Highlight: Beckmann Slides

Janet Beckmann, former UW dean of Nursing and energetic supporter of life long learning, has graciously donated a sizable collection of slides from Japan to the Japan Studies Program. The collection contains images collected and used by her late husband, George Beckmann, during his tenure as a professor of East Asian studies at the UW.

Most slides are photos taken by G. Beckmann himself and include art work, Buddhist sculpture, architecture, and cultural artifacts. Many of the photos could not be taken today due to restrictions by museums. Slides will be reviewed and digitized for archival purposes. We are grateful to Janet for this gift as part of the legacy George has left the university, not only as a professor and director of what is now the Jackson School of International Studies, but also as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and UW provost.


East Asia Resource Center Japan Programs

The mission of the East Asia Resource Center is to help American K-12 teachers learn and teach about East Asia. Programs about Japan in 2008 included a new summer quarter course co-sponsored by Japan Studies and the EARC. Teachers joined undergraduates in a course about 20th century Japan and then attended additional sessions addressing ways to use that information in their own classrooms.

Teachers were privileged to have two opportunities to participate in EARC study tours to Japan this year. One tour marked the 45th anniversary of the Washington-Hyogo sister-state relationship. Fourteen American teachers spent three weeks in Japan, including an official visit to Hyogo, on a program established in 1992 by the EARC and the Hyogo Business and Cultural Association. Among the highlights was a seminar in Tokyo with Japan Program Chair Robert Pekkanen.

The second 2008 study tour was designed for alumni of National Consortium for Teaching about Asia seminars. Since co-founding NCTA in 1998, the EARC has provided these 30-hour seminars to 1305 teachers from six Northwest states. The 2008 tour took sixteen teachers to Japan and Korea for three weeks. Both study tours were made possible by generous funding from the Freeman Foundation. Learn more about the EARC at jsis.washington.edu/earc.