Dr. Justin García, associate professor of anthropology at Millersville with cohort at 2019 Japan Studies Institute at San Diego State University. Dr. García is third from left.

Dr. Justin García, associate professor of anthropology in Millersville University’s (MU) sociology/anthropology department, recently completed a two-week fellowship with the 2019 Japan Studies Institute at San Diego State University in San Diego, California. García was one of 13 fellows selected from an international pool of candidates to participate in the Japan Studies Institute, which is sponsored annually by an endowment from the Nippon Foundation. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), of which MU is a member institution, manages and administers the institute. Nearly all of the costs associated with García’s participation in the institute were covered by the fellowship he was awarded by AASCU.

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected as a fellow with the Japan Studies Institute,” García said. “As an anthropologist, I really appreciated all of the seminars about Japanese culture and history. I absolutely loved the daily lessons in Japanese language, and I hope to continue studying Japanese. One of the most interesting things I learned about at the institute was the history of how the Japanese archipelago was inhabited by various waves of migrants over time, and how this has shaped the genetic diversity of contemporary Japan. I’m excited to include this information in my Physical Anthropology course at Millersville.”

Dr. Justin García, associate professor of anthropology, at 2019 Japan Studies Institute.
Dr. Justin García with artwork created at the 2019 Japan Studies Institute held at San Diego State University this summer.

The institute took place from June 3-16, 2019. Fellows resided on campus at San Diego State University and attended daily lectures and seminars that focused on the study of modern Japanese society from the Tokugawa era until the present day. Lectures and seminars focused on a variety of topics, such as the evolution of the Japanese economy, Japanese history during the pre- and post-World War II period, politics of Japan, Japanese arts, music and literature, the experiences of the Japanese diaspora living in the U.S. during the World War II era and the present day, and the changing nature of Japanese marriage and family dynamics amid rapidly shifting social and demographic change. Fellows also received daily introductory-level Japanese language lessons. Some of the many notable lecturers during the institute included the Japanese Consulate of Los Angeles and Japanese American film director Lane Nishikawa who led a screening and discussion of his film “Only the Brave,” which recounted the segregated Japanese American 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II.

The purpose of the Japan Studies Institute is to provide an opportunity for educators at public colleges and universities to increase their knowledge of Japanese society and culture in order to implement Japanese studies into the curricula of courses they teach at their respective institutions.

The cohort of 2019 Japan Studies Institute fellows included scholars from a variety of academic disciplines who teach at public universities throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Bahamas. Dr. Yoshiko Higurashi, professor of Japanese at San Diego State University, serves as the director of the institute.

 

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