UW Japan Studies Newsletters

Autumn 2019 Newsletter

Table of Contents

I. Beyond UW Seattle

II. From the Co-Chairs

III. Program Highlights

IV. Faculty Highlights

V. Alumni and Student Highlights

Beyond UW Seattle

Image courtesy of Erisa Steckler, JSIS Japan Studies graduate student

From international conferences to classrooms, and from bookstores to boardrooms, Japan faculty engage others in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. While the UW Japan Studies Program is based on the Seattle campus, our faculty conduct research and teach across the globe. Here are some highlights from the last year.

Mark Metzler was invited to teach in summer 2019 at Waseda University in Tokyo. His regular courses at the UW include Japanese History in Ecological Perspective, History of Modern Japan, and this year a course on the History of Capitalism in the Long Run. This is his second year teaching a summer master’s course in Global Economic History at the Faculty of Political Science and Economics of Waseda. The topic this year was the history of financial crises. Waseda and the University of Washington have a robust set of exchanges, with many Waseda students and faculty also participating at UW each year.

During autumn quarter, Ken Tadashi Oshima is teaching an advanced Architectural Studio at the UW Rome Center in Italy. The Rome Center offers students from many UW schools and programs an opportunity to participate in study abroad while earning UW credit and learning from UW faculty. In winter quarter Marie Anchordoguy will be at the Rome Center to team teach a Task Force for International Studies majors in the Jackson School. In addition, she will teach International Political Economy to UW students in Rome.

Robert Pekkanen is also leading a Task Force, but on the UW Seattle campus. Task Force is the capstone team project for seniors majoring in International Studies. These small-group seminars address current problems in international affairs, typically focusing on a specific policy question and producing a joint Task Force report.  Pekkanen’s Task Force will focus on Japan.  Read more about the Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program at https://jsis.washington.edu/task-force.

Extending beyond Japan Studies, Saadia Pekkanen, who regularly teaches courses on the national security of Japan, is helping to develop the UW Qualitative Multi-Method Research (QUAL) program and teaching a course in winter quarter entitled Data Ethnography and Qualitative Methods. You can read more about the QUAL program at jsis.washington.edu/programs/qual.

Saadia Pekkanen is also co-founder of the UW Space Policy and Research Center (SPARC), an interdisciplinary project between the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and UW’s Boeing Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, bringing together STEM and law & regional policy students and academics. SPARC’s first annual symposium will be in December 2019. Read more about SPARC at sparc.uw.edu.

Paul Atkins, professor and chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, continues to bring classical Japanese to a broad audience. He gave six public lectures this year on topics ranging from medieval Japanese poetry to the meaning behind the new imperial reign name, Reiwa.

In addition to teaching and conducting field research in other parts of the world, Japan Studies faculty are involved in conferences, symposia, public lectures and panel presentations, special exhibit curation, and projects which connect them to other parts of the UW as well as educational and other institutions around the world.  These activities extend and deepen collaborative relationships, broaden learning opportunities for many more people, and keep our faculty at the forefront of research and teaching. Read more in the Faculty Highlights section of this newsletter.

From the Co-Chairs

Japan Studies at the University of Washington continues to thrive as a university-wide, interdisciplinary research and teaching collaboration to promote a deeper understanding of Japan and Japanese within a global context. Its strategic position on the Pacific Rim supports important partnerships, locally, regionally, and internationally. It is our great privilege to bring together a tremendous group of faculty and students as we work with friends and colleagues near and far during the 2019–20 academic year.

As featured in this newsletter, we celebrate the honor of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon bestowed upon our senior faculty member Donald C. Hellmann by the Japanese government. A reception in his honor will be hosted by Consul General Yoichiro Yamada on December 12, 2019.

We warmly welcome several affiliate faculty members new to our program this year: Professors James Dobbins (Oberlin, Religion), Suzanne Gay (Oberlin, History), Jennifer Robertson (Michigan, Anthropology), and Jay Rubin (Harvard, Literature). Each is an expert in the field of Japan Studies and continues in retirement to pursue research in their respective discipline. We look forward to the participation of these scholars in our program activities.

Our students endeavor to deepen their educations in a variety of ways. AL&L PhD students Nathaniel Bond, Christopher J. Lowy, Ross Henderson, and Nobuko Horikawa are teaching solo courses in their academic fields while completing degree requirements. Juan Filipe Arroyave (Spanish & Portuguese), and Amanda Schiano di Cola (AL&L), and also alum Dylan Plung (JSIS MA 2019), are developing their Japanese language skills at the Inter-University Center (IUC) for Japanese Language Studies, a 10-month program administered by Stanford University and located in Yokohama. Aaron Steele (AL&L) and Fatuma Muhamed (AL&L) completed the IUC program in June and will finish their MA degrees this year. Students regularly take part in graduate student leadership, organize symposia, attend conferences and workshops, and mentor fellow students.

The 2019–20 year is filled with a broad range of talks, book launches, and symposia. Two talks in mid-January 2020 by University of Tokyo professor Shunya Yoshimi, noted as one of the most influential cultural sociologists in Japan, bring together the fields of cultural studies, media studies, and urban sociology. We are also pleased to co-sponsor with the Seattle Asian Art Museum talks by Professors Yukio Lippit (Harvard, Art & Architecture) and David Howell (Harvard, History). For a full listing of current and upcoming events, please look on line at:  https://jsis.washington.edu/japan/events.

The Japan Studies Program builds on its legacy as one of the oldest in the country through innovative research, teaching, and outreach while looking toward future possibilities of both the program and Japan itself.

To support our program and ensure that excellence in teaching, research, and student scholarship continues into the future, please consider a gift to the program or one of our many scholarship funds. Contact Ellen Eskenazi, associate director, for more information, or visit our website https://jsis.washington.edu/japan/giving.

— Ken Tadashi Oshima and Davinder Bhowmik

Program Highlights

Mixed Race and Ethnicity

In February, a panel discussion focused on ethnic identities in Japan and the United States, including historical forms of exclusion and interests in present efforts in Japan and the U.S. to create awareness and inclusiveness of people related to ethnicity, gender, and gender identities. The event was held in conjunction with a new course developed by Andrea Gevurtz Arai, a UW lecturer and cultural anthropologist of Japan and East Asia. The course, Mixed Race and Ethnicity in Japan, explored contemporary mixed-race identities and experiences in Japan and the U.S. “Identity and identities are names we give to complex processes of being identified by others and finding ways to identify, most often within pre-established parameters of national, racial, and ethnic frameworks. Classroom and interpersonal goals of the course included building awareness, valuing experience, and creating sensitive and constructive conversations,” Arai explains. Students carried out small-group ethnographic research projects around themes of race, social power and privilege, anti- miscegenation laws in the U.S. and Japan, and changing comparative ideals of beauty.

Moderated by Arai, the panel included Makiko Deguchi (Sophia University, Tokyo), who teaches on cultural psychology with a focus on racial and minority issues and privilege awareness; Ayako Takamori (University of California, Santa Barbara), an anthropologist whose work explores comparative race and ethnicity, multiculturalism, and gender and sexuality; and Jang Wook Huh of UW American Ethnic Studies.

Students gave very positive feedback, particularly for the opportunity to engage with academics whose work was part of the course. They liked the diversity of the panel but were concerned that the audience might not understand the importance of bringing ethnic studies together with international studies. Arai responded, “This very point was one of the intended goals of the project: to help forge cross-disciplinary research. . . to offer a space in which to explore these issues and feel empowered to seek further knowledge and interactions that help us to understand how to move beyond discrimination to a more inclusive society.”

Arai taught a related course, Global Mixed Race, during spring quarter at the invitation of the UW Honors Program as a direct outcome of the project and Arai’s efforts to teach emergent curriculum. Special thanks to the Mitsubishi Corporation for a generous gift which made possible both the course development and the panel discussion.

New Support for Students

Since 1995, Richard Kitto (JD 1977, MA in Japanese Language and Literature 1977) and Christine Kitto (BA in Japanese, BA in East Asian Studies 1977) have supported students at the UW through annual giving. The Kittos have established the Christine and Richard Kitto Endowed Fund for Japanese Studies, which will support students for many years to come. In their words, “We have been committed to the Japan Studies Program since our graduation from the undergraduate and graduate programs in 1977. Our abiding interest in Japan and our appreciation of the outstanding education we received from the University of Washington are the foundational reasons for this endowed fund. In the 1970s, the UW was very welcoming to military veterans at a time when many other academic institutions were not, something we both appreciated for many years. We hope that future students who benefit from the fund will have the engaging experience studying Japan as we did.”

Washin Kai was also established this year with the purpose of raising funds for classical Japanese events and for student support. The 2019 Washin Kai – Japan Foundation Graduate Fellowship was awarded to Ross Henderson, PhD candidate in Japanese Literature and Culture. This generous award allows the graduate student recipient to focus on academic research without teaching obligations for one year. Ross is using his fellowship year to continue writing his dissertation, pursue publications, and plan a research trip to Japan. Learn more about supporting Washin Kai at http://asian.washington.edu/washin-kai-friends-classical-japanese.

All program scholarship funds accept gifts. Help our students by giving to a Japan program fund today. Learn more at http://jsis.washington.edu/japan/give.

Rob Britt Retirement, UW Law Library

Congratulations to Rob Britt (JSIS Japan Studies MA 1987), who retired in September 2019 from his position as Coordinator of East Asian Library Services in the University of Washington’s Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library after 32 years of service.

The East Asian law collection at UW has its roots in the 1930s and has grown into one of the finest in the United States, if not the world.  Many resources, including full-text decisions and statutes, are shared through the library’s website to provide worldwide access to East Asian law.  With increasing interest in comparative legal studies during his tenure and particularly in understanding of East Asian legal systems, Britt developed an up-to-date collection of materials about those systems that is a rare resource among U.S. libraries.  His expertise has been indispensable for the work of many scholars of Japan and Japanese law.

The UW’s important print and online collection is, writes Jody Chafee (JSIS Japan Studies MA 1988), “partly the result of careful acquisitions and constant evaluation of and subscription to digital and other online resources.”  Chafee, director and expert counsel in Law and Corporate Affairs at Starbucks Company, notes that the University of Washington collection is set apart by the efforts Britt has exerted “to organize these materials and make them accessible to students, faculty, and other researchers who may or may not be able to understand the original language of these materials.”

Citing budgetary constraints, the Law School has eliminated Britt’s position and, because he was its only staff member, the East Asian Law Department will no longer exist in its current form.

Faculty Highlights

Marie Anchordoguy continued her research on Japan’s efforts to create a strong start-up ecosystem to encourage the development of more new and sustainable venture capital-backed firms, which could provide many new jobs. She was invited to speak about her research at the Abe Global Forum, organized by the Social Science Research Council and the Japanese government’s Center for Global Partnership. She also gave a talk on her research at the Association for Japanese Business conference held in Copenhagen in June 2019. Anchordoguy has received the George Long Endowed Professorship for 2018–2020. She created a new graduate seminar on Asian Financial Systems, which she taught in spring 2019.

Andrea Gevurtz Arai developed and taught two new courses this year. Mixed Race and Ethnicity in Japan and the U.S. was offered in conjunction with an academic and public symposium “Mixed Race and the Challenges of Creating Inclusive Societies, Japan and U.S.” The second, an honors course, was D.I.Y. East Asia. She continues research in cross-national post-war Japan-Korea.

Paul Atkins, professor of Japanese and department chair, Asian Languages and Literature, gave six public lectures and talks this past year, sponsored by Washin Kai (Friends of Classical Japanese at UW). They included “Friend from a World Unseen: Fujiwara no Teika and Medieval Japanese Poetry” at UW in October 2018; “Making It New in Medieval Japanese Poetry” at the UW Converge worldwide alumni gathering in Tokyo in November 2018; “Traditions of Innovation in Medieval Japanese Culture” at Starbucks Center, Seattle, in May 2019; and “REIWA: Origins and Significance of the New Japanese Reign Name” at Japan Fair in Bellevue in June 2019.

Davinder Bhowmik hosted Professor Saeko Kimura (Tsuda University, Kodaira) in spring 2019, who joined her in a graduate seminar on post-3/11 Japanese literature. In May 2019 she presented a paper on the novel Kadena by contemporary author Natsuki Ikezawa at a workshop titled “From Local to Global in East Asia” at the University of Chicago. She also received a Society of Scholars Research Fellowship from the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities for 2019–20.

Donald C. Hellmann received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Government of Japan. The Jackson School has honored Hellmann for the founding of, and contribution to the success of, the Task Force program over many years, by naming the program after him.

Justin Jesty was awarded the 2019 Book Prize by the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present for his book Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan (Cornell, 2018). He also received the Ishibashi Foundation/Japan Foundation Fellowship for Research on Japanese Art to conduct research related to his second book project, which examines how art helps foster inclusion, diversity, sustainability, and social innovation as Japanese society continues to reorient to post-growth lifestyles and values.

Ken Tadashi Oshima’s recent accomplishments are highlighted by his co-curation of the major exhibition Japan in Architecture: Genealogies of Its Transformation at the Mori Museum (Tokyo, 2018) which had over 540,000 visitors and a full-length book publication; a featured essay on modern Japanese architecture in a new global architectural history textbook in Japanese; four major journal publications; and ten lectures on three continents. He was on sabbatical in 2018–19 for research and writing of a new book, Another Metabolism 1960–1975, with a four-month Japan Foundation senior research fellowship.

Robert Pekkanen in 2018-19 published his tenth book, Critical Readings on the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan (Brill, 2018), and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research.

Saadia Pekkanen published “Governing the New Space Race,” American Journal of International Law Unbound, Vol. 113 (2019), and “Limits to Maritime Power: The Politics of Controversy over Chinese Infrastructure Investment,” co-authored with Margaret Pearson (August 13, 2018), available at SSRN, ssrn.com/abstract=3285430.

Azusa Tanaka received tenure and the title Associate Librarian from the University of Washington. She was identified as an “Innovator” in her field in the 2019 Movers & Shakers awards of the Library Journal.


Donald Hellmann Honored

On November 3, 2019, the Government of Japan announced that Dr. Donald C. Hellmann, Professor Emeritus of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, in recognition of his contributions in promoting academic exchanges and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. His service began in 1967 when he came to the UW and served as chair of the Japan Program for his first six years. He served for two years beginning in 1970 as director of the institute that would become JSIS. In addition to teaching and mentoring over 2,000 UW students, he has raised funds for the UW Japan Studies Program from the Ford Foundation, which helped launch The Journal of Japanese Studies and expanded the number of faculty positions focused on Japan, and also from the Tanaka Fund in 1973 to support Japan Studies university-wide. His work has had far-reaching impacts in the U.S. and abroad – three of his books have been translated into Japanese – and with connections with political leaders he has served as policy advisor on Japan to the U.S. executive branch, Congress, and policy advisory organizations, and to many Asian governments. We congratulate Don on this well-deserved honor.

Alumni and Student Highlights

Chris Choi (MAIS/MBA 2019) has accepted the position of Consumer Marketing Manager at Philips Healthcare.

Matia Jaysura (MA 2017) has been accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and is now teaching in Okinawa.

Onur Kanan (MA 2017) participated at the 2019 Y20 Summit, which is a youth summit of G20 countries, in Tokyo, May 25–30. He is a Researcher with TRT World and a Speaker Coordinator for the TRT World Forum.

Christopher J. Lowy (MA 2014, doctoral student) published an article “When Big Ideas Don’t Match with a Small Everyday: The Intellectual Dark Web and Dog-whistle Politics,” Gendai shiso (June, 2019).

Dylan Plung (MA 2019) gave a presentation of his research entitled “Passive Resistance: The Voices of Japanese Evacuees in WWII Japan” as part of the panel “Crisis and Memory” at the 22nd Annual Harvard East Asia Society Conference in February. He is a recipient of a Blakemore Freeman Fellowship for study at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Japan.

Kennedy Simpson (MA 2019) received a Blakemore Freeman Internship and will work at the Seattle Art Museum this winter in the Japan collection.

Michael Strausz (MA 2001, PhD 2007) has published a new book, Help (Not) Wanted: Immigration Politics in Japan (SUNY Press, 2019), which shows how Japan’s immigration policy is shaped by the nature of Japan’s economy and elite debates about the country’s national identity.

Monica Twork (MA 2019) accepted a position at Highline College Library in Des Moines, WA, and will present her research entitled “American Windows for Crown Prince Akihito: Elizabeth Gray Vining in Occupation Japan” as part of Highline College’s History Seminar.

Matia Jaysura in Okinawa in 2019.

Foreign Language and Area Studies

(FLAS) scholarships are U.S. Department of Education funded through our UW Title VI Centers and provide tuition and a living stipend for recipients.

Summer 2019 and academic year 2019–20 FLAS awardees in Japanese:

  • Callysta Caraballo
  • Allison Foltyn
  • Tala Karmy-Jones
  • Ian L. Smith

Japan Studies Scholarships

  • Graham Dart received the Kasai-Buerge Scholarship in Japan Studies.
  • Jane Roberts received the Christine and Richard Kitto Scholarship.
  • Ian L. Smith received the Kristen Kawakami Dean Fellowship in Japan Studies.
  • Mina Smyly received the Ayako Betty Murakami Scholarship in Japan Studies.

Washin Kai-Japan Foundation Fellow 2019-2020

For graduate study in Classical Japanese.

  • Ross Henderson

Join us on Social Media for up to the moment information on the program, events, and more!

Facebook       Instagram       Twitter