Japanese consul visits UO, commends language programs

UO Japanese language students got a surprise visit in class from Consul General of Japan in Portland, Hiroshi Furusawa.

In December 2013, Consul Furusawa decided to honor all schools in Oregon that maintain a Japanese language program, to express his appreciation for efforts to better the relationship between Japan and the United States.

The acknowledgement is particularly important for Oregon, which has the second-highest percentage of people studying Japanese of any state in the country (only Hawaii is higher). 

Last December, Governor Kitzhaber first accepted the award on behalf of the state, and since then the Consul Furusawa has been personally visiting every school in the state that has a Japanese program to honor them.

“Our Japanese language program is commendable for its age, range, and strength,” notes Professor of Japanese literature, Thomas Walley. “We've been teaching Japanese at the UO for 40 years, and our program is one of the strongest in the country.  And in an era when enrollments in Japanese language programs elsewhere in the country are falling, ours have remained strong.  We're bucking the national trend.”

In Fall 2014, the UO had 438 students enrolled in Japanese language classes.

The high interest at local high schools and at the university encouraged the Department of East Asian Languages to create a new Japanese Global Scholars program.

“Japanese Global Scholars allows advanced students of Japanese to take courses relevant to their major, but with all coursework in the Japanese language. It's an immersive experience right here on campus, especially when combined with residency in Global Scholars Hall,” says Walley. 

For more information visit:  http://japanese.uoregon.edu/