Faculty, Student, and Alumni News

Local Students Excel at 2016 High School Japanese Speech Contest Hosted by ASC and JASP

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania (JASP) partnered with the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center to host the 2016 High School Japanese Speech Contest. The contest was held on Friday, March 4th at the William Pitt Union on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

This year 110 students from the Western PA registered to compete in this daylong competition. Japanese language students of all levels and students who are involved in Japan-related cultural activities participated in one of four speech levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced and advanced plus) or the poster contest. Participating schools were Butler Area High School, Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh Obama 6-12, Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12 University Preparatory School, Norwin High School, Shaler Area High School, South Side Area High School, and Upper St. Clair High School.

First place in the Advanced Plus category went to Nick Harn of Shaler Area High School, who also received the grand prize: an electronic Japanese-English dictionary donated by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. First place in the Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner categories went to Maura Kurp of Norwin High School, tied between Michelle Yang of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School and Kaishia Ieraci of Norwin High School, and James Gresos of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, respectively. First place in the poster competition went to Erin Graham of Upper St. Clair High School.

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Japan Foundation Los Angeles, the Japanese Consulate General of New York, Elliott Group, Temple University Japan Campus, Perryman Company, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc., University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center, the Japan Iron & Steel Federation and Mitsubishi Endowments at the University of Pittsburgh, and all participating schools and students.

For more information on the Speech Contest or the JASP, please contact Katsuko Shellhammer by phone at 412-433-5010 or via e-mail at kshellhammer@us-japan.org.

About The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania:

Established in 1986, The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania is an association of individuals, corporations and organizations that seek to promote local understanding of and mutually beneficial participation in the changing US-Japan relationship. The Society provides informative, innovative programming in order to encourage a better understanding of the business, cultural, social, educational and political practices and customs of Japan and the United States. More can be learned about the JASP at their website: www.us-japan.org/jasp

Positions: Asia Critique journal features results of Youth, Labor, and Politics in Asia conference

In March 2010, Asian Studies Center-affiliated faculty member Gabi Lukacs organzied a conference on Youth, Labor, and Neoliberal Governmentality in East Asia. The results of this conference have been compiled in a special issue of the positions journal (http://positions.dukejournals.org/content/23/3.toc), which offers a fresh approach to Asian studies by employing theoretical and multidisciplinary methods in creating a provocative forum for vigorous debate. Published in August 2015, this issue of positions was edited by Gabi Lukacs, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University oF Pittsburgh, and features articles by Lukacs, Cho Hae-joang, Xia Zhang, and others writing on subjects such as the dead-ending of the human capital regime, emotional and affective labor as new frontiers of capital accumulation, and the production of alternate modes of living.

CI-PITT honored as 2015 Confucius Institute of the Year

CI-PITT was one of only 20 to receive this honor of the 500 institutes located in 134 countries, and has won more awards than any other CI worldwide. CI-PITT was previously honored as CI of the Year in 2008, 2010, and 2013. 
This June, Madam Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, visited the Confucius Institute at University of Pittsburgh, where she highly appreciated the institute's achievements in teaching and used the English expression "Only One" to describe its excellence.

November 14-21: Pitt Celebrates International Week with international activities, global events, and a contest!

For one week - November 14 to 21 - Pitt campus will be alive with international activities, global events and the buzz of the International Week Contest. At universities and colleges across the United States for one week every year, students celebrate and experience the benefits of international education and exchange.  Pitt actively participates in this joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. International Education Week is just one of the many ways that Pitt prepares students to become global citizens empowered with international knowledge, skills and experiences. Attend events across campus under the themes of Cultural Awareness, Global Classroom, Global Leadership, and International Experience in order to increase your understanding of how Pitt can help you find your place in a global world, and to enter a contest to win a summer study abroad opportunity! Visit http://www.internationalweek.pitt.edu/ to learn more.

Inaugural William Stanton Prize Awarded to Zhibin Yao for History honors thesis

Graduating History honors major and Asian Studies Certificate student Mr. Zhibin Yao has been chosen by the History Department of the University of Pittsburgh as the inaugural recipient of the William Stanton Prize for the best honors thesis in History written in the 2014-2015 academic year.
In "From Filial Son to Silent Protestor: A Case Study of the Evolving Role of a Han Literatus in 17th-20th Century China," the honors thesis advised by Professor Evelyn Rawski (now emerita), Zhibin Yao displays a masterful grasp of the oeuvre of Chinese literatus Yang Bin, taking his readers on a journey through the life of an educated scholar whose path to fame suffered because of the political sins of his forbears. Based on in-depth original research in multiple languages, the thesis shows equal skill in its analytical and interpretive achievements. 
The Stanton Prize has been generously established by Pitt alumnus Mr. David Frederick in honor of his mentor William Ragan Stanton, an esteemed American historian who taught in Pitt’s History department from 1962 until 1994.

In Memoriam: Edward Mason Anthony Jr.

Professor emeritus of linguistics Edward Anthony was an extraordinary individual. According to his son Ted Anthony, he believed that by teaching people to communicate, he could help stop wars. More than that he taught perspicacity, patience, and kindness. Professor Anthony’s arrival in 1964 at Pitt was a game-changing event for the university, said Alan Juffs current chairman of the school’s linguistics department. While at Pitt, professor Anthony founded the Less Commonly-Taught Languages Center, the English Language Institute, and served as director of the Asian Studies Center in 1976. He brought uncounted Japanese executives to Pittsburgh to learn English, play softball and go to Pirates games, said his son Ted. In 1979, he was in the first group of Pitt “foreign experts” to teach in Beijing after President Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping normalized diplomatic relationships. He will fondly be remembered as an educator, an adventurer, and a pioneer of linguistics.

Linda Gallery in Bejing opens "The Lonely Horizon: Gao Minglu during the 1970s" exhibit

On Tuesday, June 16, Linda Gallery in the 798 arts district of Beijing held the opening for the exhibition “The Lonely Horizon: Gao Minglu during the 1970s.” The exhibition includes almost 120 drawings and paintings from his time as a sent-down youth in Inner-Mongolia, his time as a student and teacher at Ulanqab Normal Academy in Uangab City (Jining as it’s old name), and his travels before beginning his graduate education at China Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in early 1980s. It also includes important archival documents such as pages from his notebooks and photographs of him as a young herdsman, teacher, and scholar. The works include lively sketches, watercolor studies, and oil paintings of Mongolians, villagers, Tibetans, his students and friends as well as landscapes and city scenes along the Yellow River, Yangzi River, Shanghai and other places. Primarily done in a Russian Realist style, these works not only reveal much about Professor Gao’s personal biography, but also about the popular art trends just after the Cultural Revolution.  Also on display will be the documentary ’85 New Waves, made by former CCTV director Li Shaowu and Professor Gao. This documentary chronicles the ’85 movement in China, a pivotal period in contemporary Chinese art, largely remembered thanks to Professor Gao’s support and documentation of its participants and their projects. The opening was packed with Professor Gao’s students from different periods (1970s to the present) in China and abroad, closest family and friends, important contemporary artists including the ’85 generation, such as Song Yongping, Wang Guangyi, Xu Bing, Ren Jian, and important curators and critics such as Fan Di’an, the current president of CAFA. The United States Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, and his wife also attended, receiving a personal tour by Professor Gao himself. The Ambassador shared the same interest and experience with a herdsman’s life on the grassland because he grew up in Montana. The exhibition will be on display until July 20, 2015.

Dr. Patricia E. Beeson, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Nicole Constable, Director of Asian Studies Center visit

Dr. Patricia E. Beeson, the Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor (right), and Dr. Nicole Constable, the Director of Asian Studies Center(left), both from University of Pittsburgh, paid a courtesy call to Hiroko Tsuka, the Executive Vice President of the Japan Foundation (center). They exchanged information and their views on the Japanese Studies in the U.S.

James Hommes, Pitt Alumnus, awarded Toshiba International Foundation 2015 Outstanding Prize

James Hommes, Ph.D. graduate of History, was one of the winners of the Toshiba International Foundation annual essay contest. This year’s subject was “The message that Japan should send out to the world in 2020.”  Essayists were asked to consider what Japan needs to reform, what it should preserve as a country, and what does the world expect of Japan. To qualify for entry, young researchers must be engaged in Japanese studies and be enrolled or have completed a doctoral program. The goal of the contest is to promote Japanese studies overseas. The winners will be invited to receive their awards at a ceremony in Tokyo this spring.

In Memoriam: Chiao-Min Hsieh

A generous donation was given to the Asian Studies Center by the Hsieh family in memory of emeritus professor of Geology and Planetary Science at the University of Pittsburgh, Professor Chiao-Min Hsieh.

Dr. Hsieh joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1969 and taught geography courses for 23 years.  His academic research focused on East Asia, and he authored numerous publications including China Ageless Land and Countless PeopleChanging China: a Geographic Appraisal, and his last book Race the Rising Sun: A Chinese University's Exodus during the Second World War, which he co-wrote with his wife, Jean Kan Hsieh, an accomplished poet of Chinese classical poetry. Dr. Hsieh was awarded a Fulbright Research Professorship three times and was a senior fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He had a passion for creating atlases focusing on the natural, cultural, political, and historical features of China. Throughout his life, Dr. Hsieh was a true scholar spending much time in the Hillman Library and eventually donating nearly 60 years of his diaries to their collection. A memorial fund has been established in his honor to fund faculty research and travel to Asia.