Vera Hanaoka, a PhD student in Japanese language and linguistics in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, was selected as the Kobe College Corporation Japan Education Exchange Graduate Fellow for 2018–19. She is the only recipient of this nation-wide competition for $30,000.
Hanaoka says, “I’m honored that I was chosen for this generous fellowship and am excited to pursue my dream of doing research in Japan on the identities of advanced learners of Japanese.”
Hanaoka, who specializes in Japanese language pedagogy and discourse analysis, explains that identity construction is the dynamic process in which speakers’ identities are jointly-created in spoken interaction through the language that they use. For example, the use of rough or coarse language can construct a masculine identity and the use of delicate language can construct a feminine identity.
In addition to the Kobe fellowship, she received the 2018–19 Japanese Language Scholarship in the amount of $5,000 from the Aurora Foundation. The monetary support from these awards will help her goal to earn a PhD in spring 2021.
Hanaoka has an MA in teaching Japanese as a foreign language from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and an MA in Japanese linguistics from UH Mānoa.