On Friday, October 2, 2015, Dr. Yoshiko Okuyama, Associate Professor of Japanese Studies and Linguistics at UH Hilo, brought attention to not uncommon but commonly overlooked instances of Japanese mythology and folkore hidden in modern Japanese anime and animated films. The large audience appreciated the opportunity to learn to see Japanese culture and tradition at work in such a popular and widely consumed medium.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of a beloved colleague.
James R. Brandon, 1927-2015
James Rodger Brandon, beloved husband, trailblazing scholar, inspiring director, mentor, teacher, translator, actor, and friend, passed away in Honolulu on Sept. 19, 2015, leaving a remarkable legacy in the world of Asian theatre studies, a discipline he pioneered and fertilized with numerous scholars and artists he so graciously and carefully nurtured over half a century. Born and raised in the small town of Mazomanie, Wisconsin, he joined the State Department Foreign Service after receiving his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1955, and spent six years in Java and Japan. He returned to the U.S. in 1961 and began teaching Asian theatre in the Department of Speech and Comparative Literature at Michigan State University, where he directed his first two Kabuki plays in English, Kanjincho and The Zen Substitute. He joined the University of Hawai‘i Department of Drama and Theatre as a full professor in 1968, and remained with U.H. until his retirement in 2000. During his 32 years with what became the Department of Theatre and Dance, he firmly established its unique Asian Theatre Program, co-founded the Asian Theatre Journal, served as Department Chair from 1985 to 1988, and brought international recognition to the department through his scholarship and large-scale English language Kabuki productions.
On Thursday, September 10, 2015, Dr. Toshihiro Nakayama, Professor of American Politics and Foreign Policy at Keio University, introduced American diplomacy from Japan’s perspective. He highlighted the support for and importance of a continued alliance between Japan and the United States. His frank insights were buoyed by lively personal anecdotes of formative experiences in the United States. This talk was jointly sponsored by the East-West Center and the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu.
On Thursday, September 3, 2015, Dr. Tetsu Yamaguchi related his experience (in English, Japanese, and Okinawan) growing up in Okinawa, reading and being influenced by George Kerr’s history of Okinawa, and eventually translating that important work into Japanese.