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A panel discussion "Women and Cultural Exchange"

Memoirs from a Trailblazing Generation


This event features a multi-generational discussion about the diverse roles that women have played in fostering educational exchange between Japan and the US from the 1950s to today. Due to laws, social conventions, business practices, and additional factors, women have faced different choices in work and family and different access to education, jobs, and politics than people of other genders. We discuss how gender is one important factor that comprises identity; others include age, class, and location. 

Panelists will explain how educational exchange has shaped their careers and offer suggestions for younger scholars. We will discuss the value of personal stories in disclosing hidden histories and challenging the dominant narratives that codify power structures. We hope to start larger conversations about educational exchange and gender and inclusion in the academy. 


This event is inspired byWomen in Japanese Studies: Memoirs from a Trailblazing Generation, edited by Alisa Freedman (AAS Asia Past and Present Book Series, Columbia University Press, December 2023) which features 32 scholarly memoirs. 


Panelists (alphabetical order): 

  • Janine Beichman, professor emerita, Daitō Bunka University 

  • Alisa Freedman, professor, University of Oregon 

  • Masako Iino, professor emerita and former president, Tsuda University 

  • Kate Nakai, professor emerita, Sophia University 

  • Anne Walthall, professor emerita, University of California, Irvine 


May 23, 2024 (17:30-20:00)

Room 821, 8F, Main Library, Sophia University 

Please register from here (or from the QR code below): 


  • 17:30 - Doors open 

  • 18:00-18:15 - Welcome remarks by Bettina Gramlich-Oka and Japan Foundation representatives 

  • 18:15-18:25 - Panel introduction and Power Point presentation by Alisa Freedman 

  • 18:25-19:15 - Panel discussion among Professors Masako Iino, Janine Beichman, Kate Nakai, and Anne Walthall 

  • 19:15-20:00 - Discussion with the audience. Moderated by Bettina Gramlich-Oka and Alisa Freedman 

  • 20:00 - Event ends 

The event is supported by the Japan Foundation and hosted by Bettina Gramlich-Oka (professor, Sophia University) as part of the ICC Collaborative Research Unit "Network Studies." 


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