UW Japan Studies Newsletters

Autumn 2021 Newsletter

Poem by Kyoko Tokuno. Image courtesy of Mitsuko Miller

Table of Contents

I. From the Chair

II. Welcome Miriam Chusid

III. In Memoriam: Kyoko Tokuno (1944-2021)

IV. Faculty Highlights

VI. Other News

VII. Student Awards and Alumni Highlights


From the Chair

Prof. Marie Anchordoguy

It is wonderful to be back on campus teaching students and seeing colleagues. We are all vaccinated and masked, and though not back to normal, we welcome our faculty, staff, students, and broader Japan community to the 2021-2022 academic year. We are excited to have a new faculty member, Professor Mimi Chusid, in the Japan Studies Program. Professor Chusid joined the UW School of Art + Art History + Design in September and is teaching the arts of Japan with a focus on contemporary art in winter quarter. Unfortunately, we also have some very sad news to share. Our colleague, Dr. Kyoko Tokuno, an expert on Japanese Buddhism who retired in 2018, passed away in September. Dr. Tokuno was a valued scholar and friend, and we miss her deeply.

Our events during the pandemic have been virtual, and though we are teaching in-person, out of an abundance of caution, our events fall quarter remained virtual. There are some silver linings to remote operations. For example, we have been able to expand the reach of our programming, with speakers and participants joining from around the world. Professor Ken Tadashi Oshima (UW Architecture) and Professor Hitoshi Abe of UCLA are hosting a year-long series with Japan House LA (Los Angeles) on the application of Ma (Space/time consciousness) in a variety of cultural spheres. The successful “Spaces of Creative Resistance” workshop last spring was run by Teaching Professor Andrea Gevurtz Arai (UW JSIS) and Professor Jeff Hou (UW Landscape Architecture and Taiwan Studies Program). Professor Richard J. Samuels of MIT gave an excellent Griffith and Patricia Way lecture last autumn on his recent book, Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community. Professor T.J. Pempel, professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, gave a talk this October on “Dismantling the Japanese Developmental Regime,” drawing on his latest book, A Region of Regimes: Prosperity and Plunder in the Asia-Pacific. Several other events are coming up this winter and spring; some are virtual but hopefully many will be in-person. To mark the 50th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan, Professor Davinder Bhowmik (UW Asian Languages and Literature) will host a symposium on Okinawa in May 2022. For a full listing of current and upcoming events please see our Events page.

–Marie Anchordoguy, UW Japan Studies Chair

Welcome, Miriam Chusid

Assistant Prof. Miriam Chusid

We are very pleased to welcome Miriam Chusid to our faculty. Chusid joins the UW Japan Studies Program as Assistant Professor of Art History in the School of Art+Art History+Design, specializing in premodern Japanese religious art and visual culture. “We are excited for UW students to have the opportunity to learn about the rich history of art in Japan. Curriculum focused on the history of Japanese art has been absent from the UW for several years, and Mimi’s teaching will be a great complement to the program overall,” says Ellen Eskenazi, associate director of the UW Japan Studies Program. Chusid’s interests include relationships between art, ritual, and text; the role of women in the production and reception of religious images; and the place of conservation in art historical inquiry. Chusid received her PhD from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University in 2016. Read more about her research and teaching at the School of Art website.

In Memoriam: Kyoko Tokuno (1944-2021)

Kyoko Tokuno

Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Kyoko Tokuno

We are saddened to announce that Kyoko Tokunoone of the longest serving senior lecturers at the Jackson School with Comparative Religion and Japan Studies, passed away on September 28, 2021, in Seattle. She was 77 years old.

Tokuno joined the University of Washington and the Jackson School nearly 20 years ago, and taught courses on Buddhism and world religion, and on Japan, Korea and East Asia. She received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies in 1994 from the University of California and taught at the University of Oregon, joining the UW faculty in 2001. Her focus was on Buddhist texts and the cultures of medieval China and Japan, their relation to Indian Buddhism, and the development of Buddhist canon in East Asia.

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Faculty Highlights

Marie Anchordoguy was a panel speaker on “Outlook for Japan in 2021,” a virtual event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. on January 13, and a speaker at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University virtual event on “Where is US-China High Tech Competition Going?” held on January 28. She continues her research on Japan’s state and corporate efforts to nurture a more vibrant ecosystem for high-tech start-up companies. She has chaired the JSIS Japan Studies Program the past several years and continues that position this year along with becoming the chair of the UW Japan Studies Program.

In May, Andrea Gevurtz Arai co-hosted a three-day workshop titled “Spaces of Creative Resistance,” an interdisciplinary and East Asia–regional workshop with participants from several countries. A publication of the works presented by participants is forthcoming.  In November, she made a presentation at the American Anthropology annual meeting, titled “Making Change: Women’s Spatial Aesthetics and Bottom-Up Biopolitics in Japan.”

Paul Atkins, professor of classical Japanese language, literature, and culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, spent fall quarter 2020 on sabbatical, working on his current project, an annotated translation of about 170 poems in classical Chinese by the Japanese Zen abbot Zekkai Chūshin 絶海中津 (1336-1405). During that time, he spent one month in Tokyo as visiting professor at the Institute of Oriental Classics (Shidō Bunko 斯道文庫) of Keiō University.  In January 2021, he gave a talk, “Translating Medieval Japanese Zen Poetry,” for the UW Translation Studies Colloquium. In October 2021, he delivered a public lecture entitled “What is Noh?” presented by Washin Kai 和心会, Friends of Classical Japanese at UW, to an online audience of about 250 people.

Ted Mack has just completed his new book, Acquired Alterity: Migration, Identity, and Literary Nationalism, which is due out from the University of California Press this winter. It is the first book-length study in English of the Japanese-language literary activities of early Japanese migrants to Brazil.

Izumi Matsuda-Kiami hosted the 2nd UW Japanese Tadoku Workshop virtually on February 27, 2021. This workshop included two sessions, with reports from colleges which had implemented Tadoku since the previous workshop, and presentations by Yuka Kumagai from the University of Southern California and Noriko Hanabusa from the University of Notre Dame. (Tadoku is a method of learning Japanese by reading a lot of books or other materials at your own pace. It is sometimes called “extensive reading”.) She received the 2021 Leslie Birkland Award from the Washington Association of Teachers of Japanese (WATJ), an award given to a Japanese teacher in the State of Washington each year in recognition of leadership and contributions to the teaching of Japanese language.

Mark Metzler completed a survey of Japan’s industrial revolution in ecological-economic perspective that will appear as a chapter in the new Cambridge History of Japan, to be published in 2022. He presented conference and workshop papers in “virtual” Osaka and “virtual” Finland on the international economic crises of the 1880s and of the 1970s. As a visiting professor at Waseda University, he also taught an online master’s seminar on global economic history last summer.

Ken Tadashi Oshima published several essays in 2021. Highlights include “Connecting between Inside and Outside: Ken Tadashi Oshima X Kato Tsubasa,” Turf and Perimeter: Tsubasa Kato (Tokyo: Asahi Press, p9-70) in conjunction with the exhibition Tsubasa Kato: Turf and Perimeter at Tokyo Opera City Art in summer of 2021. “Timely Timelessness: The Architecture of Waro Kishi,” appeared in Time Will Tell Waro Kishi. (Kyoto: AAVOID, 2021), in conjunction with the exhibition Waro Kishi TIME WILL TELL at the Kyoto Institute of Technology Museum & Archives, Kyoto, summer 2021.

And “Variations on the Square: Shinohara’s Umbrella House,” in Kazuo Shinohara: Traversing the House and the City, Seng Kuan ed. (Zürich: Lars Müller/Harvard GSD, 2021).

Robert Pekkanen published his coauthored Party Personnel Strategies: Electoral Systems & Parliamentary Committee Assignments with Oxford University Press. His eleventh book, it develops the notion of “party personnel strategies,” which are the ways in which political parties assign their elected members—their “personnel”—to specialized legislative committees in order to serve the parties’ collective organizational goals. One chapter of this book examines Japan under both SNTV MMD and its current MMM electoral system, paying particular attention to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Among his other publications, Pekkanen also coauthored an essay on populism in Japan. In January, Nihon Keizai Shinbun featured an interview with him about electoral systems.

Saadia Pekkenan’s article “Cautionary Remarks on the Emerging Bipolarity of Space Alliances: A Japanese Perspective” was published in “The New Space Age: Beyond Global Order” (Perry World House, 2021) and uses the US-Japan alliance as a case study on why it is unlikely such alliances will lead to stability in the space domain.

Other News

Kenneth B. Pyle Prize for Best Article in the Journal of Japanese Studies

The Kenneth B. Pyle Prize for Best Article in JJS honors the founding editor of the Journal of Japanese Studies. The prize—accompanied by $250—will be awarded annually for a JJS research article published in the previous year. For 2020, award went to Alice Y. Tseng for her work entitled “Imperial Portraiture and Popular Print Media in Early Twentieth-Century Japan.”

Articles eligible for this prize are evaluated for their contribution to supporting the JJS mission of promoting the highest-quality scholarship through publication of empirical and interpretive work on Japan. Consideration is given to efforts to contextualize specialized research findings in ways that articulate their importance for the wider field of Japan studies.

Kenneth B. Pyle and his Japan studies colleagues at the University of Washington established JJS in 1974 through the generosity of the Japanese government’s million-dollar grant to the university. The UW faculty sought an innovative and enduring testament to the importance of this grant for the study of Japan around the world.

Ken served as Editor from 1974 to 1986 and subsequently in other positions with JJS, and he has been a regular contributor to JJS pages, most recently in 2020. Ken’s scholarship and teaching span more than 55 years, and his contributions to the study of Japan are profound.  The journal he helped to establish looks forward to building this prize as a prestigious honor for both the founding editor and those engaged in new and exciting research on Japan.


Haenam Region, South Korea. This young woman is a member of a new creative community who moved from Seoul to join a creative resistance movement, rebuilding an area defunded for some time by the federal government.

Spaces of Creative Resistance Workshop

Two years in the making, with much disruption by the pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions, the multinational, multidisciplinary Spaces of Creative Resistance workshop was held in May 2021 with two days of remote panel discussions and presentations. Organized by UW faculty Jeffrey Hou (Landscape Architecture) and. Andrea Gevurtz Arai (JSIS), the workshop brought together scholars and activists from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. whose work focuses on cultural geography, anthropology, built environments, population studies, gender studies, and social welfare, among other areas of research.

Papers were presented on social issues of income inequality, irregular or precarious labor, declining birth rates, aging, sustainability, and the center-periphery (sometimes urban-rural) divide in their respective societies, with examination of bottom-up change and sustainable development, in collaborative efforts of new physical spaces, and also cultural spaces. The essays presented at the workshop will appear in an edited volume expected out in 2022, which will be a companion work to Arai’s previous projects.

In conjunction with this workshop, a new course was offered in spring quarter 2021, entitled Spaces of Creative Resistance in East Asia. Students in the seminar had the opportunity to engage with the project participants


Student Awards and Alumni Highlights

Among the many student awards this past year the East Asia Center and Center for Global Studies have awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) awards this academic year to graduate students Graham Dart (JSIS Japan), Meredith Franklin (JSIS Japan), Daniel Hance (JSIS Japan), Caralee Casto (JSIS Japan), Lacey Meek (JSIS Japan), and Eliyah Omar (Anthropology). Omar is also recipient of the Ayako Betty Murakami Scholarship in Japan Studies for 2021-22. Seunghyun Kim and Abigail Williams both received Kristen Kawakami Dean Fellowships. Williams was also recipient of the Kitto Scholarship. Hwayoung Lee and T.J. Okamura both received the Kasai-Buerge Scholarship in Japan Studies, also for the 2021-22 academic year.

Jessica Ferauge (MA Japan 2021) with a cumulative GPA of 4.0 received the JSIS Graduate Book Award.  Dylan Plung’s (MAIS Japan 2018) most recent publication in the Asia Pacific Journal Newsletter Volume 19, Issue 8 is titled “The ‘Unrelated’ Spirits of Aoyama Cemetery: A 21st Century Reckoning with the Foreign Employees of the Meiji Period”.  Benjamin Burton (MA Japanese Applied Linguistics 2021) is Assistant Professor of Japanese language and literature at Seattle University.