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Benjamin Schrager

Three years ago, while doing guided research of Japanese language materials in Yokohama, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate student Benjamin Schrager read about chicken broilers in Miyazaki. He was impressed by how they connected issues of agricultural industrialization, self-sufficiency and consumer anxiety.

Between January and March of 2011, Miyazaki poultry farms were struck by 13 outbreaks of avian influenza that necessitated the rapid culling of 660,000 chickens. While this created anxiety about food safety and the threat of contagion, decisive government intervention helped to reassure Japanese citizens.

“I learned that chicken meat in Japan provides a powerful way to understand broader changes in Japanese society,” he said.

Little did Schrager know that his research on chicken broilers would lead to the prestigious Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship and the opportunity to live in Japan for a year. The highlight of the scholarship, Schrager met with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to share his research.

Schrager presents his work

The PhD candidate in geography will give the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Lecture on Wednesday, September 13, 3–4:15 p.m. in Moore Hall room 319. The title of his lecture is “Broiler Chickens and Jidori Traditions: Everyday Practices of Eating Chicken Meat in Japan.”

Before the presentation, there will be an orientation session from 2 to 3 p.m. for students interested in applying for the 2018–2019 scholarship program. The Akihito scholarship is open to American graduate students at UH Mānoa pursuing study in a subject area leading to better understanding between Japan and the United States.

Light refreshments will be served after the lecture.

About the scholarship

The scholarship was established in 1959 by local business and community leaders to commemorate the wedding of then Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko.

Three Mānoa faculty members are trustees of the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation:

For more information on the scholarship or lecture, contact Gay Satsuma at (808) 956-2664 or

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