Category Archives: Students

“To Create an Immigrant-Friendly Japan, Start with Education Reform”: ASP MA student Asia Dobbs’ article in The Diplomat

Discrimination against foreigners, and even against foreign-returned Japanese, has become a problem in Japan. Why is this happening? In The Diplomat on Sept 9, 2019, Asian Studies Program MA student Asia Dobbs offers some answers based in Japan’s education system:

” Although education is not often discussed in connection with immigration, the roots of the problem lie in the secondary school system, which elicits and encourages these types of discriminatory behaviors. The Japanese school system incorporates militaristic and conformist ethics and permits strong government control over education through textbook and curricula censorship. Regarding curricula, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) controls all K-12 educational materials. Schools have to follow guidelines called gakushu youryou, which tell schools what and how to teach — and which also excludes comprehensive humanistic education about topics such as human rights. Through this strong control, the ministry works to shape obedient students who will easily conform to social norms, not only in schools but also in their supposedly homogeneous society.”

For the full article, please visit The Diplomat here.

New Master’s in Asian International Affairs Now Accepting Applications!

The Asian Studies Program is thrilled to announce the opening of a new Master’s in Asian International Affairs (MAIA) degree program!

This program is designed for working professionals who have no background in Asian studies but whose careers would be enhanced by a deeper understanding of contemporary Asia. Classes will be held in the evenings, on weekends or online, and there is no Asian language proficiency requirement.

We are now accepting applications until July 19 for Fall 2019 (classes start August 26).

Applications for Spring 2020 (classes start January 13) will be accepted on a rolling basis, with a priority deadline of September 1, 2019.

For more details about the program and how to apply, please see the Academics–>Graduate section of this website, or contact Asian Studies Graduate Chair Dr. Young-a Park at

Dr Patrick Patterson on Asian Beauty

Click the link below to hear Honolulu Community College professor Dr Patrick Patterson talk to KTUH host Crystal Kwok about concepts of Beauty in Asia!
(Dr Patterson’s interview begins at 6 minutes 30 seconds)

Like this topic? Enroll now for Dr. Patterson’s summer online course at UHM, ASAN 320Z (602), Advertising, Beauty and Desire in East Asia!!
Enrollment period ends at noon on Friday May 10.

Asian Studies Student Jeremiah Bonilla wins for research presentation

At the Spring Undergraduate Showcase hosted by the UH-Manoa Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Asian Studies student Jeremiah Bonilla took first place for his research presentation titled “Guns, Art, and Empathy: How Filipinos Opposed the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945)”.

For details, see

Congratulations, Jeremiah!!

Asian Studies Student Jeremiah Bonilla Wins Research Grant

Picture of Asian Studies Student Jeremiah Bonilla, Research Grant Recipient

Jeremiah Bonilla, a graduating senior majoring in Asian Studies with a minor in Peace Studies, was recently awarded a $4,427 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant to support his independent project, “Guns, Art, and Empathy: How Filipinos Opposed the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945).” The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) coordinates and promotes opportunities for undergraduate students across all disciplines at UH Manoa to engage in faculty-mentored research and creative works.

Jeremiah’s project idea emerged from his own interests. He applied for the UROP grant because it allowed him to research a topic that he was really curious about, to deconstruct and understand the relationship between the United States and the Philippines during the Pacific War. He says, “To put it in simple words: I am conducting my own research while at the same time getting paid for it. For me, it’s a rewarding and fun experience because I am doing something that I am passionate about. Another rewarding aspect of my UROP experience is the skills that I get to develop through the process, whether in creating a grant proposal or writing a research paper. I know that these skills will come in handy especially during my graduate study and for my future career.” He is working on this project under the guidance of his faculty mentor Dr. Kristi Govella, an Assistant Professor in the Asian Studies Program.

Jeremiah decided to major in Asian Studies because he felt that it was the perfect path to not only learn about different cultures within Asia but also gain an understanding of history and international politics. Reflecting back on his experience, he notes, “The most rewarding part of my experience in Asian Studies was being able to take courses from different fields of study. I took history and political science courses, and for me, they were like puzzle pieces that provided a narrative of Asia. Hence, for us students majoring in Asian Studies, we have this freedom and flexibility that other students don’t necessarily get. Finally, I am glad that I had the opportunity to work with some of the most intelligent and approachable professors in the field.”

Jeremiah hopes to continue his studies at the graduate level and to eventually pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

Asian Studies course featured in Ka Leo

ASAN 464, a summer session course on K-Pop and J-Pop, was recently featured in Ka Leo, the student newspaper. This unique course combines business, cultural studies and pop culture studies and was a whole lot of fun for fans or wannabe-fans.

Read the full article here:  “America’s First K-POP and J-POP Class” by Kailanianna Ablog, Ka Leo, July 24, 2018.