Promoting Japan Studies in Hikone: Looking Back at the 2017 JCMU Symposium

JCMU Symposium 2

From June 3rd through the 4th earlier this summer, scholars from around the world were invited to come to our campus in Hikone and present at the very first JCMU Symposium. We are happy to say that the event was a huge success! Read JCMU Resident Director Ben McCracken’s report regarding the success of the event.

It was about this time last year that the idea of doing a symposium at JCMU popped into my head. I was on my way back to Shiga after participating in the Japan Jaycees Summer Conference in Yokohama where I helped put on the main forum about Volunteer Service One Day Projects. While there, it occurred to me that JCMU’s focus on international education could be further expanded to include an event that would bring together scholars and educators from all around the world. With this idea in mind, I returned to Hikone and pitched the idea to JCMU’s faculty and staff.

Thanks to the hard work of our faculty and friends, my initial idea came to fruition more spectacularly than I could have ever imagined. From June 3rd-4th earlier this year, we invited scholars from around the world to present their research at the inaugural JCMU Symposium at our Center in Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. With topics ranging from Japanese culture to English language education, those in attendance had the opportunity to attend a great variety of panels related to Japan studies.

Several distinguished scholars were in attendance. This includes our wonderful keynote speakers, Dr. Mutsuko Endo-Hudson from Michigan State University and Dr. E. Taylor Atkins from Northern Illinois University. Dozens more presenters from around the nation (and even the world!) gave presentations at the event. Our JCMU study abroad students were also given a forum to present their research findings, providing them the unique opportunity to make their own contributions to the academic community.

During the Symposium, attendees were treated to some of the most interesting presentations, discussions, and workshops we have ever had at JCMU. The Center felt alive with the energy that can only be created by bringing people together to share and learn. If you are interested in learning more about all that was offered at the first JCMU Symposium, then I encourage you to review the 2017 JCMU Symposium conference schedule webpage. It is our sincere hope that those who contributed to the Symposium last year will consider coming back and presenting again.

The energy created during the first Symposium has catapulted us forward into the thinking and planning phase for next year’s iteration. Now that we have seen what we can do, there is no doubt the 2018 JCMU Symposium will be even better than the first one. We hope to see you there!


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