Japanese

Kasuga-san with Iowa class ring at International House
Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, Kendall Heitzman, tells the story of Hiroyuki "Larry" Kasuga (M.S. industrial engineering, '53), a 93-year-old Iowa alum who is bringing alumni together in Tokyo, Japan. This past summer, after a week of touring the University of Iowa’s study-abroad partner programs in Japan, our delegation joined Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas for an impromptu alumni gathering at a hotel in central Tokyo. We were not sure who would show up on such short notice, but about twenty alums did. The hotel had failed to provide us with any chairs, and I worried about one man in particular, who leaned lightly on a cane and in his self-introduction had mentioned that he was 92. I needn’t have worried; for over three hours, Hiroyuki “Larry” Kasuga (M.S. industrial engineering, ’53) made his way around the room, introducing himself and eager to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and to hear the latest word from his beloved Iowa.

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The Japanese program at the University of Iowa will be seeing several improvements thanks to a $350,000 grant from the Japanese Foundation. Sawako Kojima of the Japanese Consulate in Chicago presented the award to UI Associate Provost and Dean Downing Thomas, who accepted the grant on behalf of the UI on Oct. 16.

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Come celebrate with us as Ms. Sawako Kojima, of the Japan Information Center and Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, presents the Japan Foundation Institutional Project Support Program in Japanese Studies to the University of Iowa.

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With rising interest in Chinese and South Korean studies, many universities across the U.S. fear waning enrollment in Japanese studies. The UI, however, has managed to buck the trend, with Japanese studies enrollment numbers on the rise the past 3 years.

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A new grant for the third-largest language program at the University of Iowa will mean expanded Japanese programs around campus. A more than $300,000 Institutional Project Support grant from the Japan Foundation will bring new faculty, facilities, and opportunities for more students to learn Japanese at the UI.

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The University of Iowa will host a Business Japanese Workshop for Japanese language teachers on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24, led by Motoko Tabuse, professor of world languages from Eastern Michigan University.

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As a first-generation student, I have always had to figure out things on my own related to college. My family is supportive and helps me as much as they can, but it has been a long and well worthwhile journey to attain my goals. None of my family had studied abroad before, and barely anyone had been out of the country. This should make me apprehensive, but on the contrary, I have grown to have a sense of wonder about exploring other countries. I have developed a lot as a person because of studying abroad.

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