Connections Across the Pacific: Japan and Japanese American Symposium

On the weekend of October 9-11, the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) and Asian American Studies co-sponsored the CJS 50th Anniversary Special Event, organized by Professor Duncan Williams of East Asian Languages and Literature. The symposium featured Japanese and American scholars who addressed a wide range of topics illuminating intersections between Japan and Japanese America in history, literature, and religion panels. Gary Okihiro, Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, gave the keynote lecture, “Rethinking Subjects, ‘Japan’ and ‘America.’ The event also featured two special guests: Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, provided the opening commentary, “US-Japan Relations:  A Japanese American Perspective.”  Glen Fukushima, CEO of Airbus Japan and former President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), recounted his personal experiences in his luncheon lecture, “Adventures of a Japanese American Positioned Between the U.S. and Japan.” Presentation topics included “Japanese Immigrants and the Opposition to White Supremacy in the U.S.” (Lon Kurashige, USC), “Issei Antiracism and Japan’s World War I Diplomacy” (Eiichiro Azuma, University of Pennsylvania), “The Flow of Books and Japanese (Language) Literature” (Yoshitaka Hibi, Nagoya University), “Immigrant Senryu Clubs and Japan, 1930s -1950s” (Teruko Kumei, Shirayuri College), “Internment and Identity Shift:  Through Transnational Memory” (Kyoko Nozaki, Kyoto Sangyo University). “Kagawa Toyohiko and the Japanese Christian Impact on American Society” (Mark Mullins, Sophia University), “Transnational Context of the Wartime Internment of Tenriko Ministers in America” (Ikihiro Yamakura, Tenri University), and “Faith within Barbed Wire: Issei Buddhism and the Wartime Incarceration” (Duncan Williams, UC Berkeley).