In or About Japan
A Summer Session in Japanese Visual
Culture at Temple University Japan
On-going Projects and Links
My familiarity with
Japan is relatively recent. Temple University has the longest
running and largest American campus in Japan (TUJ: http://www.tuj.ac.jp/newsite/main/).
Temples International Studies Office recruits Main Campus
faculty to accept two-year teaching appointments in Tokyo.
I had been recruited in 1981 for the Anthropology program.
However the timing was not good since I had just returned
from a years study-leave in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and
the family much preferred to settle back into Philadelphia
rather than start off on another adventure.
Ten years later, in 1991, I had
just completed Turning Leaves,
a book on Japanese American family photography and had expressed
interest in learning more about Japanese photographic habits.
My graduate school mentor, Sol Worth, had traveled to Japan
just before his premature death in 1977; he told me Japan
contained an extraordinarily rich source of material for my
scholarly interests in visual culture and home media, and
I just had to go. In retrospect, Sol was very right; I have
not yet recovered from the exposure to such a wealth of visual
Thus the opportunity to teach
in Japan was very attractive. In addition to the excitement
of teaching in a new location and with a very different student
body, indirectly I was being an offered a chance to initiate
a new program of fieldwork. I was especially interested in
collecting comparative data through my course on Pictorial
Lives and to study a version of non-Western
media habits. Current plans include offering summer sessions
on Japanese Visual Culture at TUJ
and writing a modest volume on Japanese Home Media.
Karen and I moved to Tokyo in
late August, 1993 and stayed until May, 1995; we returned
for another half-year in 1999. We lived in Higashi Fuchu,
Chofu and Shibaura and traveled throughout Japan. Upon returning
to Philadelphia, I was invited to join the Asian Studies Program
and continued to investigate connections between visual anthropology,
American Studies and Asian Studies. I shall forever be grateful
to Temple University for providing the opportunity to join
the faculty in Japan.
Relevant sources are mentioned
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