UW Japan Studies Newsletters

Autumn 2013 Newsletter


As always, it is exciting to be studying Japan. Abe Shinzo became prime minister once again (he was also prime minister 2006–7) in December 2012 and has embarked on a series of economic policies called Abenomics, which have lifted the Japanese stock market and growth rates and wea

kened the yen. He has promised much structural reform, and the long-term success of Abenomics will likely depend on these reforms. Abe is also tilting Japan toward revising the interpretation of the constitution and slowly toward actually changing the constitution for the first time since it was enacted in 1947 during the U.S. Occupation. Abe’s party, the Liberal Democratic Party, won both the Lower House in December 2012 and the Upper House in July 2013. The next Upper House election will be in July 2016, and Abe does not need to call a Lower House election until late 2016; this thus gives him a good three years with control of both houses, a period when he should be able to push through important policies.

Other stresses continue on Japan, such as conflict between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands and the problem of radioactive liquid from the Fukushima nuclear power plant leaking into the Pacific Ocean. Japan has joined the Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks and this is putting pressure on the agricultural sector. With all its nuclear plants shut down as of October 2013, energy policy issues loom large. Japan continues to grapple with a declining and aging population, problems related to lifetime employment commitments for people hired before the early 1990s, and the shortage of good employment opportunities for those who joined the work force since the late 1990s.

Recent events in the UW Japan Studies Program are outlined in this newsletter. We are especially honored to have received a major grant from the Mitsubishi Corporation to fund three prominent speakers this academic year. Professors Motoshige Itoh of the University of Tokyo and Shinichi Kitaoka of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies have already accepted our invitation to speak during winter quarter, and the third event in the Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series is being planned for spring quarter. We enjoyed hosting many speakers during autumn quarter and look forward to more UW Japan events in 2014. Of special significance this autumn was the Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture delivered by UW Professor Kenneth Pyle, who spoke on “Hiroshima and Historians.” This year we are celebrating Pyle’s 50th year of teaching at the University of Washington. And The Journal of Japanese Studies, which was founded by Pyle and other UW Japan faculty in 1974 and remains based at the University of Washington, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The Japan Studies Program also sponsored a half-day Business Roundtable, “Japan Update: Business Opportunities for 2013 and Beyond,” with keynote talks by Professor Koichi Hamada, Tuntex Professor Emeritus of Economics, Yale University, and Economic Advisor to Prime Minister Abe; and Dr. Joseph A. Massey, chairman, Global Reach (US) Inc., former assistant U.S. trade representative for Japan and China, and professor emeritus of international business, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

With one of the oldest and strongest Japan Studies Programs in the country, the University of Washington is committed to in-depth research, teaching, and outreach on these issues and all aspects of Japan.


Marie Anchordoguy, professor, Jackson School, was chair, session organizer, and panelist for a “Roundtable to Honor and Discuss the Ideas of Chalmers Johnson and His Impact on the Field of East Asian Studies” at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting in San Diego in March 2013. She spoke at the Asia Business Forum in Seattle in January, at the Association of Japanese Business Studies/Association for International Business conference in Istanbul in July, at the Inter-University Center’s 50th anniversary symposium in Palo Alto in September, at a workshop called “Japan Update: Business Opportunities for 2014 and Beyond” sponsored by the UW Japan Studies Program, the UW Foster School of Business, the Japan Business Association, and the Japan-America Society in October, and was the keynote speaker for a day-long event at Hitachi’s Institute for Management Development in Tokyo in December. She continues to chair the Japan Studies Program and to be coeditor of The Journal of Japanese Studies.

Andrea Arai, lecturer, Jackson School, received an East Asia Center Course Development Grant for a new graduate seminar on Japan and Korea, titled “Spaces of Possibility,” which she will coteach in winter quarter 2014. Arai is continuing her research project on this theme with fieldwork in Seoul and Tokyo through a NEAC Short-Term Research Travel Grant. She organized a panel and presented her own paper on “Urban Sustainability and Back-to-the-Land Movements in Japan” at the 2013 Association for Asian Studies annual meeting in San Diego. Her book manuscript, “Recessionary Effects: The Child Problem, Reconfiguring Education, and Alternative Futures in Japan,” is under review for publication.

Paul Atkins, associate professor, Asian Languages and Literature, received a 2013 summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete his second book, a study of the medieval Japanese poet Fujiwara no Teika. He has been revising the manuscript for publication this fall thanks to a teaching release and travel grant provided by the UW Royalty Research Fund.

Davinder L. Bhowmik, associate professor, Asian Languages and Literature, is coeditor of a forthcoming volume titled Islands of Resistance: Japanese Literature from Okinawa (University of Hawai‘i Press).

Ted Mack, associate professor, Asian Languages and Literature, was selected to be a long-term Visiting Research Scholar at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto and received a Japan Foundation Fellowship for Scholars and Researchers. He has been in residence at the center since March 2013 and has been writing a manuscript on the Japanese-language literature of Brazil and editing the reproduction of Japanese-language textbooks produced in California between 1924 and 1939. Those 16 volumes should come out in late 2013 or early 2014 from Bunsei Shoin.

Amy Snyder Ohta, associate professor, Asian Languages and Literature, presented papers in 2013 at the Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese and at the Second Language Research Forum annual conference. She recently published “Sociocultural Theory, the Zone of Proximal Development, and Second Language Development,” in Julia Herschensohn, ed., The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Ohta continues to organize alumni talks for students and would like to hear from alums interested and available to give a talk or meet informally on campus with students.

Ken Tadashi Oshima, associate professor, Architecture, over the last 16 months has published a bilingual (English/Japanese) book and seven essays. Four more peer-reviewed essays are forthcoming, along with a coedited book titled Architecturalized Asia. He has delivered 11 public lectures in the United States, Europe, and Japan; organized three symposia; and curated the major exhibition “Tectonic Visions Between Land and Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake” at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. At the University of Washington, Oshima has focused on engaging global currents in contemporary architectural and urban practice with the curriculum and the UW/Seattle community. His recent courses and studios such as Now Urbanism, Metabolic Seattle, and Japan Studio 2013 connect Seattle urbanism with both Asia and Europe and his research.

 Robert Pekkanen, associate professor, Jackson School, is coeditor of Japan Decides 2012: The Japanese General Election (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), the first volume in a planned series (one volume after each House of Representatives election). Also in 2013, he was coauthor of several articles: “When Do Interest Groups Contact Bureaucrats Rather than Politicians?” Japanese Journal of Political Science; “The Interview Methods Appendix,” in Layna Mosley, ed., Interview Methods in Political Science (Cornell University Press); and “Building a Party: Candidate Recruitment in the Democratic Party of Japan, 1996–2012,” in Kenji E. Kushida and Phillip Y. Lipscy, eds., Japan Under the DPJ: The Politics of Transition and Governance (Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Center).

Saadia M. Pekkanen, Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor, has a forthcoming edited volume entitled The Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (Oxford University Press) and is finishing up a volume entitled Asian Designs: Rising Powers and the Shape of International Governance.

 Michio Tsutsui, Donald E. Peterson Professor and director of the Technical Japanese Program, is coeditor of the recently published New Perspectives on Japanese Language Learning and Linguistics: The Classroom and Beyond (National Foreign Language Resource Center, 2013), a compilation of selected essays presented at the Association of Teachers of Japanese annual conference in 2011.



The 2012-13 Way Lecture on May 13 featured Michiyo Morioka, whose talk was titled “Paper Bullets: Frances Blakemore’s War Propaganda Leaflets against Japan 1944–45.” Blakemore was a UW graduate, long-time resident of Japan, and member of the Civil Information and Education Section of the General Headquarters led by General Douglas MacArthur. Morioka explored the leaflets designed by Blakemore and their effect on the Japanese toward the end of the war. She is an art historian based in Seattle and received her PhD from the University of Washington.

Kenneth B. Pyle presented the 2013–14 Way Lecture on November 18 and spoke on “Hiroshima and the Historians.” His discussion probed the continuing controversy among historians on the decision to use the atomic bomb. Pyle is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of History and Asian Studies and has explored this subject in a graduate seminar he’s offered over the last two decades.


Azusa Tanaka has joined the East Asia Library of the University of Washington in Seattle as the Japan Studies Librarian. Tanaka received her MLS degree from Syracuse University in 2008 and her MA in Korean Studies from the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies in 2005. She previously served as the Japanese catalog/subject librarian at the East Asia Library of Washington University in St. Louis; she is actively involved in the National Coordinating Committee for Japanese Library Materials and the Council on East Asian Libraries committees. The combination of her library experiences in Japanese cataloging, reference and library instruction services, and collection development, as well as her subject training in other areas of East Asian Studies, will enable her to make significant contributions to the UW East Asia Library and the university community.

Tanaka says her main goal is to support users’ learning, teaching, and research by collection development, reference services, and instruction sessions. She looks forward to meeting as many users as possible and getting to know their needs.


The Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas at the Seattle Art Museum brought a variety of scholars to Seattle for the autumn 2013 Saturday University Lecture Series titled “Empires that Changed Asia.” As part of their visits, two of the Japan scholars in this series also gave talks at the University of Washington: Mary Elizabeth Berry’s presentation on November 15 was titled “Educating the Material Girl in Edo-Period Japan,” and Louise Young’s talk on December 6 was about her new book, Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan (University of California Press). Two more participants in the SAM series will be on campus in early 2014: Tom Hare will speak on February 28, and Michiko Suzuki will give a presentation on April 11. The Japan Studies Program is grateful for generous support from SAM for these visitors to campus.


Students in Andrea Arai’s class on “Media and Popular Culture in Japan” got an early start on the subject in spring 2013. Through special arrangements with event organizers, students were able to participate in Sakura-con, the biggest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest. The students’ experience began with a pre-observation meeting to discuss things to look for, how to pay careful attention, taking notes, starting conversations, what questions to ask, and how to continue conversations. The class split into small groups for observation and interviewing, and met again several hours later to share experiences and conversations. Following the event, students reviewed their impressions and wrote up their “field notes” to post on the class discussion forum. The observations were used as examples for the course’s final ethnographic project.

Plans for the 2014 convention include a panel participation by UW students, with presentation of student papers and discussion of their research. In turn, convention organizers will be invited to speak in class. Arai will expand coursework beyond the Sakura-con project to include fieldwork from Shin Okubo (the new pop culture Korea town near Shinjuku) to examine cross-national cultural spaces. This project aims to add an anthropological lens to writing and thinking about how Japanese media and popular culture is imagined, exhibited, and participated in, outside Japan.


Keijiro Suga of Meiji University, Tokyo, will join with UW faculty Davinder Bhowmik and Ted Mack to teach a graduate seminar at UW in spring quarter 2014. Suga is a professor in the graduate program of Digital Content Studies and is author of many books, including Columbusʼ Dog (1989), The Moon When the Wolves Run Together (2012), Coyote Reading (2003), Omniphone (2005), Honolulu, braS/Zil (2006) AgendʼArs (2010), The Water of the Island, the Fire of the Island (2011), and The Rain that Falls on the Sea (2012). He received the Yomiuri Prize for Literature in 2011 for his travel essay Transversal Journeys (2009), and he has translated several works of fiction, including Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.


The Asian Law Center in the UW School of Law celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012–13 with a series of conferences and lectures. From its beginnings with just one faculty member, the center has grown to become an international hub of legal thinking, with multiple generations of graduates serving as leaders in business, government, and academia. Dongsheng Zang, associate professor of law, was recently appointed as center director, and the center launched a new Asian Law Lecture Series in autumn 2013. (Japan-related events in the center are listed on the Japan Studies website.)



Left to right: Senior Consul Tomoko Dodo, of the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle; Shinichiro Kawazoe, vice president of Mitsubishi Corporation Americas; and Marie Anchordoguy, professor and chair of the UW Japan Studies Program.

 The Japan Studies Program is excited to announce a generous gift of $62,500 from the Mitsubishi Corporation. The gift will support the new Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series and will allow the program to bring internationally renowned experts from Japan to the University of Washington for three public events.


Seattle branch general manager of the Mitsubishi Corporation Americas (MCA) Shinichiro Kawazoe expressed “the pleasure of the Mitsubishi Corporation and the MCA Seattle Branch to keep the partnership with the UW through this program as it strengthens the relationship between Japan and the local community. This program will deepen the understanding of the Japan-U.S. relationship among both people on campus and in the local community. We are proud that our cooperation with the Japan Studies Program at the UW will contribute to the community of Seattle and the State of Washington.” This gift is part of a Mitsubishi Corporation program to contribute to the social, economic, and/or cultural development of each country or region that receives support. The Japan Studies Program was one of two recipients in 2013.

At the gift ceremony on October 7, Senior Consul Tomoko Dodo of the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle commented that “the Consulate General of Japan welcomes and appreciates the initiative taken by the Mitsubishi Corporation, in collaboration with the UW Jackson School of International Studies, to bring the Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series, a program of great significance and magnitude, to the Pacific Northwest community.” The Japan Studies Program is grateful for the opportunity to continue working with the Mitsubishi Corporation, which also provided scholarships for JSIS Japan Studies undergraduate and graduate students in 2011 and again in 2012.

Speakers in the Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series will be invited from diverse fields of interest, such as economics, history, and political science. Motoshige Itoh, a professor at the Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo, and president of the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA), will discuss “Abenomics” on February 27, 2014, at 7:00 PM. Shinichi Kitaoka, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, will talk about Japan’s constitutional revision issues and the rise of China on January 16, also at 7:00 PM. The complete schedule of speakers will be announced later this year on the Japan Studies Program events web page. All series lectures will be free and open to the public.