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University Relations

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March 30, 2005
Contact: Bill Tsutsui, history, (785) 864-9435.

Emmy-winning filmmaker to speak at KU on Japanese-American relations

LAWRENCE -- An award-winning filmmaker, translator and Japan scholar, John Nathan, will speak at the University of Kansas at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 11, about contemporary political, cultural and social interchange between the United States and Japan. His lecture will be at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics and is free and open to the public.

Nathan, whose humorous film on how Kentucky Fried Chicken cracked the Japanese market won an Emmy, will discuss "Japan Unbound: The Unraveling of U.S.-Japanese Relations." His presentation is the fourth annual Grant Goodman Distinguished Lecture in Japanese Studies.

A special screening and panel discussion of Nathan's "The Colonel Comes to Japan" will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, in the Parlors Room at the Kansas Union. The panelists will be KU faculty: Michael Baskett, assistant professor of theatre and film; Grant Goodman, professor emeritus of history; and Bill Tsutsui, associate professor of history.

Nathan is the Takashima professor of Japanese cultural studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Renowned as the translator of Japanese novelist Kenzaburo Oe, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1994, Nathan also wrote the definitive biography of controversial author Yukio Mishima.

Nathan's books include "Mishima: A Biography" (1974), "Sony: The Private Life" (1999) and, most recently, "Japan Unbound: A Volatile Nation's Quest for Pride and Purpose" (2004).

Since 1977, Nathan has written and produced 40 documentaries on Japanese society, entrepreneurship and management. Among his many award-winning films, "In Search of Excellence" (1985) received the Special Award at the American Film Festival, and "The Colonel Goes to Japan" (1982) won an Emmy for best prime-time documentary.

Nathan holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Tokyo.

The Grant Goodman Distinguished Lecture in Japanese Studies is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies. Goodman is professor emeritus of history at KU, specializing in Japanese history and in Japan's cultural relations with South and Southeast Asia. A lifelong advocate for Asian studies at KU and across the nation, Goodman directed KU's Center for East Asian Studies during its formative years. He has written, edited or co-edited 15 books and more than 60 articles. He has served as a visiting professor at universities throughout Asia and Europe.


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