The Department of Japanese Studies was founded in 1981 and turned 30 this year. The Department celebrated the occasion with a research symposium, a ceremony and a reception on 28 October, 2011 at the NUS Alumni House. The research symposium was chaired by Assoc Prof Thang Leng Leng and featured four colleagues from the Department of Japanese Studies as speakers. Assoc Prof Simon Avenell demonstrated how the volunteerism after the recent Tohoku tsunami and earthquake could build on experiences from previous events. Dr Timothy Amos introduced his research on the outcast communities in Japan and Assoc Prof Lim Beng Choo looked at Chinese influences in Japanese Noh Theatre. Finally, Assoc Prof Hendrik Meyer-Ohle discussed the dynamics in Japanese retailing and consumption based on a case study of a provincial city in Japan.
Anniversary Ceremony was opened with a dance by the Department’s Buyo group. Prof Brenda Yeoh, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in her welcome address, stressed the significance of Asian Studies for NUS with Japanese Studies playing an important role. Minister and Charge d’Affair, Mr Hiroyuki Yamamoto, from the Embassy of Japan in Singapore congratulated the Department and noted the changing interests of students and staff with regards to Japan over the last 30 years. Assoc Prof Hendrik Meyer-Ohle, Head of the Department of Japanese Studies, expressed the Department’s gratitude to Japanese institutions, the Japanese community in Singapore and the University for their continued support. He also commemorated the occasion with the launch of the Japan@NUS network, an initiative that brings together academics at NUS with links to Japan. The members of Japan@NUS are introduced on a new website (www.fas.nus.edu.sg/jps/japanatnus.htm).
Finally, Ms Sia Sheau Chwen, President of the Alumni Association, remembered her days in the department and acknowledged how the education received in the department has contributed to many successful careers of alumni.
The ceremony was followed by a reception that allowed current colleagues and students of the department to reconnect with its alumni and its many friends from NUS and the Japanese community in Singapore. Guests were also treated to a tea ceremony conducted by the Department’s Sado Club.