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Notes from the Chair

December 8, 2016

Ken Tadashi OshimaI am pleased to report that Japan Studies at the University of Washington is thriving as an interdisciplinary, university-wide program that builds on its strategic position on the Pacific Rim and its vibrant academic and professional communities. This year I report to you on the program while in transit from Tokyo to Rome during the 150th year of diplomatic relations between Italy and Japan.

In 2015-16, we considered the many important dimensions of “Sustaining Japan: Past, Present, Future” through the continued generous support of the Mitsubishi Corporation. In October, Professor Hiroshi Komiyama, past president of the University of Tokyo, began the series with his lecture “Beyond the Limits to Growth: New Ideas for Sustainability from Japan.” In January, UCLA Professor Hitoshi Abe led a two-day discussion on lessons learned during five years of recovery since the 3.11 disasters. In May, global architect Kengo Kuma, designer of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics stadium, presented two lectures on “Infrastructure for a New Japan 2020.”

A full slate of events in 2016-2017 highlights the broad range of scholarship and engagement within our community. The rakugo performance in November by world-renowned Katsura Sunshine entertained audiences at the UW and will appear on NHK World TV a part of the “Dive into Ukiyo-e” series. Mark Metzler, who joins our faculty as professor of Japanese history in autumn 2017, will deliver the Griffith and Patricia Way Lecture on April 3, 2017. This lecture follows the 2016 Way Lecture by Christopher Hughes of the University of Warwick on “Abe’s Leadership and Japan’s Security: Japan’s Foreign and Security Policy under the ’Abe Doctrine.’”

In the 2016-17 academic year, we welcome several visiting scholars: Atsushi Osanai, professor of technology management and strategic management at Waseda University; Reiko Yamanaka of Hosei University and director of the Nogami Memorial Noh Research Institute (who will participate in a graduate seminar on Noh drama led by Professor Paul Atkins in spring quarter); and Fuminori Yamazaki, associate professor in the college of Business Administration at Ritsumeikan University.

The Japan Studies Program continues to build on its legacy as one of the oldest in the country through diversities in dynamic research, teaching, and outreach as it looks to both future possibilities of the program and Japan itself.


Ken Tadashi Oshima