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. Kristi Govella on Trump in Japan

The Washington Post published an article by Dr. Kristi Govella published about US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Japan. She argues that the visit sent mixed signals about key issues affecting the future of the US-Japan relationship.

Check it out 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.

Dr. Jojo Abinales Comments on Chinese Investments in the Philippines

Stars & Stripes quotes Asian Studies faculty member Dr. Jojo Abinales about Chinese plans to invest in a shipping company and an industrial park on the grounds of the former US military bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base.
For the full text of the article, please see

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!!

Tune Your Radio to… Asian Studies!

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, Dr. Patrick Patterson will be interviewed on KTUH (90.1 FM) about his exciting new summer online course “Beauty, Advertising and Desire in East Asia.”  Tune in between 12:30 and 1 pm to learn more about this course and the business of beauty and marketing in Japan, Korea and China!

Dr. Patterson has PhD in Modern Japanese History from UH-Mānoa. He is Professor of History at Honolulu Community College, where he was a 2013 recipient of the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching. His first book, Music and Words: Producing Popular Songs in Modern Japan, 1887-1952, was published in Nov. 2018 by Lexington Books.

Headshot of Dr. Patrick Patterson and a poster for his online course

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.

SPAS Graduate Student Conference 2019: Thogchai Winichakul

The Annual SPAS Asian Studies Graduate Student Conference begins Thursday, April 11. Please join us for a talk by keynote speaker Thogchai Winichakul at 3pm in the Center for Korean Studies to commenceannual program!

Thongchai Winichakul is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison , and currently Senior Researcher at the Institute of Developing Economies (ジェトロ アジア経済研究所(IDE-JETRO)) in Japan. His book, Siam Mapped (1994), was awarded the Harry J Benda Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. (AAS). He was a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Award in 1994 and was President of the Association for Asian Studies by its members in 2013/14. His research interests are in the cultural and intellectual history of Siam focusing on the intellectual foundation of modern Siam (1880-1930). His forthcoming book is, however, on the history of memories of the 1976 massacre in Bangkok, the tragedy in which he was a participant. He is also a well-known critic of Thai political and social issues and has published six books and several articles in Thai.

Poster for Keynote Address by Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, titled: The Stranger and the Virtue of Intellectual Alienation. Abstract: The position/location of knowing is an important condition of the production of knowledge in area/ Asian studies. It entails the possible politics and approaches of knowledge. But the center-margin location is relative and relational. It is also scalar, i.e. the center of one sphere or at one scale may be provincial to another. The dominant knowledge about Thailand produced in the country is the royal-nationalism of Bangkok. It is, however, provincial in the global scale. It survives partly by intellectual protectionism from t he "stranger" -- the alleged outsider or alien, or the alienated insider from an intellectually odd location at home. These strangers are interlocutors across different spheres and scales of knowledge who appear in various forms, even a clown or a ghost. April 11, 2019, 3 to 5pm at the Center for Korean Studies Auditorium.