UW Japan Studies Newsletters

Autumn 2023 Newsletter


Left to right: Professors Saadia Pekkanen (UW), Narushige Michishita (GRIPS University), Marie Anchordoguy (UW), Daniel Hoffman (UW), and Mr. Nobuaki Iida at the November 1, 2023 at lecture given by Professor Michishita. Image credit: Kerry Dahlen for Japan Studies.

Table of Contents

I. Note From Chair

II. Program Highlights

III. Faculty Highlights

IV. Alumni and Student Highlights

Note From Chair

We welcome our faculty, staff, students, and the broader community to an exciting 2023-2024 academic year. It is almost feeling like normal again with in-person classes and events, and students laughing in the halls and discussing serious intellectual issues together. With Japan now open to non-visa travelers, many students who were unable to visit earlier in their studies have visited during school breaks this past year.

We continue to sponsor many exciting events to nurture deeper understanding of Japan. For spring 2023’s Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture, we hosted Phillip Y. Lipscy, Professor at the University of Toronto, for a talk entitled “Stagnation or Renewal?: Japan’s Energy and Climate Change Policy”. And we look forward to this spring’s Way lecture’s featured speaker, Miriam Chusid, Assistant Professor of Japanese Art History at the University of Washington (read more in this newsletter.)  Early in November, we also had a very insightful and comprehensive talk by Narushige Michishita, Professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, on “Japan’s New Security Strategy: Outlook and Challenges”. A recording of the event is available on our YouTube channel, along with past recorded special lectures, under ‘Videos’ and also at the Event Video archive on our website.

We had a broad range of other events, including:  “Implications of an Aging Ally, Japan: National Security & Demographic Change in the Indo-Pacific” with Professor Andrew Oros, Washington College, “Green with Milk and Sugar: When Japan Filled America’s Tea Cups” with Professor Robert Hellyer of Wake Forest University,  “Japan in St. Louis: Exhibition and Architecture at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition” with Professor Alice Y. Tseng of Boston University, “Japan’s Prisoners of Conscience: Protest and Law During the Iraq War” with Lawrence Repeta, Professor Emeritus at Meiji University, “Mitigating Risks of Coastal Sailing: Adaptations to Oceanic Dangers in Early-Modern Japan” with Professor Jakobina Arch of Whitman College, and “Key Challenges to the Japanese Economy” with Professor Takeo Hoshi of the University of Tokyo.

Continuing our theme of diversity and inclusion in the classroom, William Matsuzaki, the Diversity and Inclusion Director of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, will hold a workshop for educators on January 20, 2024. Last May, our faculty hosted Professor Yoshihiro Mochizuki of the University of Michigan, along with other presenters, at the 4th Northwest Conference on Japanese Pedagogy, which also was focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in Japanese language classrooms.

4th Pedogogy workshop group 2023.

We continued our film series including the film Close-Knit in November. More films from this past year included co-sponsorship of the documentary Manzanar Diverted with a panel discussion including the director, Ann Kaneko. And a screening of Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the ‘Comfort Women’ Issue was followed by discussion with the filmmaker, Miki Dezaki. Both films were co-sponsored with partners across campus.

Great congratulations are in order for two of our colleagues. Ms. Martha Walsh was nominated for the Distinguished Staff Award (read more in this newsletter). Anyone who has worked with our program or the Journal of Japanese Studies (JJS), where Martha is Managing Editor, knows that the UW Japan Studies Program and JJS owe much of their success to the outstanding and tireless efforts of Martha Walsh. We also congratulate Teaching Professor Izumi Matsuda-Kiami on her 2022 American Association of Teachers of Japanese Outstanding Teacher Award (Post-Secondary category). This award recognizes outstanding teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, advocacy, and leadership, both locally and nationally.

This year, we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Program receiving the great honor of a large endowment granted to 10 American universities from the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei. One of the UW Japan Program’s first endeavors after receiving this endowment was to start the Journal of Japanese Studies, which will be 50 years old in 2024. This endowment allows us to support students, staff, and have various events and some limited faculty research travel.

On a sadder note, our colleague Robert Britt passed away in June. Rob was an alum (MAIS Japan 1987) and had a long career in the East Asian Law Department of the Gallagher Law Library, where he worked from 1987 to 2019. (Read more about Rob here.)

We are happy to see that UW and broader U.S. interaction with Japan has gone back to pre-pandemic levels. Prime Minister Kishida is pushing forward with historic defense and economic security policies, economic policies that he calls a “New Capitalism,” and opening up Japan to more immigrants to help reduce a major labor shortage. New Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda continues to work hard to balance the level of interest rates to deal with the sharp weakening of the yen over the past year, while carefully considering the likelihood of inflation continuing at over 2% over the long term. This is complicated by the fact that Japanese businesses and consumers have become very accustomed to borrowing at interest rates lower than 1%. Tourists in Japan are back to pre-pandemic levels and Prime Minister Kishida is planning a stimulus package to help boost the economy and his approval ratings.

We hope to see you at upcoming events that cover many issues related to Japan this academic year, and wish you a Happy Holiday Season,

Marie Anchordoguy
Professor and Chair, UW and JSIS Japan Studies Programs
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

Program Highlights

New Art History Courses

Assistant Professor Miriam Chusid introduced two new courses this year. The first, Visualizing Japanese Buddhism: Art, Religion, and Philosophy, engages the rich visual culture of Buddhism in Japan as a way to illuminate the various discourses, philosophies, and beliefs people held from the eighth century to the present day. The second, Japanese Woodblock Prints, is part art history and part studio art. This dual nature of the course allows students to study woodblock prints in a seminar setting while they design, carve, and produce their own prints using traditional techniques. “The class gave me a new perspective on the studio system used to create traditional prints in Edo-era Japan,” said Jamie Sullivan, Jackson School Japan graduate student. “The illustrator, carver, printer, and publisher were all different people. I knew that illustrating and carving were hard, but I had no idea how much influence the printer, who selected the paper, pigments, and pressed the carved blocks into the paper, had on the process. Pick the wrong paper, put too little paint on the blocks, or vary your printing method even a little and you would get wildly different looking final prints.”

Diversity and Inclusion Film Series

Image: Close Knit

Our Diversity and Inclusion film series continues this year. The first film to be screened was Close-Knit (2017), a drama by writer and director Naoko Ogigami. An 11-year-old girl, Tomo, discovers her mother has abandoned her, and Tomo’s uncle and his transgender girlfriend take her in. The second film is Bilal Kawazoe’s Whole (2019), about two men who bond over coming to terms with being biracial while living in Japan will be screened in February 2024. The third film is Rage (2016), a mystery examining the relationships of murder suspects and their pasts. It is directed by Lee Sang-il and based on Shuichi Yoshida’s mystery novel of the same name; it will be shown in the spring. Each film in the series is followed by discussion with attendees.

50th Anniversary of The Japan Foundation Endowment

This fall we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a one-million-dollar endowment grant from the Government of Japan to the University of Washington to support and promote Japanese Studies. This prestigious award affirmed UW as a leader in teaching and research about Japan, and the income from this endowment has enabled the Japan Studies Program to achieve remarkable things.

The study of Japan and Japanese language was established at UW in 1909, and, as Professor Emeritus Kenneth B. Pyle has noted, the faculty grew to “one of the great constellations” of Japan scholars by the 1950s. The 1973 grant from Japan recognized this stature of UW Japan Studies. It has enabled landmark contributions in specialized fields and built enduring legacies for the UW and global communities. From this foundation have sprung innovative faculty research and continuing efforts to promote the understanding of Japan among many generations of students.

The transformational grant enabled UW to expand its fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students, research support, speaker series, workshops, film series, library acquisitions, new courses and curricula, and publication subsidies. In addition, funds from this endowment allowed UW faculty to move forward with what they called the “outrageous idea” of creating an academic journal devoted entirely to Japan studies. The Journal of Japanese Studies first appeared in December 1974 and is now moving into its 50th year. Cover of first edition of the Journal of Japanese Studies 1974

We are grateful for what this grant has made possible in the last 50 years and excited to envision where it will take UW Japan Studies in the next 50 years.

Distinguished Staff Award Nomination

Martha Lane Walsh (BA 1983, MA 1989) was nominated for the UW Distinguished Staff Award for her work starting as a senior in high school at the Journal of Japanese Studies (JJS) and the UW Japan Program. Here are some short excerpts from the much longer nomination, ending with a summary statement.

“For almost the entire span of 48 years of JJS, its mainstay has been Martha Walsh, a person who from the beginning struck me as having almost unbelievable competence, good judgement, and organizational ability. During her long tenure the Journal became the leading journal of the field of Japanese studies…She goes about her work in a low-key, efficient way, ever thoughtful of others, never a harsh word for anyone. She is a person of sterling character,” said JJS’s founder. “Martha is the heart and soul of the Journal of Japanese Studies,” “Martha is the Journal,” “As editors have come and gone, Martha Walsh has been the unwobbling pivot maintaining its reputation as a world-class publication, a jewel in the crown of UW,” say other former co-editors and Board members.

“I have never worked with anyone as competent, reliable, efficient, and caring about her work and its impact as Martha. She does more impeccably high-quality work in half the time it takes others,” explains one chair of the UW Japan Program.  “It is not an exaggeration to say the UW Japan Studies Program would not have survived through the many years and challenges without her,” said a former Program chair.

“Martha has been the Gold Standard at UW for 45 years. In her work for the Japan Studies Program and the Journal of Japanese Studies Martha has been the Rock, the rudder, steering the Journal and the Program, keeping them at the top of their fields while chairs and co-editors have come and gone. Her perfectionist-level work, tireless dedication, and outstanding care for everything she does has benefitted thousands of students, chairs, professors, editors and JSIS staff and Directors over 45 years, and her steady hand running the Journal of Japanese Studies has greatly contributed to knowledge of Japan globally.”

From all of us in the UW Japan Studies Program and JJS, thank you, Martha, for your continuing excellence in furthering the field of Japan Studies.

Faculty Highlights

Marie Anchordoguy is Chair of the UW Japan Studies and Jackson School Japan Studies Programs, and in 2022-23 she was once again the George Long Endowed Professor. Professor Anchordoguy was invited to be a panelist for “Shibusawa’s Legacy and Japan’s ‘New Form of Capitalism,’” a special event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Japan America Society of the State of Washington, sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in February 2023. She gave talks on her research and the Japanese economy more broadly at Rikkyo University College of Business in March and at the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, Vietnam, in September. She was a moderator for the “Supply Chain” panel and a panelist for the panel “Semiconductors and Taiwan” at a conference, “Chips and Chains: Trends in U.S.-Taiwan Business,” in May. She continues to research entrepreneurship in Japan and to teach courses about Japan’s Political Economy and Business System; Science, Technology and Innovation Policies in East Asia; and Asian Financial Systems.

Andrea Gevurtz Arai, Acting Assistant Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies, is the editor of Spaces of Creative Resistance: Social Change Projects in East Asia, forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in 2025. This volume, third in a series, is a product of a cross-regional and interdisciplinary workshop in 2021 on comparative social change. The workshop and volume received UW support from a UW Global Initiative Fund Grant (2021-22), the East Asia Center, Japan Studies Program, Center for Korea Studies, Taiwan Studies Program, and China Studies Program. Dr. Arai’s chapter is focused on the low birth environment and women’s projects in Japan. She is also author of “Nuclear Visuality and Popular Resistance in Hitomi Kamanaka’s Eco-Disaster Documentaries,” forthcoming in Asia Shorts Publications (Rachel DiNitto, editor; Association for Asian Studies, 2024). Arai is completing a second ethnographic book on young people in Japan relocating to the peripheries, creating new forms of community, work, family, and “rebuilding new culture” at a time of low birth, abandoned homes, and post-Fukushima environmental awareness. Arai is serving as the Interim Chair of the Korea Studies Program (2023-24) in the Jackson School of International Studies.

Paul Atkins, Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, presented papers at four conferences: “The Brokerage of Literary Labor and Capital in Late Medieval Japan” at the Modern Language Association annual convention in San Francisco; “Reading China in the kanshi of Zekkai Chūshin” at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference in Boston; “Reconsidering the Authenticity of Hyakunin isshu” at the III Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Española de Estudios de Asia Oriental in Salamanca; and “The Genesis of Hyakunin isshu” at the Asian Studies Conference Japan in Tokyo. With Nobuko Horikawa (PhD 2023), he was one of 14 co-authors of the article “Lunar Eclipses Illuminate Timing and Climate Impact of Medieval Volcanism,” published in Nature, vol. 616 (2023). He received a Third Book Fellowship from the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities to complete his annotated translation of the classical Chinese poems of Zekkai Chūshin (1336-1405), a medieval Japanese Zen abbot.

In March, Izumi Matsuda-Kiami, Teaching Professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Teacher Award (Post-Secondary category) by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ). Read more about the organization and the award, as well as Matsuda-Kiami’s acceptance message, at AATJ Teacher Award Recipients 2022. 

Mark Metzler, Professor of Japanese history and international studies, published an ecological-economic study entitled “Japan: The Arc of Industrialization” in The New Cambridge History of Japan, Volume III (Laura Hein, editor; Cambridge University Press, 2023). He has also been working on global history, with two forthcoming book chapters: “The 1970s Macrocycle: Eurodollars, Petrodollars, Credit Booms, and Debt Busts, 1973–1982,” in The Oil Crises and the Transformation of the International Economic Order in the 1970s (Shigeru Akita, editor; Bloomsbury Publishing), and “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the Birth of the Business Cycle,” in Capitalism: Histories (Robert Ingram and James Vaughn, editors). During summer 2023 he was a visiting professor at Waseda University’s School of Political Science and Economics.

Ken Tadashi Oshima, Professor in the Department of Architecture, curated the exhibition “Beyond Borders: Architectures of Japan,” which was sponsored by the Japan Foundation in collaboration with the Design Society. It ran from November 5, 2022, through February 19, 2023, at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center, Shenzhen, China. The exhibit featured 22 internationally acclaimed Japanese architecture participants including Arata Isozaki, Fumihiko Maki, Kengo Kuma, and Tadao Ando among others, through works constructed outside Japan. His online lecture attracted several thousand viewers in conjunction with the exhibition “Arata Isozaki: In Formation” at the PowerStation of Art in Shanghai.

Professor Oshima also curated the major exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright and the World: The Wright Imperial Hotel at 100” at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art October 21 – December 24, 2023 and co-edited the book  Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture that Connects the World (Ken Oshima and Jennifer Gray, editors; 2023). The exhibition has attracted more than one thousand people per day on weekends and will travel to the Panasonic Shiodome Museum of Art in Tokyo (January 11 – March 10, 2024) and the Aomori Museum of Art (March 20 – May 12, 2024).

Jennifer Robertson, Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan and UW Japan Studies Program Affiliate Professor, is a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, where she is researching and presenting new work on embodied artificial intelligence (AI) and systems of surveillance, among other ongoing projects. She gave a public lecture/webinar on November 27 entitled “‘Securitainment’: Triangulations of Embodied Artificial Intelligence (AI), Entertainment, and Surveillance in Japan.”

Japanese collection librarian Azusa Tanaka’s piece “Sabujekuto Raiburarian” (Subject Librarian) was published in the Toshokan Johogaku Jiten (Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Maruzen Shuppan, 2023). She also made an acquisition trip to Korea and Japan in May 2023. She is a member of the UW Libraries Artificial Intelligence Task Force and serves as chair of the UW Distinguished Librarian Award Committee.


January 22, 2024 – Book Talk with Walter Hatch


Walter Hatch, (PhD 2000) Professor Emeritus, Colby College, and UW Japan Studies Program Affiliate Professor, will give a talk on his latest book, Ghosts in the Neighborhood: Why Japan is Haunted by its Past and Germany is Not (University of Michigan Press, 2023).




April 25, 2024 – The Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture with Miriam Chusid

Miriam Chusid is Assistant Professor of Japanese art history and specializes in Japanese Buddhist visual culture with a focus on the premodern period. Her interests include relationships between art, ritual, and text; the role of women in the production and reception of religious images; Buddhist materialities; and the place of conservation in art historical inquiry. She is completing a book manuscript that examines the emergence in the thirteenth century of pictures of Buddhist hell used in rituals to benefit the dead.

See details on these and all our upcoming events HERE

Alumni and Student Highlights


Lacey Fry (MAIS Japan 2023) has accepted a position at the Mitsubishi Corporation – Seattle office.

Nobuko Horikawa (PhD Japanese Literature 2023) was recipient of the UW Graduate School’s 2023 Distinguished Dissertation Award. The title of Dr. Horikawa’s dissertation is “The Sinitic Poetry of the Zen Abbess Taisei Shōan (1668-1712).” She is currently Assistant Teaching Professor at Seattle University.

Maggie Le (MAIS Japan 2023) is editor for Kodansha Comics at Penguin Random House publishing.

Nathan Stackpoole (MAIS Japan 2014) after working in the non-profit and private sectors for several years was accepted into the U.S. Foreign Service in January 2020 and is currently an Economic Officer within the State Department and stationed overseas.

Brian Walsh (MAIS Japan 2003, PhD Princeton University 2016) is the author of The Rape of Japan: The Myth of Mass Sexual Violence during the Allied Occupation (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2024). He currently teaches Japanese history and international relations at Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan.

Student Awards

Juan Felipe Arroyave with students in Ishikawa, Japan 2023.

Juan Felipe Arroyave (MA/PhD Japanese) spent the summer in Japan with support from the Kasai-Buerge Scholarship. “Thanks to this award, I was able to spend two weeks in Japan as a Seminar Leader for the last edition of Komatsu Summer School (KSS),” reports Arroyave. “This bilingual summer camp, held in a rural area of Ishikawa Prefecture, attracted high school students from all over Japan who were eager to engage with liberal arts subjects in English, and figure out pathways for sustainable development in Japan. It was, without hyperbole, a life-changing experience for me. On a professional level, KSS gave me the chance to teach in Japan for the first time and get acquainted with classroom dynamics and student expectations in the country. On a personal level, it allowed me to connect with many fantastic individuals, not only those from the Japanese and American volunteer groups, but the high school participants as well. My deepest gratitude to the Kasai-Buerge family and the UW Japan Studies Program for making this experience possible!”


Kasai-Buerge Scholarship

Juan Felipe Arroyave (MA/PhD Japanese) and  Zi Jin Guan (BS Biochemistry and BA Japanese)


Kristen Kawakami Dean Fellowship

Christie Jung (MAIS Japan) and Lauren Lee (PhD International Studies)


Kitto Scholarship

Christie Jung (MAIS Japan) and Jamie Sullivan (MAIS Japan)


Ayako Betty Murakami Scholarship

Alaina Asato (BA Global and Regional Studies), Brennan Chang (BA International Studies), and Mackenzie Snow (BA Japanese and BFA Music)


Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarships

Congratulations to UW students who are recipients of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) scholarships for summer 2023 and the 2023-24 academic year to support their Japanese area or language studies. More information about these and other recipients can be found at the FLAS webpage.

Academic Year Awards

Beia Giebel (BA Asian Languages and Cultures), Brian Park (PhD History), and Jamie Sullivan (MAIS Japan)

Summer Awards

Brian Park (PhD History) and Anna Schnell (MA Japanese)

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

Facebook       Instagram       Twitter