University names director of Japan center


Takashi Yoshida. Courtesy WMU

One of the founding members of a center for research on Japan and outreach to the nation is now its director.

Western Michigan University said last month that it has named Takashi Yoshida as director of the Soga Japan Center, which is part of the school’s Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

Established in 2006 to promote knowledge about Japan for students, scholars and the regional community, the Soga Japan Center works collaboratively with an extensive alumni network in Japan.

With more than 500 WMU alumni residing in Japan and serving as the connection between the university and Japan-related business, arts and civic communities in West Michigan, the center supports students pursuing Japanese studies and those interested in studying abroad.

Japanese history

As a founding member of the center and an associate professor of history at WMU, Yoshida has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on Japanese history.

Yoshida’s academic background includes a range of topics: extensive research on war; memory; modern and early modern East Asia and Japan.

Yoshida is currently working on a new project on anti-war activity from 1931 to 1945 throughout the Japanese empire and in the U.S. and is the author of two books: “From Cultures of War to Cultures of Peace: War and Peace Museums in Japan, China and South Korea” and “The Making of the ‘Rape of Nanking’: History and Memory in Japan, China and the United States.”


He is also the recipient of numerous research and writing-related accolades: the Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace Awards Senior Fellowship Program; Abe Fellowship; Carnegie Council Fellowship; and an Emerging Scholar Award and College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement Award in Teaching from WMU.


With an academic background in political science, law, international affairs and history, Yoshida earned bachelor degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Aoyama Gakuin University, before going on to earn a master’s and doctoral degree from Columbia University. 

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