The University of Hawai’i

The University of Hawai’i pioneered the study of Japan in the U.S. starting with the appointment of Dr. Tasuku Harada as the first professor of Japanese Studies in 1920. Since that time, UH has developed one of the most comprehensive Japanese Studies programs in the country and offers courses unparalleled in its breadth, depth and variety. The commitment to the field is strengthened by the university’s current ten-year strategic plan that makes excellence in Asian and Pacific Studies a high-profile university-wide priority.

For information on the history of Japanese Studies at UH, see: Ota, Masao, and George Oshiro. “Mediator between Cultures: Tasuku Harada and Hawaiian-Japanese Intercultural Relations in the 1920s” (1999), accessible HERE.

The Center for Japanese Studies

The Center is a coordinating unit of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, the flagship campus of the University of Hawai’i, which fosters the study of Japan across academic disciplines. It is housed among other area studies units within the School of Pacific & Asian Studies (SPAS), which focuses on the international, intercultural, and multidisciplinary education of UH Students.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote a deeper understanding of Japan within a global context. The Center pursues this goal in the following ways:

  • by supporting and encouraging excellence in research, teaching, and the language curriculum for the training of future Japan scholars and specialists with an interdisciplinary and international expertise
  • by providing opportunities for enrichment through publications, student exchanges, research grants and scholarships; access to special library collections and international conferences; and exposure to visiting scholars;
  • by fostering a deeper awareness of Japanese culture overall through the Dr. Sen Soshitsu International Way of Tea Center;
  • by reaching out to the local community, in collaboration with other Japan-focused groups such as the Japan-America Society of Hawai’i, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation; in close cooperation with the federally funded East-West Center; and in representation in national and international organizations and activities; and
  • by supporting the study of Okinawa in partnership with the Center for Okinawan Studies at SPAS/UHM.

Accomplishing Our Mission:

CJS administers seven UH Foundation Endowments; the market value of these accounts are worth $4.3 million (as of 9/30/2012); through annual payouts from these accounts, CJS awards student scholarships, grants for faculty research and professional development, library projects, and outreach activities ranging from international conferences to art exhibits. Annual awards are given to all 37 full-time faculty and 14 Japanese language instructors in the amounts of $1000 and $300 respectively for their professional activities.

CJS also administers on behalf of the UHM East Asia Council the DOE Title VI National Resource Center-East Asia (worth $143,320 annually) and Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships for UHM undergraduates and graduate students (worth $328,500 annually) pursuing EA studies.

Program Size

Japanese Studies at UHM is one of the largest programs of its kind in the country, with the largest number of doctoral candidates (58) working on Japan.

Full-time faculty specialists in departments across the campus:  37

Full-time Japanese language instructors:  14

In the 2011-2012 year and summer 2012, UHM offered 72 courses (multiple sections in the lower levels) in Japanese with an enrollment of 2201 and offered 124 area studies courses on or related to Japan with an enrollment of 2753.  During this same period, courses on Japan or Japan-related courses were offered in twenty-six different subject areas, campus-wide, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the University’s Japanese studies expertise.

Recent Highlights:

“Life in Colors in Hawai`i” by textile artist and designer Akihiko Izukura of Kyoto, Spring 2012 (included indoor, outdoor exhibits on campus, public lecture, UHM class visits, workshops at the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Lyon Arboretum).
“Culture, Technology, and Transnationality in the Cold War Asia and Pacific” international symposium in cooperation with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Ehime Summer Internship with Japan-America Society of Hawai`i for UHM students