Mitsutaka Nakamura, Japanese and Korean studies librarian at Washington University, has been awarded a Japanese Teaching Materials Purchase Grant from the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.
The purpose of the grant is to assist educational institutions in the U.S. with the purchase of teaching materials for their Japanese-language courses by providing up to $1,000 of funding.
Nakamura will use the grant to support Washington University’s new virtual Japanese Book Club. Nakamura decided to start the club in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prevented many Japanese studies students from going abroad for coursework and research.
The club, which launched over the summer, meets each month on Zoom and is open to any interested university-affiliated student. Participants have the opportunity to discuss works of Japanese literature, reinforce their language skills in reading, and widen their understanding of Japanese culture. The club is the first of its kind at Washington University.
With the grant funds, Nakamura will purchase copies of books for those who wish to join the club. During the fall semester, the group has been meeting monthly to read『ピュア』(pyua), by 小野美由紀 (ONO MIYUKI), which consists of five short science-fiction stories focusing on gender issues in Japan. In December, the author will join the book club for a virtual discussion of her work.
The club will read another selected title during the spring semester, and—thanks to the grant—copies will be available for readers through the East Asian Library.
Part of the Washington University Libraries network, the East Asian Library supports the teaching, study, and research needs of the Program in East Asian Studies and other academic departments, schools, and programs at Washington University.
The library has over 166,132 books and bound serials, including 103,434 volumes in Chinese, 58,219 volumes in Japanese, and 4,479 volumes in Korean, plus extensive collections of microfiche, microfilm, and electronic resources. The library also houses about 800 volumes of rare and special books, manuscripts, and other materials.