Japan Foundation - Institutional Project Support - SFPJS

The Asian Studies Program has received an Institutional Project Support Program Grant from the Japan Foundation, for a collaborative project called "The South Florida Partnership in Japanese Studies (SFPJS) Housed at FIU."

This project lasting from 2013-2017 will greatly enhance knowledge and critical analysis of Japanese history and culture through developing an interdisciplinary curriculum and supporting a multi-institutional consortium for promoting research, teaching, and outreach. The project is directed by Dr. Steven Heine, who has been involved in numerous Japan Foundation-funded grants. The SFPJS partners include Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, and the Florida Delegation of the Southeast U.S. / Japan Association (SEUS / Japan). The SFPJS also collaborates with outreach organizations including local community colleges, such as Miami-Dade College and Broward College, in addition to the Association of Florida Teachers of Japanese, Miami Hoshuko, and the Japanese Business Association of Miami.

The primary goal is Staff Expansion through the establishment at FIU of a new full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Japanese History with an emphasis on the pre-modern period and engagement with transnational issues. The faculty member who holds the new position will expand studies of Japan as part of the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Asian Studies Program at FIU, which has been growing rapidly in recent years, and will also enable the SFPJS to create an integrated approach to scholarship, instruction, and service. Additional goals include Curriculum Development through course infusions at FIU and FAU; Research Conferences or faculty development workshops for specialist and non-specialist faculty in History and other departments; Library Support to build the vernacular and digital collections; Publication Support to expand the scope of the Japan Studies Review, an annual peer-reviewed journal; Study Tour or research travel to Japan for faculty or graduate students; and Miscellaneous items, including an external consultant and clerical assistance.

For each of the first 3 years of the grant, the following opportunities will be offered to faculty or grad students in Japanese Studies or outside the field (includes Chinese or non-East Asian global or comparative studies):

This news story was recently featured on FIU News: "FIU, Japan Foundation launch The South Florida Partnership in Japanese Studies" by Evelyn Perez. It was also featured on the Sun Sentinel on July 19, 2013: "Japanese culture gets boost in South Florida" by Scott Travis.


  • Position


    The primary goal is Staff Expansion through the establishment at FIU of a new full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Japanese history or international relations with an emphasis on the pre-modern period and engagement with transnational issues. The faculty member who holds the new position will expand studies of Japan as part of the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Asian Studies Program at FIU, which has been growing rapidly in recent years and will also enable the SFPJS to create an integrated approach to scholarship, instruction, and service.

    In the first year of the project, FIU will conduct the search for a tenure-track position in pre-modern Japanese History, with an appointment beginning in year two of the grant. The faculty will teach up to four courses per year relating to Japanese history and culture, including a section of a core course at FIU, “Introduction to East Asia,” which enrolls over 400 students per semester in several sections, as well as “Japan and the New East,” both of which are part the curriculum of the Asian Studies Program. In addition, two new advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of History will be created: “History of Pre-Modern Japan,” which will fulfill an essential requirement in the degree programs of both Asian Studies and History, and “Japan and Transnationalism,” which will emphasize Japan’s role that extends beyond its traditional national boundaries, such as relations with China and South Korea and involvement in worldwide commercial and cultural exchanges.

    The new faculty position will assist in the expansion of courses on pre-modern Japanese history, encompassing the Edo period with a special focus on the End of the Shogunate, or Bakumatsu, concerning issues of national identity, state building, the early development of corporate economy, and international relations, in order to meet the ongoing demand for introductory and advanced studies of Japan. The scholar who fills this position is also expected to be familiar with late-medieval Japan, involving 16th-century transnational issues such as the arrival of the Jesuit missionaries in Japan and the attempted invasion of Korea, as well as the Meiji period, including the initial cultural and diplomatic contact with the Western world and the formation of the imperial system accompanied by the transition of the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. This position builds on the fact that enrollments for a course currently taught on the “History of Japan,” which now emphasizes the pre- and post-war periods, have peaked with over 60 students registered each fall, spring, and summer semesters. The new faculty will also be greatly involved with the SFPJS by giving lectures as part of the educational program of the Morikami Museum and helping to coordinate a series of workshops held at various sites for specialist and non-specialist scholars teaching at FIU and FAU.

    Japan Foundation IPS Grant Timeline

  • Study Tour

    Study Tour

    Selected faculty and/or graduate students from FIU and FAU will have the opportunity to participate each year with Japanese research specialists to develop scholarship on specific areas in Japan. During the first and second years, participants in an eight-day trip will be accompanied by professors in the field to Kyoto and Tokyo, while the new hire will lead a trip to a location based on his/her research in year three.

    Sociology Group

    Currently planning to attend a sociology conference in Yokohama, July 2014.

    • Matthew Marr, Assistant Professor of Sociology
    • Bin Xu, Assistant Professor of Sociology
    • Graduate Student (TBD)

    Chinese and Comparative Studies Group

    • Li Ma, Assistant Director of Chinese Cultural Programs; Chinese Language Instructor
    • Hitomi Yoshio, Assistant Professor in Japanese Studies and Culture
    • Julie Zeng, Assistant Professor of International Relations
  • Faculty Research

    Faculty Research

    Research Conferences

    The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will host workshops on Japan during the three years of the grant, which will have a different thematic focus each time. A Florida-Japan Summit will be sponsored by SEUS/Japan and the Japanese Business Association at the Morikami Museum in year two, and at FIU in the third year. Faculty from community colleges and Miami Hoshuko will participate in professional development workshops.

    Some of the topics to be covered at various SFPJS events, especially the annual Southern Japan Seminar which will be organized in collaboration with partner institutions, include panel discussions with outside speakers on the History of the Asia–Pacific Region, Asia and Pre-Modern Global Trade, Gender and Marginalized Peoples in Japan, or Urban versus Ex-Urban Spaces in Japan and East Asia.

    SFPJS Project Administration
    The Project Director and Steering Committee members will work closely with faculty counterparts at FAU to achieve academic excellence in all areas. The Director is Steven Heine, Professor of Religious Studies and History as well as Director of Asian Studies at FIU. Heine specializes in East Asian and comparative religions and Japanese Buddhism and intellectual history. In addition to many lectures given at institutions in the U.S. and internationally, Heine has published two dozen books with prestigious university presses on Japanese religion and cultural studies, many of which have been reviewed by Choice, Philosophy East and West, the Journal of Asian Studies, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, among other outlets. On April 29, 2007, the Government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays, with Rosette to Steven Heine. This award was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the study of Japanese culture and the promotion of understanding of Japan.

    Other FIU committee members include the following experts on Japanese society:

    • Ken Lipartito, Professor and Chair of History, is an expert on world business history who has attended conferences in Japan and supervised a doctoral dissertation on Japanese business.
    • Matthew Marr, Assistant Professor of Global and Sociocultural Studies and Asian Studies, specializes in Japanese sociology ranging from immigration to popular social movements.
    • Asuka Mashav, Senior Instructor of Japanese, has consistently built the Japanese language program, in part through funding received from the Japan Foundation.
    • Eric Messersmith, Asian Studies Lecturer who specializes in interdisciplinary studies of Japan, regularly teaches a variety of courses on Japanese society.
    • Hitomi Yoshio, Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature, whose research interests include 20th-century Japanese literary works and cultural criticism, postwar literature and film.

    As an external consultant, Dr. John Allen Tucker, Professor of Asian History at East Carolina University and an expert in the field of pre-modern Japan, will consult with and evaluate SJPJS. Tucker will visit South Florida in the first and final years of the grant to help plan and assess the success of the faculty hire as well as the overall goals of the project. Tucker is a leading scholar in studies of the Edo Period, with numerous publications including Ito Jinsai’s Gomo Jigi and the Philosophical Definition of Early Modern Japan. Tucker, formerly of the University of North Florida, has participated in SJS and other Japan-related events at FIU, and is familiar with the growth of the program. Tucker will also give a lecture each time he is on campus.

  • Workshops


    Professional Development Workshops - Annual workshop held at the Morikami Museum (or other partner organizations well known for their distinctive contribution to Japan–U.S. relations) will host workshops and conferences for grant participants to develop research and disseminate knowledge to students as well as a wider public audience. Faculty from the partner institutions or other area colleges or community organizations will participate in the workshops. Participants will be required to make a presentation at the workshop and submit a progress report to the Steering Committee within one month of the event.

  • Library Acquisitions

    Library Acquisitions

    To enhance research and teaching on Japan, the Asian Studies Program will work with FIU’s reference librarian Holly Morganelli to expand the library holdings in Japanese vernacular as well as English materials on pre-modern and early-modern history. This collection expansion will also include digital collections of Japanese texts important for historical studies.

    List of Books

    • Nihon no Rekidai Shi (日本の時代史) - 30 volumes
    • Kokushi Daijiten (国史大辞典) - 15 volumes
    • Nihonshi Sogo Nenpyo (日本史総合年表)
    • Nihon Joseishi Daijiten (日本女性史大辞典)
  • Curricular Development

    Curricular Development

    The grant will also integrate Japanese historical awareness into a variety of other established courses at FIU in Art History, International Relations, Religious Studies, and Global & Sociocultural Studies, to create curricular strengths in late pre-modern and modern Japanese societal and intellectual issues, in addition to other disciplines. FIU will establish a competition for faculty to apply for infusion of Japanese components in three courses per year; some examples may include “State and Society in China,” “International Political Economy,” and “American Foreign Policy.”

    As part of the South Florida Partnership agreement, FIU will work with FAU’s foreign languages department and other Asian Studies faculty in order to infuse Japanese components into these courses. The grant will enable FAU to expand their offerings to include courses on Japanese culture and also to promote research on Japan by scholars whose primary focus is on China or non-Asian cultures. FAU will offer a new course on “Japanese Culture and Society,” which will help lead to increased enrollments in language and related curriculum and also infuse existing classes on “History of Modern China” or “Asia Pacific Rim Politics.” Furthermore, community college faculty will be invited to participate in workshops and FIU will collaborate with Miami-Dade College’s annual Asia-Pacific Heritage Month event series.

    Dr. Michael Horswell will coordinate FAU activities with the Chair of the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature, who supervises the Japanese culture instructor and helps oversee the Japanese Minor at FAU, and with the Director of the Asian Studies Certificate, Dr. Ken Holloway, to publicize the other professional development opportunities for FAU faculty. Dr. Holloway will help oversee the selection process for the course infusion awards and the study tour awards, and will also work to strengthen the Asian Studies Certificate through these new initiatives.

    Support for the creation and teaching of a new course on Japanese culture for our Japanese Minor and Asian Studies Certificate program. FAU’s Japanese instructor will develop and teach this course. This course will be developed in fall 2013 and taught in spring 2014.

    Two faculty members with competence in related fields will be selected through a competitive process to receive stipends to do research needed for course infusion.

  • Southern Japan Seminar

    Southern Japan Seminar

    The Southern Japan Seminar (SJS) promotes the research and educational activities of Japan-related scholars in the Southeastern United States. Drawing upon the strengths and needs of regional Japan studies, SJS fosters critical inquiry, multi-disciplinary discussion, and the dissemination of knowledge, concerning all Japan-related topics, both theoretical and practical. The membership is composed primarily of university faculty, with a few journalists, businesspersons, and other professionals with strong Japan-related interests. Members represent the fields of Japanese art, business management, education, history, language, literature, philosophy, politics, religion, sociology, and other disciplines. SJS is housed in Asian Studies at Florida International University.

    The Seminar sponsors conferences, at which members and guests invited from Japan and other regions of North America present and discuss their current research on Japan, and conduct workshops on Japan-related issues. In addition, SJS helps support the Japan Studies Review, a peer-reviewed journal of scholarly research. It welcomes collaborations other organizations and institutions that seek to promote studies of Japan.

    Board Members

    • Steven Heine (President), Florida International University
    • Jan Bardsley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Stanley Dubinsky, University of South Carolina
    • Matthew Marr, Florida International University
    • Mark Ravina, Emory University
    • John Tucker, East Carolina University
    • Brian Woodall, Georgia Tech
  • Japanese Area Studies Major

    Japanese Area Studies Major

    This is a new 36 credit, interdisciplinary major in Japanese Area Studies, which is a branch of the Asian Studies B.A. degree and will be offered beginning in Fall 2013. The major, which emphasizes Japanese language and culture as well as other courses in area studies, caps off the development of programs in Japanese language and non-language courses.

    Program Requirements

    Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses required for the major. A grade of "C-" or lower is NOT acceptable in any required course. This is a university rule as stated in the Undergraduate Catalog under the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Core Requirements (9 credits)

    • ASN 3410 Intro to East Asia
    • ASH 3440 History of Japan
    • JPN 3500 Japanese Culture and Society

    Capstone/Seminar Courses (6 credits)

    • ASN 4810 East Asian Texts in Translation OR ASN 4913 Research in Japanese Studies or equivalent
    • ASN 4510 Dynamics of Asia OR ASN 4390 Modern Asia

    Japanese/Area Studies Electives (9 credits)

    • Choose three (3) courses from the approved list of Asian Studies courses

    Language Courses (12 credits of Level 3 or higher)

    Students complete four (4) courses from the list below. JPN 1130 Japanese I and JPN 1131 Japanese II are prerequisites and do not count towards the BA in Asian Studies, Japanese Area Studies major.

    • JPN 2200 Intermediate Japanese I
    • JPN 2201 Intermediate Japanese II
    • JPN 3242 Intermediate Japanese Conversation
    • JPN 3243 Advanced Japanese Composition
    • JPN 3400 Advanced Japanese I
    • JPN 3401 Advanced Japanese II
    • JPN 3412 Advanced Japanese Conversation

    If you would like to track your progress in the BA Program, a checklist for degree progress is available in the Asian Studies office or online.

  • Japanese Studies Graduate Certificate

    Japanese Studies Graduate Certificate

    (New) Japanese Studies Graduate Certificate Program

    Program Description

    The objective of the Japanese Studies Graduate Certificate is to provide interdisciplinary graduate instruction in the culture and society of Japan within the context of East Asian area studies. This program is available to students who are enrolled in the Asian Studies M.A., as well as students in other programs who wish to develop a specialized focus on Japan.

    Certificate Requirements (15 credits):

    Core Courses: (9 credits)

    Must choose three of the following:

    ASN 5050 Methods in Asian Studies
    ASN 5130 Zen and the Arts
    ASN 5315 Survey of Modern Asia
    ASH 5446 Pre-modern Japan
    FOW 5934 Special Topics in Language/Literature: Reading/Translating JPN LIT
    SYD 5656 Global Japan

    Electives: (6 credits)
    ARH 5550C Art of China and Japan
    ASH 5905 Readings in Asian History
    ASH 5930 Topics in Asian History
    ASN 5120 Religion and Society in Japan
    ASN 5131 Zen and the Arts II
    ASN 5211 Asian Cultures and Influences
    ASN 5306 Applying Asian Cultural Values in Business
    ASN 5815 Studies of Classical East Asian Texts
    ASN 5910 Independent Research in Asian Studies
    ASN 5932 Special Topics in Asian Studies: Politics of Japan
    ASN 6930 Seminar in Asian Studies
    INR 5543 International Political Economy of East Asia
    INR 5544 The New Asian Century
    REL 5352 Religions of East Asia
    REL 6395 Seminar in Asian Religions
    SYD 6655 Seminar on Social Change in Asia

    Other courses can be approved by permission of the Program Director and Coordinating Committee

  • SFPJS Partners

    SFPJS Partners

    The SFPJS partners include Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, and the Florida Delegation of the Southeast U.S. / Japan Association (SEUS / Japan). The SFPJS also collaborates with outreach organizations, including local community colleges, such as Miami-Dade College and Broward College, in addition to the Association of Florida Teachers of Japanese, Miami Hoshuko, and the Japan Business Association of Miami.

    The Asian Studies Certificate at Florida Atlantic University includes a component on Japanese language up to the intermediate level as well as area studies courses, such as “History of East Asia” and “History of Modern Japan.” Dr. Heine recently served as a consultant for FAU’s Department of Education Title VI grant on Undergraduate Education in Asian Studies, giving him important connections with the FAU program. That grant project was used to enhance studies of East Asia and the Middle East, and helped to set the stage for further enhancements in the area of Japan.

    Since its opening in 1977, the prestigious Morikami Museum has been a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida, with rotating exhibitions in its galleries, tea ceremonies performed monthly, an educational outreach program with local schools and organizations, and Japanese traditional festivals celebrated for the public several times a year. The 17-acre garden, planned by renowned garden designer Hoichi Kurisu, demonstrates how Japanese garden design changed over 1,000 years of Japanese history, from the Heian to the Meiji Periods.

    SEUS/Japan is Florida’s leading private, non-profit statewide organization devoted to promoting trade, investment, cultural, and educational exchanges between Florida and Japan’s top business leaders and government officials. This organization has planned a series of annual Florida-Japan Summit meetings that will continue and be integrated into the goals of the SFPJS project.

    The Association of Florida Teachers of Japanese (AFTJ) is a statewide network and resource for language and culture teaching that meets regularly at FIU and FAU. Miami Hoshuko offers junior-high and elementary students of Japanese descent the opportunity to learn Japanese language and math using Japanese textbooks in the hope that students will be able to experience school life as though they were in Japan. As part of SFPJS, the Miami Hoshuko will send teachers to faculty workshops on Japanese culture education. The Japan Business Association of Miami is a rapidly growing business organization that aims to create business opportunities and promote Japan for Japanese and international companies based in Miami, Florida. During the third year of the grant, the Japan Business Association of Miami will co-sponsor and coordinate with the Florida–Japan Summit.

    The Consulate General of Japan in Miami serves the Japanese population residing in Florida, and also promotes Japanese culture and business throughout the state. The purpose of this page is to promote Japanese cultural events happening in the state of Florida, consulate and Japanese government events, and travel to Japan.

    Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program began in 1987 as a way to improve exposure to international culture and language throughout Japan. Since then, thousands of young university graduates from around the world have participated in the JET Program. With its successful history and its support from the Japanese government, the JET Program remains one of the leading language and cultural exchange programs in the world. Many JETs continue to promote intercultural and international awareness in their homes and careers long after completing the JET Program. Through the efforts of international JET Alumni Association groups, JETs are able to maintain their relationships not only with the program, but also with fellow former and future JET participants. The United States of America contributes over half of all JET participants currently in Japan.