What is CJS?

page last updated Spring 2024

Japanese Studies at UH pioneered by Dr. Tasuku Harada

The University of Hawaiʻi pioneered the study of Japan in the U.S. starting with the appointment of Dr. Tasuku Harada as the first professor of Japanese Studies in 1920. Since that time, UH has developed one of the most comprehensive Japanese Studies programs in the country and offers courses unparalleled in its breadth, depth and variety. For more information on the history of Japanese Studies at UH, see: Ota, Masao, and George Oshiro. “Mediator between Cultures: Tasuku Harada and Hawaiian-Japanese Intercultural Relations in the 1920s” (1999), accessible here.

The Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

The Center is a coordinating unit of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM), the flagship campus of the University of Hawaiʻi, which fosters the study of Japan across academic disciplines. It is housed among other area studies units within the School of Pacific & Asian Studies (SPAS) which focuses on the international, intercultural, and multidisciplinary education of UH Students.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote a deeper understanding of Japan within a global context. The Center pursues this goal in the following ways:

  • by supporting and encouraging excellence in research, teaching, and the language curriculum for the training of future Japan scholars and specialists with an interdisciplinary and international expertise;
  • by providing opportunities for enrichment through publications, student exchanges, research grants and scholarships; access to special library collections and international conferences; and exposure to visiting scholars;
  • by fostering a deeper awareness of Japanese culture overall through the Dr. Sen Soshitsu International Way of Tea Center;
  • by reaching out to the local community, in collaboration with other Japan-focused groups such as the Japan-America Society of Hawai’i, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i, the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation; in close cooperation with the federally funded East-West Center; and in representation in national and international organizations and activities; and
  • by supporting the study of Okinawa in partnership with the Center for Okinawan Studies at SPAS, UHM.

CJS also administers on behalf of the UHM East Asia Council the DOE Title VI Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships for UHM undergraduates and graduate students ($351,000 annually).

Program Size (last updated June 3, 2021)

Japanese Studies at UHM is one of the largest programs of its kind in the country.

Full-time faculty specialists in departments across the campus: 32

Full-time Japanese language instructors: 10 

In the 2016-2017 year and summer 2017, UHM offered 39 courses (multiple sections in the lower levels) in Japanese with an enrollment of 1878 and offered 64 area studies courses on or related to Japan with an enrollment of 1430.  During this same period, courses on Japan or Japan-related courses were offered in twenty-two different subject areas, campus-wide, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the University’s Japanese studies expertise.