Past Programs

Shortly after the formation of the Center for Japanese Studies we began featuring world famous speakers in Japanese arts, literature, and politics.

Scholars as diverse as Dr. Donald Keene, Beate Sirota Gordon, Dr. Richard Samuels, and Dr. Eleanor Jorden have graced us with their presence and wisdom. The great support we receive from the community has enabled us to host these speakers for free lectures frequently attended by hundreds of people. We look forward to bringing more of speakers of this caliber to PSU in the future.

A partial list of speakers we hosted and their topics:

Spring 2018

A PSU Student Performance Featuring Taiko drumming by the PSU Taiko Ensemble
Led by Led by Professors Laurence Kominz and Wynn Kiyama
Kyôgen! Dance! Drums! 2018

Dr. Ken Ruoff, Professor of modern East Asian history and director of the Center for Japanese Studies at PSU
The Abdication of Japan’s Emperor Akihito in Historical Perspective


Dr. James Farrer, Sophia University, Graduate School of Global Studies
Tucking Inn: Small Culinary Spaces in Tokyo

Winter 2018

Yamato Watanabe, Dentsu-Ventures
Redefining Creativity: Reinventing Advertising Agency Business

Mayuko Yamaura, Co-founder of
What It Takes to Be a Global Entrepreneur: A Perspective From Japan

Hajime Kuwayama, Co-founder and founding CEO of Emotion Intelligence, Inc.
Contemporary Startup Scene in Tokyo

Fall 2017

Tim Boyle, The President and CEO of Colombia Sportswear
How Japan Saved Columbia Sportswear 

Dr. Junichi Isomae, International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto
Hear the Voice of the Dead?

Rakugo by Hayashiya HIKOICHI
Portland State of Mind: RAKUGO - Japanese Comic Story Telling at PSU

Spring 2017

A PSU Student Performance Led by Laurance Kominz and Professor Wynn Kiyama
Cosponsored by The Center for Japanese Studies, The PSU School of Music, and The Department of World Languages and Literatures (Photo by Minh Ngo)
Dr. Cody Poulton, University of Victoria
Dr. Katarzyna Cwiertka, Leiden University
Dr. Eiichiro Azuma, University of Pennsylvania
Nobuto Hosaka, Setagaya-ku Mayor

Winter 2017

Dr. Carol Gluck, Columbia University
Dr. Brett Walker, Montana State University
Dr. Cheol-Hee Park, Seoul National University

Fall 2016

Dr. Chari Pradel, Calirfornia State Polytechnic University
The Tenjukoku Shūchō Mandara within the East Asian Context

Dr. Laurence Kominz, Portland State University
How the Danjuros Created Kabuki Super-Heroes - From Humiliation to Innovation 

John Junkerman, Academy Award Nominated Documentary Filmmaker
OKINAWA: The Afterburn


Dr. Nissim Otmazgin, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
From Hello Kitty to Cool Japan: The Political Economy of Japanese Popular Culture in Asia

Spring 2016

A PSU Student Performance Led by Laurance Kominz and Professor Wynn Kiyama
Cosponsored by The Center for Japanese Studies, The PSU School of Music, and The Department of World Languages and Literatures
Dr. Yoshiaki Shimizu, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

Hell on Earth: Two Artists' Responses to Nuclear Disaster


Dr. Andrew Gordon, Harvard University

A Society Where Women (and Men) Can Shine: Japan's Impossible Dream?

Winter 2016

Dr. David Atherton, University of Colorado Boulder


Dr. Maribeth Graybill, Curator of Asian Art, Portland Art Museum
Dr. Linda C Ehrlich, Case Western University


Kabuki in English!
Presented by the Center for Japanese Studies and the School of Theater & Film at PSU
Eight live performances February 25 - March 5, 2016 (photo credit Minh Ngo)


Dr. Donald Keene, Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, and Tsuruzawa Asazô

Fall 2015

Mort Bishop III, President, Pendleton Woolen Mills
Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama, President Emeritus, University of Tokyo & Chairman, Mitsubishi Research Institute
General Eiji Kimizuka, Ret.

Spring 2015

Sheldon Garon, Princeton University
Financially assisted by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commision and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.
Ryuhei Kawada, Representative of House of Councillors, Parliament of Japan
Jay Rubin, Harvard University
A PSU Student Performance led by Professor Laurence Kominz and Professor Wynn Kiyama
Cosponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies, The School of Music & The Department of World Languages and Literature

Winter 2015

Jeffrey Alexander, University of Wisconsin Parkside 

Cosponsored by the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Rogue and Sapporo USA

Hikari Hori, Assistant Professor of Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University
Funded in part by the Inukai Family Foundation and the Portland State University Educational Activities Speakers Board


Ken Ruoff, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at PSU 

Cosponsored by the PSU Friends of History, PSU Institute for Asian Studies, Literary Arts, and the PSU Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society)

Fall 2014

Kunitoshi Kineya, Nagauta Shamisen performer
Presented by The Japan Foundation Los Angeles, PSU Center for Japanese Studies, the PSU School of Music, and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland
Jim King, Proprieter and Shogun's founder
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan series
Ken Ruoff, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at PSU 
Cosponsored by the PSU Friends of History, PSU Institute for Asian Studies, Literary Arts, PSU Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society) and the PSU Japanese Student Society

Spring 2014

Dr. John Breen, International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, Kyoto Japan
Tales of Ise: the Shrines, their Priests and Patrons in Post War Japan
Co-Sponsored by Portland Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL) 

Dr. Cemil Aydin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Understanding Muslim Admirers of Japan's Shinto Emperor: Entangled Histories of the Middle East & East Asia in the Age of Modern Empires, 1839-1919
Co-Sponsored by the PSU Middle East Studies Center 

Winter 2014

Mark Frandsen, Grove Properties and former owner and CEO of New Season Foods, Inc.

How Japanese Corn Soup Transformed an Oregon Food Processor
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series

Dr. Carol Gluck, Columbia University

Modernity in Common: Japan and World History
Co-sponsored by the PSU Friends of History, and supported by the Japan-United States Friendship Comission (JUSFC) and Distinguished Speakers Bureau of the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies. 


Ken Ruoff, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at Portland State University
What Became of the Samurai in Modern Japan?
A public lecture presented by the Portland Art Museum 


Fall 2013

PSU Professors Larry Kominz, Suwako Watanabe, Patricia Wetzel, Jon Holt, and Emiko Konomi

What Makes PSU's Japanese Language Program Among the Best in the World? 

A faculty member panel describing the strengths and innovations of PSU's Japanese Program.


Dr. Richard Samuels (International Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for International Studies at MIT) 

3.11 Disaster and Change in Japan 

Author of 3.11 Disaster and Change in Japan.

Generous support for this program provided by Inukai Family Foundation and Biwa Restaurant. Co-sponsored by the Japan-American Society of Oregon, and Consular Office of Japan in Portland. 

Part of the Tohoko Series presented by CJS and the Japanese-American Society of Oregon.


Dr. Shawn Bender (Professor of East Asian Studies at Dickinson College)

Portland State of Mind: Taiko Boom 
Author of Taiko Boom: Japanese Drumming in Place and Motion (2012, UC Press).
Co-Sponsored by Portland JACL

Dr. Toshimitsu Shigemura (Professor at Waseda University in Tokyo)

A Japanese Perpective on North Korea 
Dr. Shigemura is a professor in the Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo and a renowned scholar of North Korea.
Co-Sponsored by the Mark Spencer Hotel and the PSU Institute for Asian Studies.

Spring 2013

Mathew Shores (Instructor of Japanese) and Wynn Kiyama (Assistant Professor of Musicology and Enthomusicology)


Performances including: story telling, comic theater, classical dance, noh dance, and taiko drumming.

Sponsored by the PSU Center for Japanese Studies, the Department of World Languages and Literature, and the PSU School of Music. Co-sponsored by Shokookai of Portland.


Gabe Rosen (Propietor of Biwa Restaurant with wife, Kina)

The Biwa Story:Establishing and Managing a Japanese-Style Pub in Portland
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series

Dr. Leith Morton (English Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Evading Censorship: Maekawa Samio's Poetry on the Pacific War 
Author of many books including Tokyo: A Poem in Four Chapters, Akiko Yosano no 'Midaregami' o Eigo de Ajiwau, and Modernism in Practice: An Introduction to Postwar Japanese Poetry  

Winter 2013

Dr. Naoko Shibusawa (History Department of Brown University)
Surviving Collaboration in the Aftermath of War 
Author of America's Geisha Ally: Re-Imagining the Japanese Enemy
Co-sponsored by PSU Department of History, Oregon Nikkei Endowment, and Portand Center for Public Humanities 


Mr. Sho Dozono (CEO of Azumano Travel)
The "From Oregon with Love" Story 
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series
The highly popular television show attracted many Japanese tourists to Oregon and also improved business and cultural exchanges between Japan and Oregon. 

Fall 2012


Dr. Haruo Shirane (Columbia Univeristy)
Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons: Nature, Literature, and the Arts

Mr. Brant Reiter (Senior Manager of Production and Development at Fujisankei Communications International)
The Global Reach of Japanese Popular Culture: The Influence of "Iron Chef" on American TV Programming
Co-Sponsored by the Mark Spencer Hotel

Mr. Hiro Ito (Portland State Univeristy Associate Professor of Economics)
What Lies Behind the Territorial Disputes Between China and Japan 

Summer 2012

Japan in Motion 2012

Matthew Shores and Students
An Evening of Japanese Vaudeville 

An original Noh play, The Dark Man and a Kyogen play, The Washing Bucket
(Performed in English by students. Instructors: Christina Miles and Laurence Kominz)


Professor Laurence Kominz (Portland State Univeristy Professor of Japanese)
Dance! Drama! Drums! 

Kabuki Play: The Medicine Peddler
Taiko Concert: Debut of the PSU Taiko Ensemble 

Spring 2012

Mr. Yuzaburo Mogi (Honorary CEO and Chairman of Kikkoman)
Kikkoman's Global Business
Japanese Success doing Business in Oregon Series

"Abeya" Tsugaru Shamisen U.S. Tour: Commemorating the US Cherry Blossom Centennial
Presented by The Japan Foundation and the PSU Center for Japanese Studies; Co-sponsored by the Consul General of Japan in Portland & the Mark Spencer Hotel

Winter 2012

Dr. Selcuk Esenbel (University of Bosphorus)
Japan’s Global Claim to Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power 1900-1945  
Co-Sponsored by Middle East Studies Center

Dr. Davinder Bhowmik (University of Washington)
The Spirit of 1968 and 1969 in the Basetown Literature of Ikezawa Natsuki and Murakami Ryuu

The following programs mark the 70th anniversary of the wrongful internment of Japanese Americans:

Dr. David Adler (University. of Idaho)
National Security and Civil Liberties in Wartime: The Internment of Japanese Americans**

Panel Discussion
PSU Dept. of History masters graduates with scholarly expertise
in the Japanese American experience and the legacy of Executive Order 9066.
Moderated by Peggy Nagae, lead attorney in Yasui v. United States, which reopened
Mr. Yasui’s case for violating curfew imposed upon Japanese Americans during World War II**

Dr. Greg Robinson (University of Quebec at Montreal)
Japanese Redress in North America and its Larger Legacy **

** Co-Sponsored by Oregon Nikkei Endowment, PSU History Department, PSU Honors Program, PSU Millar Library Special Collections, PSU Office of the President, PSU Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, and Friends of History

Kristina McMorris
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves  book signing. (Barnes & Noble at Clackamas Town Center Mall) ***
*** Co-Sponsored by JASO and the Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Fall 2011

Dr. Woon Do Choi (Northeast Asian History  Foundation, Seoul, South Korea)
What Would It Take For Korea to Forgive Japan for the Past?

Ms. Mika Tsutsumi (Journalist)
Why my book 'Poverty Superpower America' sold 500,000 copies in Japan?

Mr. Haruo Kurata  (Senior Vice President of Ajinomoto USA Inc)
Japanese Success Stories in Doing Business in Oregon:The Case of Ajinomoto
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series 

Dr. Patricia Wetzel (Portland State University)                    
It’s not about YOU: Language clutter on the Japanese landscape

Summer 2011

Japan in Motion 2011


Permaculture and Butoh


Spring 2011

Mr. Tsuyoshi Yamamoto
Japanese Language Policy 

Dr. Richard Samuels (MIT)                 
Japan-China-U.S. Relations

*Co-sponsored by The Mark Spencer Hotel and Confucius Institute at PSU 

Dr. Ho Tae Jeon (Harvard University)
Koguryo tomb murals and Japan in Ancient East Asian Funeral Arts

Dr. Greg Robinson (University of Quebec at Montreal)                                                        
The International Dimension in Japanese Internment Research

Winter 2011

Dr. Brian Hayashi (Kyoto University)
Asian Americans in the American Spy Service in Asia
*Sponsored by Verne and Aki Naito of Made in Oregon Stores

Mr. Doug Smith  
The InSpec Story  
Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series

Dr. Yoshiko Kayano  (Meisei University)    
Restoring Ainu Culture, Identity and Community in  Greater Tokyo

Dr. Ken Ruoff (Portland State University)    
Japan’s Challenge to the International System of Racism

Kashu-juku Noh Production (Kyoto) 
Noh Play: "Aoi no Ue" / Kyogen Play: "Bo-Shibari
*Co-sponsor-The Yoshida Group
*Supported by the Japanese Consulate-General in Portland; The Japan America Society of Oregon
*Presented by: The Japan Society of New York / PSU Center for Japanese Studies Center for Japanese Studies  


Fall 2010

Dr. Gavan McCormak (Australian National University)   
The US-Japan Alliance at 50 and the Question of Okinawa

Mr. Junki Yoshida 
The American Dreamer (in Japanese)
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series 

Mr. Junki Yoshida          
The American Dreamer (in English)
Oregon Success Stories in Doing Business with Japan Series 

Dr. Yoshiharu Tsuboi (Waseda University)        
Intensifying the Japan-Vietnam Relationship

Spring 2010

Dr.Takeshi Hara (Meiji Gakuin University)
Housing and Socialism in Postwar Japan

Dr. Hillary Jenks, Portland State University 
Finding the Future in the Past: Preserving Little Tokyo and Building Japanese American Community











World Premiere English Kabuki: "The Sardine Seller’s Net of Love”
Produced by Willamette University Theater Arts Department
Directed by Professor Laurence Kominz, PSU

Ms. Beate Sirota Gordon
How an American Woman Won Equal Rights for the Women of Japan

Winter 2010

Mr.Bruce Brenn 
Establishing Nike Japan
Japanese Success doing Business in Oregon Series

Dr. Joan Ericson  (Colorado College)
Hayashi Fumiko and the Renaissance of Japanese Women's Literature
朱へ (Vermillion Passion) Music Concert

Mr. Adolf Hertrich 
The Vanport Story
Japanese Success doing Business in Oregon Series 

Dr. Eiichiro Azuma (University of Pennsylvania )
The Making of Japanese American War Heroes and the Rearmament of Occupied Japan:An intersection of U.S. Race Politics and International Relations


Fall 2009 

 Ms. Nishikawa Senrei   
Japanese Traditional Dance-Then, Now and Beyond
*Co-sponsored by The Japan Foundation  

Dr. Carol Gluck (Columbia University) 
Patterns of Change: A Unified Theory of Japanese History

Kabuki Performance (Tokyo Shotiku)
Backstage to Hanamichi~The Color, Magic and Drama of Kabuki
*Co-sponcered by the Japan Foundation and the Consulate-General of Japan in Portland
with support by the Japan-America Society of Oregon

Dr. Carter J. Eckert (Harvard University)
North Korea in Historical Perspective

Mr. Yasuyo Yamazaki (President of Sun-Based Economy Association)
Lessons in Energy Efficiency from Japan
*Co-sponcered by Institute for Asian Studies

Dr.Toshimitsu Shigemura  (Waseda University)
Japan and the Korean Peninsula

Fall 2008

Kihachiro Nishiura
Culture Today 

Katsurakan, Diego Pinon, Hitujiya Shirotama
 in Japan and Around the World  

Japan in Motion '08

Professor Yukihiro Goto (SFSU) and Students
Suzuki Acting Today

A Kabuki Classic: The Medicine Peddler (Uiro-uri)

A Kabuki Classic: The Meddicine Peddler (Uiro-uri)


Fall 2007

The Theater Prints of Tsukioka Kogyo
This exhibition featured over 40 of Kogyo's noh and kyogen prints, all from a collection owned by Professors Richard and Mae Smethurst of the University of Pittsburgh.

Fall 2006

Fall 2005

Spring 2005

Winter 2005

Fall 2004

Spring 2004

Winter 2004

Fall 2003

Spring 2003

Winter 2003

Fall 2002

Fall 2001

Spring 2001

Winter 2001

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Exhibition
Featuring Nagasaki A-bomb Survivor, Mr. Sasao Akira; Prof. Lisa Yoneyama, Competing Views on the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima; and the movie: Black Rain

Dr. Mae Smethurst, Roots of Anime is Traditional Japanese Theater
Dr. Richard Smethurst, Going Along, or Going Alone: Japan and World War II
Dr. Franziska Seraphim, The Political Landscape of War Memory in Japan
Japan in Motion '05 (Summer 2005)
Butoh of the Future by Kasai Akira and Students
Buyo Dance and Kabuki: The Medicine Peddler by PSU students of JPN 410/510
Dr. Kenji Tominomori, Will Japan Really Reform? - A Clash Between Old and New
Dr. Dick Samuels, Japanese Security Policies - The Times They Are a Changing
Yoko Tawada, Japan in Europe: Fiction and Jazz
Tim Clark, Translating Between Japanese and English
Dr. Takkeshi Hara, The Use of Time in Governing the Japanese Empire
Tim Clark, Lessons from the Seven Dwarfs: Translating Between Japanese and English
Dr. Eleanor Jorden, A Forward-Looking Perspective
Sanshotei Charaku, English Rakugo
Dr. Laura Hein, What is the Point of an Economy?: Citizenship and Consumption in Postwar Japan
Japan in Motion '04 (Summer 2004)
The Secrets of Dance: Post-Butoh Contemporary Dance, performed by Setsuko Yamada, Yukiko Amano, and students
Kyogen Comedy and Dance: The Fortified Beard, performed by PSU students
Center for Japanese Studies First Gala Dinner and Scholarship Awards - Ceremony, featuring Dr. Donald Keene, Shogun Yoshimasa and the Creation of the Soul of Japan
Dr. Donald Keene, The United States and Japan: Their Postwar Literary Connetion
Dr. Takie Su
giyama Lebra, Addressing "You" in Japanese: Triadization and Lococetrism
Tree Planting Ceremony honoring 150 years of formal U.S.-Japanese relations (March 31, 2004)
Mark Oshima (Kiyomoto Shimatayu), Song, Dance, and Acting: The Basic Ingredients of Kabuki
Dr. Yumiko Kawamoto, What Japan Knew about America Before It Opened
Gil Latz, Challenges for Japan: Democracy, Business, Gender, Aging, and International Relations
Anne Galisky, The Myth of Japanese-Amercian Sabotage at Pearl Harbor and the Internment of U.S. Citizens
Dr. Ken Ruoff, Japan's Equivalent of the Nuremberg Rallies: Mass Celebrations of the 2600th Anniversary of the Empire in Japan, 1940
Beate Sirota Gordon, How Japan Got It's Postwar Constitution: A Participant's Account
Dr. Antonia Levi, Myths for the New Millenium: Understanding Japanese Animation (Anime)
Dr. Andrew Gordon, Selling the American Way: The Singer Sewing Machine Company in Japan, 1900-1960
Japan in Motion '03 (Summer 2003)
The Spirit of Butoh, performed by Iwashita Toru and PSU students
Buyo Dance and Kabuki: Smashing the Carriage, by students of JPN 410/510
Minister Naoyuki Agawa, 150 Years of Japan-US Relations: Rediscovery of America by the Japanese
Dr. Larry Kominz, Yet Another Mishima: Comic Playwright Extraordinaire
Dr. Eleanor Jorden, Cultural Issues Involved in Learning Japanese
Dr. Karen Kelsky, Alternative Japan: Two Countercultures
Dr. Ezra Vogel, Contemporary China-Japan Relations
Seunghye Sun, The Art of Japanese Literati (Bunjin)
Dr. Patricia Steinhoff, Who Really Kidnapped Those Japanese to North Korea
Dr. Richard Samuels, Machiavelli's Children Leaders and Their Legacies in Italy and Japan
Jiro Yamaguchi, Is Reform Possible in Japan?
Round Table Discussion - Japan-US Relations: Now and Into the Future, featuring Peter Duus, Consul General Toyojiro Soejima, Professor Gil Latz, moderated by Dr. Ken Ruoff
Peter Duus, In America's Shadow: US-Japan Relations in the Post War Period
Dr. Andrew Horvat, Japanese Beyond Words: How to Walk and Talk Like a Native Speaker
Dr. Donald Keene, The Many Faces of Yukio Mishima
Dr. Donald Keene, The Modernity of the Tale of Genji
- Round table discussion with special tea ceremony demonstration, Tea Ceremony and Patterns of Japanese Group Communication, featuring Paul Varley
Paul Varley, Rikyu's Tea House