This year the IUC is experiencing its greatest crisis since 2011, the year of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The continuing spread of COVID-19 has forced us to close our doors and move online to protect the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Amidst this extremely challenging situation, we want to say how proud we are of them. The Class of 2020 and participants in the summer program not only stayed focused on their studies but managed to do so with great resilience. Way to go, students! Our faculty and staff have also gone far beyond the call of duty, making innovative use of materials at hand, adjusting their schedules and personal lives, and sending care packages to students in need. Thank you so much, faculty and staff!
We also recognize that the global pandemic has had a heavy impact on many in our extended community, so we want to take this moment to send our wishes for your safety, health and well-being.
Finally, we want to thank all of you for the support you have generously given the IUC over the years. It is because of your support that we have been able to weather this storm and continue to fulfill our mission. With the new academic year just around the corner, we are excited to be able to welcome more than 50 new students to the class of 2021 in September.
Bruce Batten, Resident Director
Indra Levy, Executive Director
Giles Richter, Managing Director
CLASS OF 2020
We congratulate the 59 students who successfully completed the 10-month program in June. The challenges faced by the class of 2020 were not purely academic. First there was Typhoon No. 15 last September, which caused water damage to our facilities. Then came COVID-19. The IUC implemented safety protocols at the end of January and then physically closed its facilities and began online instruction in early March. As the pandemic increased in severity and travel restrictions came into play, some students returned to their home countries, while others remained in Japan for the duration of the program. All students successfully completed their year at the IUC. During the closure, one student tested positive for the virus but fortunately soon recovered; there were no other confirmed cases among IUC students, faculty, or staff.
SUMMER 2020 PROGRAM
There were 28 participants in our intensive seven-week Summer Program, which ran from June 20 to August 5. This year’s summer program was fully online. In addition to the usual classes, the summer program this year featured virtual get-togethers with recent IUC alumni and themed activities ranging from rajio taiso to recipe exchange, board game play, and a Mindfulness workshop. Thank you, Emily Buttner and Paula Esguerra (both IUC ’20)!
IUC PROFESSIONAL TUTORIALS
Thirteen individuals also took online professional tutorials (the “P-Course”) with us this summer. Of them, ten were returning alumni. For any alumni seeking a refresher course, we offer a special discounted rate for IUC graduates!
CLASS OF 2021
Despite many challenges posed by the pandemic, the IUC is kicking off the new academic year with a full class. Due to the ongoing crisis and Japan’s continuing restrictions on travelers from abroad, IUC students will begin the year via remote classrooms. Students will be connecting from not only Japan and the US but also Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, and New Zealand. To support students spread out across multiple time zones, IUC teaching schedules have been adjusted to begin at 8:00 am Japan time. While school remains online, students will also have the chance to connect with each other via online hangouts, such as the Virtual IUC hosted on Remo.co, where the usual IUC rule applies: Japanese only!
IUC Professional Tutorials (P-Course)
The IUC offers a custom-designed tutorials program in advanced Japanese for scholars and professionals at a lower rate for graduates of the IUC. Visit our program page for more information.
The Middlebury Institute educates professionals to advance understanding, promote peace, and drive change in pursuit of a more just world. For details, contact Jill Stoffers, Senior Director of Partnerships at MIIS by email at email@example.com or by phone at (831) 647-6571.
This year has brought difficult challenges for everyone in our IUC community. Since August is national “Make a Will Month,” we want to highlight a free online tool for IUC alumni that may help you get essential paperwork taken care of while bringing you some peace of mind. Through IUC’s partnership with FreeWill, you can create your legal will in less than 20 minutes and check an important legal task off your list. California residents can also make a free revocable living trust. Protect your loved ones today! >> Freewill
INTERNATIONAL HAPPY HOUR (ONLINE)
Alumni, regardless of location, are invited to join an online mixer and check out the new virtual IUC Alumni Club on Friday August 21st at 5:30 pm PDT (Saturday August 22nd at 9:30 am JST). The event will be hosted by Giles Richter (’92) via Remo.co, an online event networking platform where participants can roam freely between virtual tables to engage in conversation. The invitation will be posted on the IUC’s social media channels with instructions on how to connect and join the fun. Alumni can also use the link below to sign up now for a free Remo account and register for this exciting event!
This event will be closed to the public. Alumni only.
IUC ALUMNI TALKS
Please join the IUC Alumni Talks Committee for the first talk of the web series on Zoom on Saturday September 12th at 9:00 am JST. The guest speaker will be Alex Melillo (’16), the External Affairs Coordinator for US Government Affairs at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Additional information about the event and the speaker has been posted on our social media platforms. IUC Alumni Talks is a new web series planned and executed by three alumni, Richard Sleboda (’03), Jessy LeClair (’18), and Lilly Hart (’19). The goal of these events is to help strengthen the IUC community by sharing the unique journeys of individual alumni. If you have any questions, please contact Lilly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This event will be open to the public.
2020 SHINNENKAI & CAREER COUNSELING WORKSHOPS
The New Year kicked off with a January visit to Japan by Stanford-based IUC Managing Director Giles Richter (’92), who hosted shinnenkai parties for the Class of 2020. Giles also held two days of 1-on-1 meetings and group workshops with over 30 students dedicated to post-graduation career planning, networking, and job hunting. Giles has continued to connect with IUC students and recent alumni via weekly office hours to help support them with their career development. Due to the pandemic, student networking sessions with local Japan alumni have been postponed, but will resume in the Fall via online sessions. Alumni interested in getting involved should email email@example.com.
2020 STUDENT HAPPYО̄KAI & GRADUATION
The graduation presentations by the class of 2020, like all other IUC events and activities since March, were held online. As always, student presentations covered a wide variety of academic and other topics.
>> summary of presentations
The graduation ceremony was also held online with a special keynote address given by Yoko Suzuki of the City of Yokohama's International Bureau. In place of previously planned in-person celebrations, a special online gathering was hosted for Mr. Toshizo Watanabe, who met with all 20 Watanabe Fellows on Zoom to congratulate them and to share some inspiring words. An online farewell party for the Nippon Foundation Fellows was also held the week before graduation. It featured a special message from Chairman Yohei Sasakawa.
ALUMNI HAPPY HOURS GO ONLINE AND INTERNATIONAL
The last in-person IUC event was hosted by Giles Richter (’92) at Septième Tokyo in January 2020. Although the pandemic caused the cancellation of a planned Tokyo alumni event in the spring, it has nonetheless resulted in the creation of a new format for alumni gatherings online which have boosted attendance by Japan alumni and also allowed alumni from both sides of the Pacific to participate simultaneously. Happy Hours were revived online via Zoom on April 24 with help from Lisa Wilcut (’17), who recently joined Sara Jessome (’14) on the IUC Tokyo Alumni Events Committee. The first online Happy Hour in April drew about 30 alumni in Japan, with a strong showing by the always-connected Class of 2020. On June 24th, Sara and Lisa hosted a second Alumni Happy “drink or coffee” Hour, scheduled so that alumni from multiple time zones could join, drawing another 25+ participants from both the US and Japan.
OTHER PAST EVENTS
The IUC also hosted several other events before COVID-19 shut us down. On January 31, Matthew Sussman, Executive Director of the Japan-United States Educational Commission (Fulbright Japan), came to the IUC to discuss scholarship and career opportunities with students. On February 21, Jay Alabaster (’05) and videographer Taiki Sugioka visited to screen and discuss the 2017 movie “Okujirasama.” Also on February 21, Carmela Conroy, Director of the Foreign Service Institute in Yokohama (FSI Yokohama), and current FSI student Kurt Aufderheide came to share their experiences as diplomats with IUC students.
Regrettably, the pandemic forced us to cancel a speech scheduled for April 10 by Patricia Maclachlan ('92), Professor of Government and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Maclachlan was planning to talk on “Consumers, Farmers, and the Future of Food Safety in Japan.” We look forward to rescheduling this event when conditions permit.
Due to conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all instruction at the IUC will remain online, with faculty and staff working at home, until further notice. If and when the decision is made to revert to on-site instruction in Yokohama, we will post a notice on our website and social media outlets as well as contact students and other concerned parties directly. >> Center updates
AN UNFORGETTABLE YEAR THROUGH THE EYES OF A RECENT GRADUATE
Katsuyuki Komine will be leaving the IUC at the end of August. According to Komine-sensei, “In my six years at the IUC, both as a part-timer and more recently as a full-time instructor, I have made many acquaintances and learned a lot, for which I am forever grateful. I look forward to seeing all of you again somewhere!”
In other news, Ari Sato, who served as Program Coordinator in 2019–20, will be taking a one-year leave of absence to pursue a second MA, this one at Kyoto University’s College of Education. Yoko Kato, who has taught part-time at the IUC on and off since 2006, will be substituting for Ari-sensei until the latter returns in August 2021. The Program Coordinator for 2020–21 will be Tomotaro Akizawa.
Finally, in the office we welcome Tomoko Kenmochi, who comes to us from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) in Yokosuka, Kanagawa. Kenmochi-san replaces Shinobu Ikeda, who departed in February after seven years at the IUC.
IUC LEADERSHIP BOARD
The Leadership Board is excited to announce that it is expanding to the East Coast in welcoming its newest member, Carl Taeusch (’67). Thanks to all for your continuing support of the IUC! The Leadership Board is committed to strengthening the network of IUC alumni and supporters.
Andrew Hazelton (Chair, ’05)
Hobart Birmingham (’66)
Oliver Chubb (’89)
Martha Debs (’80)
David A. Evans (’79)
Glen S. Fukushima
Peter J. Stern (’93)
Seth Sulkin (’92)
Carl Taeusch (’67)
ORDER OF THE RISING SUN
In April, Timothy Thorburn Clark (’85) was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by the Japanese government. The decoration was conferred for Tim's contribution to introducing Japanese culture and promoting the understanding of Japan in the United Kingdom. Tim is the former Head of the Japanese Section, Department of Asia, at the British Museum. He is the curator and/or catalogue author of many exhibitions on Japanese art, most recently “Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave” in 2017. >> Embassy of Japan in the UK
So many of our alumni have published recently that we couldn’t feature them all in our newsletter. If you do not see your book listed in our full list of recent publications, please let us know so that we can add it. >> recent publications list