10/5/2004

Contact: William Tsutsui, Center for East Asian Studies, (785) 864-9435

KU East Asian Studies Center receives Japanese commemorative award today

LAWRENCE -- Takao Shibata, consul general of Japan in Kansas City, Mo., will present an award to the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Kansas at a reception today, Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the chancellor's residence.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway will be present at the 4 p.m. ceremony. Elaine Gerbert, director of the center, and William Tsutsui, acting director, will receive the award, the Foreign Minister's Commendation.

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the presentation of 150 commendations in March to commemorate the 150th anniversary of U.S.-Japan relations.

Recipients include U.S. residents and U.S.-based organizations as well as Japanese residents. The commendations recognize a range of interests including business, politics, education, journalism, science and technology, art and sports. Recipients include those who have dedicated themselves to U.S.-Japan exchanges and Japanese-American organizations.

Japan has been a major part of the KU curriculum since 1959, when the Center for East Asian Studies was created with support from the Ford Foundation. A separate Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures was established in 1961.

Students may earn bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees focusing on Japan through numerous KU departments and professional schools. KU is the only university in the west-central United States that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Japanese studies, and it is home to a major East Asian library.

KU's Center for East Asian Studies is a federally designated National Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Its mission is to produce expertise in East Asian languages and culture and to provide insights into these cultures.

Besides supporting curricular development and scholarly research at KU, the center offers outreach programs to the local community and schools, regional post-secondary institutions, government agencies, the media and business.

In the past five years, the center has received external funding from the Asia Society, the Center for Global Partnership, the Freeman Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Kansas Humanities Council and the Korea Foundation.

Within the United States, the award is being conferred through the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. offices of the consulates general of Japan.

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