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Graduate Student News

The Japan Foundation’s Institutional Project Support Grant brought two groups of graduate students to Japan for field research during the summer of 2014 and 2015. Junko Habu led one group, studying “History, Ecology and Food Diversity”—place-based, small-scale and diversified economies in past and present Japanese societies. Some field sites were in the Tohoku region, where people’s everyday life is strongly affected by the aftermath of the 3.11 triple disasters (i.e., the Great Tohoku Earthquake, the tsunami and the Fukushima Nuclear Power Accident).

With Prof. Susan Ubbelohde from the Architecture Department, Dana Buntrock led a group of students studying student-proposed topics in architecture, including the use of wood in sacred buildings, energy demand in contemporary ones, and what impact the Olympics may have on their surroundings. A highlight was an intense set of discussions with a number of thought leaders from Takenaka Corporation, arranged by Managing Officer George Kuromado, one of Berkeley’s many influential alumni in Tokyo.

This funding also supported out Second Annual Graduate Student Conference “Media & Transmission” in April.

Additionally, the Japan Foundation’s grant also supported student fellowships for incoming students in the History of Art, Linguistics, and Political Science.

Graduate students Valerie Black (Anthropology), Justus Watt (History) and James Stone Lunde (History) are continuing the work of the first Japan Foundation pro-seminar taught by Andrew Barshay. They have created a formal “Japan Studies Working Group” which will meet weekly, supported in part by the Townsend Center.

At the end of the 2013-4 academic year, a group of six graduate students from the Architecture Department won the 4th LIXIL International Student Competition. They spent the summer in Tokyo developing construction drawings under the supervision of noted architect Kengo Kuma, and two of the students spent the Fall in Hokkaido doing construction administration. Their building was completed in late 2014, and has been published in professional magazines in Japan, China, Taiwan, Italy, France, Spain, England, and (of course!) the US. You can see on-line articles of the building in Domus or ArchDaily.