Please Introduce yourself.
My name is James Darnbrook and I am a second year MA International Studies – Japan Program student from the UK. I completed my undergraduate education at Loughborough University in the UK with a BA in History/Politics. After living, studying and working in Japan for several years I came to the UW. My areas of interest are the Occupation of Japan, and current Japanese Politics / International Relations.
Why did you choose the Japan Studies program?
I chose the UW’s Japan studies program because it offered the opportunity to learn from leading scholars in the study of Japan.
Would you say that you have changed (intellectually, personally, etc.) as a result of attending the Japan Studies program? If so, how?
My academic interests have changed considerably as a result of attending the Japan Studies program. I came to the UW focused on studying post war Japanese History but have been able to take classes in Anthropology, International Relations and Modern Politics while I have been here, and have developed a wider range of interests as a result.
What have you enjoyed most about your time in the Japan Studies program?
Engaging with students and faculty members has been the most enjoyable part of the program for me. Each student and professor I have studied with has brought a different perspective to my own and this has helped me to broaden my perspective intellectually.
What were your research topics for your MA completion Two Research Papers? What drew you to those topics?
My research topics for both of my papers focused on female politicians in Japan. The first paper was historically focused, and looked at actions taken by GHQ during the Occupation period that may have hampered female empowerment politically. The second paper analyzed possible reasons for why overall levels of female participation in national politics remains low in Japan today, despite recent examples of individual female politicians gaining leadership positions. I was drawn to these topics because I am interested in studying inequality in societies, and in particular, inequality in the field of politics.
What are your plans after graduation? How do you see your time in the Japan Studies Program as helping you in the future?
After graduation I will be working at an international NGO focused on the Asia Pacific region, and I hope to continue in this field moving forward. My time in the Japan Studies Program has helped me to better understand the politics and international relations of the countries in this region, while also allowing me to use and improve skills that I can transfer to the workplace.
What advice would you give prospective Japan Studies MA students?
In my opinion, studying the Japanese language is key to being able to research and study the subjects you are interested in. As such my advice would be to concentrate on this as much as you can before you join the program.