Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Japanese Studies

Japanese Studies: Once Upon a Time in Japan

Once Upon a Time in Japan

Yunjie Zhang (International Relations and Global Studies ’20)


Akita 1Yunjie Zhang is a very active participant in the Japanese Culture Association and in the Japanese Language House, where he resides on the William and Mary Campus. He has been taking several high level Japanese language courses, ranging from the 200-400 level, and many different Japanese content courses. He had the exciting opportunity to participate in the three-week seminar, Once Upon a Time in Japan.

The Once Upon a Time in Japan traveling history seminar was a valuable, enriching and amazing experience. Presented by Akita International University (AIU), the three-week history and traveling seminar introduced me valuable learning experiences outside of the classroom. We spent one week inside AIU visiting historic sites in Akita while learning the foundation of Japanese history. During the remaining two weeks of the seminar, we visited eight cities with stops at several temples, castles and museums.

Lessons from the textbook and multimedia learning tools came to life during as we visited historic sites and discovered how history was narrated under a particular purpose.  Not only was the seminar education, but it was also fun! We climbed to the top of Osaka Castle, experienced Buddhist lifestyle at a temple in Kyoto, explored Chinatown in Nagasaki, and made traditional dishes in Akita. The entire traveling seminar was extremely inspiring and fun.Akita 2

The highlight of the seminar was exploring reasons behind certain narratives of history.  History is not only about what happened, but it is also about who could tell the story under what circumstances.  Thus, I am inspired to examine the “hidden” parts of history and, if possible, to decrease the hatred that originates from those narratives.

I recommend Once Upon a Time in Japan to anyone who is interested in Japanese history or culture. It’s also a great fit for those who simply want to travel, attend the seminar, and enjoy the fabulous, three-week experience in Japan!

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