Sad News

Dr. Robert J. Smith, Goldwyn Smith Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Cornell University, passed away on October 11, 2016.  Dr. Smith and his wife Kazuko used to make annual trips to Honolulu until the long flight made it unfeasible due to their health concerns. He was a kind, generous mentor and a warm, supportive colleague and friend. We will miss him.

Dr. Gay Satsuma had the following to say about Dr. Smith, “My husband studied with Bob at Cornell in the 1970s. When we got married, we were delighted that Bob and Kazuko could attend our wedding. Rather than do a slideshow, we hired a local comedian to entertain our guests. Bob and Kazuko laughed and laughed at Frank Delima’s jokes and imitation of old Japanese songs. Bob had a great laugh.”

CJS extends its sincere condolences to Kazuko and his loved ones.
Please see Cornell University’s site “In Memoriam:  Robert J. Smith” 

CJS welcomes visitors from Ehime to UHM campus


Ehime High School Students visit UHM
Ehime High School Students visit UHM


High school students from Ehime Prefecture and administrators from Ehime Prefectural offices recently visited UHM campus. Students were in Honolulu for a short exchange program with local high schools; Ehime administrators visited UHM to discuss the Ehime summer internship program.  Annually, CJS in collaboration with the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) send two UHM students to Ehime Prefectural International Center (EPIC) on internships which provide them opportunities to work in a Japanese government office and serve as cultural ambassadors from Hawaii.  Ever since the Ehime-maru tragedy in 2001, Hawaii and Ehime have developed exchanges and partnerships to foster understanding and friendship.  Thank you to Yu Sasaki, former intern, who gave students a tour, and thank you to EPIC Director Hitoshi Takaoka and EPIC Coordinator Noriko Omori for their support of the internship program.




Now Long Ago: Anachronism in Contemporary and Edo Japanese Literature

We are pleased to announce this Fall’s Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Lecture ‘Now Long Ago: Anachronism in Contemporary and Edo Japanese Literature’ being by scholarship recipient Christopher Smith of the East Asian Languages and Literature department.

The lecture will take place on Friday, October 7th from 3:00 – 4:15 pm in Moore Hall 319 (Tokioka Room). Please see the embedded flyer in this email or download it here for a full abstract. We look forward to seeing you there!




Continue reading “Now Long Ago: Anachronism in Contemporary and Edo Japanese Literature”

UHM Student Attends Japan-America Student Conference

The 68th annual Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) brought together 72 U.S. and Japanese college students to study, work, live, and travel together as a group.  They visited four U.S. cities–Boston, Washington DC, Missoula, and San Francisco for twenty-three days this past August.

Ms. Lisa Takagi, UHM undergraduate student double majoring in Japanese and Psychology, participated in the 68th annual JASC with a scholarship from the Center for Japanese Studies, UHM.  Read about her experiences below!

For more information on JASC, please see website:

Next year, JASC will go to Japan!


Lisa Takagi - JASC


I was more than fortunate to have attended this conference on a full-funded scholarship from the Center of Japanese Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. If I could come up with one word to describe this experience it would be metamorphic. The delegates of JASC were unified with valuable individuals who shared their exceptional knowledge unearthing their own unique passions and interests with others. My roundtable group, Law, Society and Our Changing Future, discussed controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia, and death penalty, attained with a concentration on the Right to Life and Justice as our final forum presentation. Not a day goes by without thinking about each moment I’ve spent this journey with them. My roundtable members came into the door as strangers, who turned into lifelong friends who I’m confident enough to say that will be guests to my future wedding (although not anytime soon!). My JASC experience was a compass, refining my directions towards US-Japan culture, my identity, and a deeper vision of the world ahead.

The Traditional in the Contemporary — Ninety years of Japanese compositions



We are pleased like to announce an upcoming recital at Orvis Hall that will feature the vocalist Mika Kimula, shamisen virtuosi Hidejirō Honjō and Christopher Yohmei Blasdel on shakuhachi. UH professor Mari Yoshihara will also join us on piano.

The program will feature Japanese compositions ranging from the early 20th century to a world premier of a brand new work. The pieces on this program, performed by professional musicans who are  thoroughly versed in the classical  genres, demonstrate the magnificent range of Japanese contemporary compositions that are modern yet informed by traditional techniques and sensibilities.

This  is a unique opportunity to hear live music of some of the most interesting composers of Japanese music created during the 20th and 21st centuries.

The concert will begin at 7:30 PM on Friday, September 16th
Orvis Auditorium,
UH Mānoa, 2411 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822 United States
+ Google Map

See the flier and performer profiles here:



  1. Vocal solo: Uguisu, Hayasaka Fumio, Lyrics by Satō Haruo (1944)
  2. Shakuhachi solo: Kakurin, Hirose Ryohei (1975)
  3. Shamisen solo: Neo – for Shamisen, Dai Fujikura (2014)
  4. Voice, shamisen & shakuhachi: San Juan-sama no Uta, Takahashi Kumiko (2015)
  5. Voice and shamisen: Rikugien (from In The Gardens of Japan, by Kenny Fries), Takahashi Kumiko (2016)
  6. Voice, piano & shakuhachi, The Rain at Jōgashima Island: Hashimoto Kunihiko, lyrics by Kitahara Hakushū (1928)
  7. Shakuhachi and piano: Tears of Heaven: Michael Reimann (1986)
  8. Voice, piano and shakuhachi: Shi-te-ten (from Three Songs from Medieval Japan): Kikuko Massumoto (1980)

$12 general admission, $8 seniors, UH faculty/staff/students (UH ID required), $5 UHM music majors