The 2007-2008 newsletter profiles three new Japan faculty who have recently joined UCLA.
Greetings from the Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies. I am honored and very humbled to write to you as the new Center Director, having taken the baton from Fred Notehelfer a few months ago. As you know, Fred stepped down in this summer, after sixteen hugely successful years as Director, and will retire from UCLA in 2008. It would be difficult to overstate the contribution that Fred made to the Center and to Japanese Studies at UCLA. Without him the Center might not exist at all, and certainly it would not be thriving as it is. Fred’s fundraising achievements have been heroic, and his tireless efforts to "put UCLA on the map" in Japanese studies have achieved their purpose. But for those of us who have followed Fred’s leadership over the years, I think his most important legacy will be the sense of community that he has fostered with his open door for colleagues and students, his openness to all manner of intellectual pursuit, and his sheer enthusiasm for Japan, for UCLA, and for the Center. We will be sorry to see him retire, and we know that we will have our work cut out to live up to the standard that he set during his tenure. I know I am joined by everyone involved with Japanese Studies at UCLA in wishing Fred a long, healthy, happy retirement.
I would be remiss here if I were not also to thank Mariko Bird, who has served so capably as Assistant Director of the Center for many years, and who (thank goodness!) will continue in that capacity this year. While I am sure that nobody can replicate Fred’s impact on the Center, I am equally sure that nobody could step into the Directorship without Mariko here to explain how everything actually works, and to keep all of the balls in the air with her characteristic good cheer and endless patience. As the activities and responsibilities of the Center have continued to expand, Mariko has been ably assisted with writing and editing of newsletters and the Center website by Vince Lim. And beginning this term, we are very pleased to welcome Lorena Olvera, fresh off three years teaching in Japan, to assist Mariko with the financial side of things.
My other purpose in this greeting is to apprise you of what the Center has planned for the 2007-2008 Academic Year. As always, we will have a vibrant and eclectic Colloquium Series. At this writing, Fall Quarter is already fully scheduled, and Winter and Spring are shaping up as well. One highlight of the Fall will be a two-day symposium, sponsored in part by the Nikkei Bruins and dedicated to our recently retired colleague, Miriam Silverberg, on Dec. 7-8, entitled "Imperial Japan and Colonial Sensibility."
In addition, the Center will continue the Terasaki Community Outreach Program, begun last year. Last year, the Center supported five different projects, including a symposium produced by the Japanese American National Museum on "The Role of Media in Building Japanese American and Japanese Relations." We are grateful to our colleague Don McCallum for shepherding this program in its inaugural year, and for agreeing to reprise that role for a second year.
UCLA has been very fortunate to have Tom Rimer of the University of Pittsburgh hold the Terasaki Chair for U.S.-Japan Relations, and one of our activities this year will be to find the next holder of the Chair. In addition, the Terasaki Chair in the Study of Contemporary Japan, remains to be filled. We will also
search this year for the very first Terasaki Postdoctoral Fellow. One of the Center’s most successful and important activities over the years has been its fellowship programs, and we will make every effort to continue that tradition.
I would like to repeat the sincere expressions of gratitude from past newsletters to Paul and Hisako Terasaki, George and Sakaye Aratani, Herbert and Helen Kawahara, Ralph and Shirley Shapiro, the Nikkei Bruins, and most recently, to our Emeritus colleague Hans Baerwald for their incredibly generous support for the Center and its faculty and students.
Finally, we are very happy to welcome three new Japan faculty to UCLA: Hitoshi Abe in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design, Lieba Faier in the Department of Geography, and Torquil Duthie in Asian Languages and Cultures. We include introduction to our new colleagues in this newsletter, and we look forward to adding them to our community.
Best Wishes for a Successful Year,
Michael F. Thies
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2007
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