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Autumn 2015 Newsletter

September 19, 2015

From the Chair

Ken Tadashi Oshima
Chair, UW Japan Studies

Ken Oshima, Chair of the Japan Studies Program

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Japan Studies at the University of Washington as the incoming chair of our inter-disciplinary, university-wide program that builds on its strategic position on the Pacific Rim and its vibrant academic and professional communities.

Just as Japan faces major demographic shifts, our program looks to bridge the past, present, and future. This year we mark the retirement of esteemed professors Kenneth B. Pyle and Michio Tsutsui, who have both made their own indelible marks on UW Japan Studies and certainly on their respective fields. Among Professor Pyle’s many accomplishments, he led the faculty to found the Journal of Japanese Studies in 1974 and served as the first editor until 1986. This year marks his 51st in teaching at the university. Professor Tsutsui established the Technical Japanese Program in 1990 and has since served as its director. This program was the first of its kind. At the same time, we congratulate Associate Professor Paul Atkins on his appointment as Department Chair of Asian Languages & Literature. We also welcome Dr. Kazumi Hasegawa as lecturer in Japanese History from Yale University where she was a postdoctoral associate/lecturer.

At our core, a full slate of events for the 2015-16 year highlights the broad range of scholarship and engagement within our community. In November, Assistant Professor Justin Jesty organized the symposium “Socially Engaged Art in Japan.” Through the generous funding of the Mitsubishi Corporation, we look to “Sustaining Japan” ecologically, as well as culturally and politically from present-day Japan five years after the 3.11 disaster, and ahead to developments toward 2020 and beyond.

Turning to the next generation, our students continue to thrive on both the graduate and undergraduate levels among the many disciplines of Japan Studies at the UW. Thanks in part to the generosity of donors, we are able to help students explore a multitude of research interests and engage with their peers. Each year we award scholarships in Japan Studies that support students as they participate in regional student conferences, travel to Japan for research, or simply spend more time studying and less time working. This includes program-based funds such as the Ayako Betty Murakami Scholarship and the recently established Kasai-Buerge Endowed Scholarship fund, as well as other UW scholarships including the Graduate Opportunities & Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP). Scholarship opportunities supporting our students but originating outside the university include the Blakemore Freeman Fellowships for Advanced Asian Language Study abroad, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, and Fulbright and Japan Foundation awards. Nonetheless, resources are always limited and we are grateful to all who support our students through giving to scholarships in the program.

UW Japan Studies continues to build on its legacy as one of the oldest programs in the country through diversities in dynamic research, teaching, and outreach as it looks to both future possibilities of the program and Japan itself in a rapidly changing world.

Program Highlights

Socially Engaged Art in Japan

Tsubasa Kato's Lighthouses artwork

UW Japan Studies is pleased to have co-sponsored the landmark and hugely successful Socially Engaged Art in Japan symposium in November. Altogether, the university hosted 21 artists, academics, and museum and gallery curators who presented their work individually and participated in panel discussions.

What is “socially engaged art”? Assistant Professor Justin Jesty of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature and organizer of the symposium explains it “artistic work that crosses the boundaries between art and social activism . . . it involves both artists and non-artists working collaboratively toward a shared goal over an extended period of time.” Jesty further explains, “Local governments, urban planners, and activists have become intensely interested in art’s potential to galvanize or revitalize threatened urban (and in Japan, rural) communities.” These are works that bring together people from many disciplines such as architecture, urban studies, sociology, artists of all media and performance backgrounds, governments, and community members to share in the creative experience.

From November 12 through 14 the symposium drew participants from the U.S. and other countries including Japan, Canada, and the U.K to discuss the global relevance, findings, and needs of this emerging field. They showcased their research and provided contexts for discussion specifically in regards to Japan.

Fram Kitagawa, a prominent curator and director of the immense Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale was invited to give one of the two keynotes. Every three years, three hundred square miles of land in northwestern Japan is transformed into the most ambitious and largest-scale art installation in the world: the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field. However, his visa apparently denied by the U.S. government, he instead provided commentary via video, and his original lecture “Art in the Age of the Global Environment” was delivered by the organizer, Dr. Justin Jesty.

The second keynote address was given by academic and artist Sharon Daniel, a professor of Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, entitled “On Politics and Aesthetics.” Daniel’s interactive works focus on social and economic issues of marginalized communities. In addition, artist Koki Tanaka gave the Featured Artist’s talk at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in conjunction with the symposium.

See a full list of participants and other information at the symposium website:

The Socially Engaged Art in Japan symposium was made possible thanks to generous support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, UW Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Japan Faculty in Humanities and Arts, UW Japan Studies, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, Urban@UW, and the School of Art + Art History + Design.

Sustaining Japan: past, present, future
Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series

May 28th's Kokubun Reception

Left to right: Director of the Jackson School Resat Kasaba, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director US – ASEAN Business Council Michael W. Michalak, President of the National Defense Academy of Japan Ryosei Kokubun, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Robert Stacey, and Vice President of Mitsubishi Corporation Americas Shinichiro Kawazoe at the pre-lecture reception for President Kokubun who gave a talk entitled ”Rising China and Japan’s Future: Seeking a Way to Co-Exist” during last year’s Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series.

In the wake of the 2011 tsunami the Japanese have faced serious questions about the sustainability of nuclear energy, development, food supply, and the roles of government, corporations, and citizens in moving toward a healthier and more secure Japan.

Last year’s Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series included a riveting and frank talk about the state of Japan’s nuclear industry. The Honorable Taro Kono, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives since 1996, and most recently appointed to the prime minister’s cabinet, explained the complex nuclear energy lifecycle citing serious issues with government and corporate relationships, transparency, technology, waste stockpiles, and the energy needs of Japan, all of which came to the forefront after 3.11.

This year UW Japan Studies hosts a series on the topic of sustainability in Japan focusing on lessons learned since 3.11 and the application of those going forward, in Japan but also perhaps more universally. The series kicked off in October with Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama, University of Tokyo’s 28th president, on “Beyond the Limits to Growth: New Ideas for Sustainability from Japan.” His discussion considered problems Japan faces today—which other nations will also soon face—related to energy consumption, decreases in the workforce, the care of an aging population, and crowded cities.

It continues with a pair of two-day symposia. The first will be held in January, with an evening address by Hitoshi Abe, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles. Abe will speak on the short-term goals and responses to the 2011 disasters in the last five years—disasters which forced not only extreme emergency actions, but also close scrutiny of commitment to the sustainability of healthy living. In a panel discussion the following evening, experts from Japan and the Northwest will address lessons from 3.11.

The second symposium will look at growth and development planned for the next five years with a talk by Kengo Kuma, internationally respected architect and urban visionary. Japan is preparing dramatic changes to its infrastructure in anticipation of hosting the 2020 Olympic Games. Some of these changes utilize new approaches to sustainable development with an eye to flexibility and lessening environmental impact, bringing into question whether there are systems in place to support new approaches. Panelists participating from the Pacific Northwest and Japan will be announced on the UW Japan Studies events web page. Events are free and open to the public.

The continuation of the Mitsubishi Corporation Lecture Series has been made possible by generous gifts from Mitsubishi Corporation since 2013.

3:11–Five Years On
Keynote by Hitoshi Abe
January 13, 2016
Panel Discussion
January 14, 2016

Infrastructures for a New Japan 2020
Keynote by Kengo Kuma
April 13, 2016
Panel Discussion
April 14, 2016

All events begin at 6:00 PM, CHECK EVENTS SCHEDULE FOR LOCATIONS and more information.

Kenneth B. Pyle Retires

Kenneth Pyle

Kenneth B. Pyle is retiring after 51 consecutive years of teaching at the University of Washington. He earned a BA magna cum laude in History from Harvard College and his PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Scholars at UW identified him as “a young scholar with great potential as a Japanese historian and of outstanding competence in the Japanese language,” and he joined the faculty in late 1964.

He has published many books during his career, including The New Generation in Meiji Japan (1969), The Making of Modern Japan (1978), The Japanese Question: Power and Purpose in a New Era (1992), and Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose (2007). Most of these have been revised, reprinted, and translated into other languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai. Pyle is currently working on another book on Japan in the American world order. He is author of countless articles and essays.

His UW students have ranged from new undergraduates to graduate students who now teach about Japan at other universities around the world. His always-popular courses include the core of the JSIS Japan Studies curriculum, History of Modern Japan, as well as Emergence of Postwar Japan, New Orders in East Asia, International Relations in East Asia, a seminar on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and a graduate field course in modern Japanese history. A peer review of his teaching in 2010 said “Ken’s teaching is absolutely extraordinary.”

During his distinguished career, Pyle has served in many capacities. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Japanese Studies, still housed at the University of Washington. He was the founding president of the National Bureau of Asian Research and chairman of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange, and the American Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation. In 1991 he received the Yoshida Shigeru Memorial Foundation Prize for his article on Japanese nationalism and for “many years of scholarship on modern Japan.” In 1999, the Government of Japan decorated him with the Order of the Rising Sun. In 2000, he received the annual Award for Distinguished Public Service from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. In 2011, the Thomas S. Foley Award was bestowed on him by the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington. The Japan Foundation in 2008 awarded its Special Prize for Japanese Studies to Pyle in ceremonies that included a private audience for him and his wife with the emperor and empress.

At the University of Washington, Pyle served as director of the School of International Studies from 1978 to 1988. He worked closely with Senator Henry M. Jackson to build support for research and training in international affairs at UW, and, after Jackson’s death in 1983, the school was renamed in the senator’s honor. Under Pyle’s leadership, JSIS acquired its current structure, name, and stature, making it one of the leading institutions of its kind. In 2006, in their honor, the university, with support from the Jackson Foundation, established in the Jackson School the Anne H. H. and Kenneth B. Pyle Professorship in American Foreign Policy. In his retirement, he will continue his research and writing and teach part-time in the school.

Crisis in the South China Sea:
A JSIS International Negotiation Simulation

by Joshua A. Williams and Christopher D. Kessler

Participants of the JSIS Negotiation Simulation

Pictured from left to right: Joshua Williams, PhD Candidate in International Studies, Colonel Dave Johnson of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Prof. Robert Pekkanen, Prof. Donald Hellmann, Chris Kessler, MAIS candidate (Japan Studies), Karen Allen (MAIS candidate (International Studies), Mariko Ota (recent UW graduate in Japanese and Chemistry), Meagan Araki (UW junior), Karen A. Bazan-Muñoz (recent JSIS graduate)

Given the anarchic nature of international relations, there are naturally places where more than one nation claims ownership. One such contested area is the South China Sea: China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and others make claims to the water and land. It was there that on June 2, 2016, exploration vessels and patrol boats clashed, resulting in over a hundred casualties from multiple nations. As emotions flared and riots ensued across Southeast Asia, international negotiators from seven countries met at the ASEAN Headquarters in Indonesia on July 9 and 10, 2016, in a desperate attempt to broker peace.

That was the backstory as UW students simulated delegations from Japan, China, the United States, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam in the Jackson School’s first International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise (ISCNE), July 9 and 10, 2015. The Jackson School hosted the U.S. Army War College in a capstone course for Master of Arts in Applied International Studies students and a certificate program for others. The Japan team was comprised of six students and recent alums, including Joshua Williams and Chris Kessler, and guidance from Professor Donald Hellmann, the team mentor.

Background lectures before the simulation prepared students for fast-paced and unpredictable negotiations; these included “International Negotiations” by Rick Lorenz of the Jackson School, “Crisis Communications” by Colonel Dave Johnson of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and lectures on international relations and the South China Sea by Professor Robert Pekkanen. For the simulation exercise, delegates were given secret instructions from their “home government” to guide their actions toward desired goals. The Japan team was tasked with seeking, among other things, “restoration of peace and tranquility” within the region and “freedom of navigation” through all Asian waters.

We set out to help broker a multilateral agreement among all nations at the table by focusing on mutual economic cooperation in the South China Sea rather than on disputed territories and violent conflict. We made strong headway on the first day of the exercise, with seeming approval from even the China team. Unfortunately, on day two other teams readjusted their strategies, and the Chinese delegation began to show its true colors in resisting multilateral agreements. The Japan team continued to work toward a comprehensive agreement that could satisfy all parties.

The exercise ended with a charged plenary session where no teams had signed any formal agreements. The U.S. Head of Delegation finally stood in support of our proposed multilateral agreement, a last-ditch effort for peace, and called for other delegates to do the same. At the end of the day, ours was the only resolution signed by multiple countries—two.

The ISCNE proved to be a thoroughly educating experience in negotiation simulation. All participants learned something and even grew a little bit, and we hope this event will be conducted again in future years for the benefit of the University of Washington community.

Faculty News

Marie Anchordoguy, professor, Jackson School, was invited to give a talk on “The Political Economy of Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and Start-ups in Japan since 2000: Social Norms and Institutional and Policy Change” at a conference on Japanese Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, April 1-3, 2015. She was invited to present a paper on entrepreneurship in Japan in a panel on “Beyond Institutional Resilience? An Assessment of Recent Reforms in East Asia,” at the 5th Congress of Asia and Pacific Studies, National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, in Paris, France, September 9-11, 2015. After 10 years, she stepped down as coeditor of the Journal of Japanese Studies on April 1. She gave a talk in January 2015 on the current Japanese economy at the Asia Business Forum, a downtown business group that she cofounded. She continues her research on Japanese high-tech entrepreneurs and venture capital.

Andrea Gevurtz Arai, lecturer, Jackson School, is author of the forthcoming book The Strange Child: Education and the Psychology of Patriotism in Recessionary Japan (Stanford University Press). In November 2015, she gave a presentation titled “Online and Off Center: The Strange-Familiar of Japanese Youth and 2Channel” at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in Denver. She also participated in a roundtable on “Article 9, Constitutional Revision, and the Socio-Political Context of the Abe Government’s Proposed Changes” at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in March 2015.

Paul Atkins, associate professor and chair, Asian Languages and Literature, presented his paper “From Hara-kiri to Seppuku and Beyond” at the workshop on “Rethinking Premodern Japan,” University of Chicago, in February 2015. He was transcriber and translator of selected objects for the exhibit “Calligraphic Abstraction,” Seattle Asian Art Museum, May 9-October 4, 2015. He completed a book manuscript on the medieval Japanese poet Fujiwara no Teika and is a member of the executive board of the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities.

Davinder L. Bhowmik, associate professor, Asian Languages and Literature, is coeditor of a collection of essays titled Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa (due out from University of Hawaiʻi Press in 2016). In September 2015 she delivered a keynote speech at the Center for Okinawan Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. Her talk, titled “The Scandals and Success of Translation,” kicked off a symposium on postwar Okinawan literature and translation. [IMAGE forthcoming, please save room]

Daniel H. Foote, professor, School of Law, published numerous essays in 2015 in English and Japanese on Japanese legal norms, justice reform, and the increased participation by lay jurors in the Japanese justice system. His many speaking engagements included an address to UW alumni in Tokyo in December 2014 and presentations at the University of Washington, American University, Keio University, Waseda University, UCLA, and the American Center Japan. He is at work on a book tentatively titled “Legal Education and the Legal Profession in Japan” and holds a joint appointment in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo.

Kazumi HasegawaKazumi Hasegawa
, lecturer, History, joined the University of Washington in September 2015. She will primarily teach courses on premodern and modern Japanese history; in autumn quarter 2015 she offered two classes entitled “Modern Japan” and “Gender, Sexuality, and Politics of Queer in Modern Japan.” Her research and writing focus on international history between the U.S. and Japan, particularly by examining the life of Oyabe Zen’ichirō (1867-1941), a Christian minister, influential educator of the Ainu people, and best-selling writer, and explore the way transnational discourses about race contributed to the formation of modern Japanese identity.

Justin Jesty, assistant professor, Asian Languages and Literature, received a fellowship from the UW Simpson Center Society of Fellows to complete his book manuscript, “Arts of Engagement: Socially Engaged Art and the Democratic Culture of Japan’s Early Postwar.” He also conducted research on socially engaged public art in Japan during summer 2015.

Edward Mack, associate professor, Asian Languages and Literature, is one of three coeditors-in-chief of Shoki zaihokubei Nihonjin no kiroku, a series of reprints from the publisher Bunsei Shoin, and hopes to also reproduce a collection of rare and unique documents from the Tacoma Japanese Language School prior to World War II.

Izumi Matsuda-Kiami, senior lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature, was invited to participate in the International Forum on Japanese Language and Culture at Osaka University in March 2015 and presented an overview of the UW Japanese program and current practices in third-year Japanese. She collaborated with UW’s Kaoru Ohta to organize the Workshop on Strategies for Articulation of Elementary-Level Japanese Courses in Washington State Colleges in spring 2015.

Itsuko Nishikawa, lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature, presented her paper “Teaching Writing in a Beginning Japanese Class: Focusing on Cohesion” at the Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum in May 2015; it will be published in the Proceedings of the 22nd Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum (East Asian Studies, Princeton University, 2015). She also created a new curriculum for fourth-year Japanese.

Between Land and Sea Book CoverKen Tadashi Oshima
, professor, Architecture, became chair of UW Japan Studies in January 2015. His book Kiyonori Kikutake: Between Land and Sea came out from Harvard/Lars Müller in October. In November, he spoke at the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. on “Curating Japan in the Olympic Era, 1964/2020” for the United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange and as a featured panelist at the International Conference on East Asian Architectural Culture in Gwangju, Korea. As 1st Vice President of the International Society of Architectural Historians, he cochaired its 75th Anniversary conference in Chicago in April. He has engaged UW students in his research on Japanese urban space by leading a group in March to Tokyo, Hida Takayama, and Kanazawa for an architectural study tour and studio to reimagine the Kubota Gardens in Seattle.

Robert Pekkanen, professor, Jackson School, was recently honored with the Institute of Social Science-Oxford University Press award for the best journal article in 2014 for his joint-authored article, “The Logic of Ministerial Selection: Electoral System and Cabinet Appointments in Japan,” Social Science Japan Journal. His most recent publications include the coedited book Japan Decides 2014: The Japanese General Election (Palgrave, 2015).

Saadia Pekkanen, Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor, Jackson School, is editor of a forthcoming volume on “Asia Designs: Governance in the World Order.” She continues to serve as associate director of the Jackson School of International Studies and director of the PhD program in International Studies. She contributes a monthly column to Forbes about the international relations of Japan and Asia and about outer space security.

Kenneth B. Pyle, professor emeritus, Jackson School and History, received the 2015 Charles Gates Prize from the Washington State Historical Society for his work “Hiroshima and the Historians.” Originally published as an article in Pacific Northwest Quarterly (2013) under the title “Hiroshima and the Historians: History as Relative Truth,” the text was also the basis for Pyle’s presentation of the 2013 Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture at UW. This topic has been the theme of a graduate seminar he has offered over the last two decades.

Azusa Tanaka, Japanese Studies Librarian, East Asia Library, gave talks at two conferences in 2015: “From the Individual to the Institution: Exploring the Experiences of Academic Librarians of Color,” at the Association of College and Research Libraries; and “Gaihozu, Maps of the Areas outside the Japanese Territory Prepared by the Former Japanese Army, in the Libraries in the United States: Discovery and Processing,” at Beyond the Book: A Conference on Unique and Rare Primary Sources for East Asian Studies Collected in North America. Her coauthored article “Unpacking Identity: Racial, Ethnic, and Professional Identity and Academic Librarians of Color” was published in The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Presentations and Perceptions of Information Work (Chicago: ACRL, 2014).

Other News

East Asia Library and Tateuchi Foundation

Through generous and continued support from the Tateuchi Foundation our Japanese collection at the East Asia Library continues to strengthen. For almost five years, Saeko Suzuki, the Tateuchi Cataloguer, has worked to catalogue over 5,000 pre-modern items in the collection to make them accessible. The Foundation has funded her position for an additional six months in order to facilitate cataloguing of other rare items. Also, new funding from the Foundation this year establishes the Visiting Librarian Program. This program allows the library to invite one librarian from Japan for six months each year for three years to assist with the Japanese collection.

Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture
Thursday, April 21, 2016
7:00 PM
225 Kane Hall, UW Seattle campus

The 2015-16 Way Lecture will be presented by Professor Chris Hughes of the University of Warwick. Hughes is well known for his work on Japan’s response to globalization and governance and on security in the Asia-Pacific region. His most recent book is Japan’s Foreign and Security Policy under the “Abe Doctrine”: New Dynamism or New Dead End? (Palgrave, 2015). He has also published another half dozen books on Japan’s military power, security, and international relations. He received his PhD from the University of Sheffield. Check our Events page closer to the date for information on this and other events at