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.
The Kizuna organizations said aloha to Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda and Mrs. Michiko Shigeeda on July 1, 2015. The Consul General and his wife were honored for their exemplary service in Honolulu since October 2012 with various songs, dances, personal messages, invocations, gifts, and even a bushi kanpai given by Admiral Harry B. Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the U.S.-Japan Council and wife of the late Governor Daniel Inouye offered her personal thanks to the departing couple. There was a hula performance by Kristin Alm of the Sakura Hawaii Alumnae and member of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, an Okinawan dance by Lisa Nakandakari & Julie Okamura of the Nakasone Dance Academy, and song and dance performed by Alvin Okami, singer and founder of KoAloha Ukulele, and his wife Pat. Reverend Takamasa Yamamura, Head Minister at Honolulu Myohoji Mission, offered his own moving lyrical invocation, while the Consul General himself gave a beautiful, custom rendition of Hole Hole Bushi. The Kizuna group bestowed a number of gifts on the couple, including two custom ukelele crafted by Pat Okami, while CJS and COS made sure Consul General and Mrs. Shigeeda had some UHM memorabilia.
Thank you Consul General and Michiko Shigeeda for your service and best of luck on your next assignment!