TUJ and SWU Students Set To Deepen Cross-cultural Understanding Through the World of Haiku

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ Setagaya-ku, Tokyo / Dean Matthew Wilson) and Showa Women’s University (SWU) will jointly offer a lecture on haiku on October 23, allowing students of both schools to deepen their cross-cultural and Japanese language understanding.

The latest initiative will feature a lecture by an acclaimed haiku poet, Madoka Mayuzumi, in a hybrid style-face-to-face at TUJ and also online. Mayuzumi, also a visiting professor of SWU’s Department of Japanese Language and Literature, will speak on the topic “Haiku and the Spaces Between,” covering the history, underlying story, rules and spirit of haiku.

TUJ students will act as interpreters at the event, allowing participants of both schools to experience haiku in Japanese and English. Ian Skversky, one of the interpreters and a senior majoring in Japanese language, said: “I was very excited from the moment I was recommended to the interpretive position several months ago. Prior to this great opportunity, I was unfamiliar with haiku, but now I’ve greatly enjoyed the research process and learned quite a bit about it. I’ll do my best to convey the meaning of the lecture.” It will be a part of a TUJ’s Japanese language class.

Since TUJ moved to Setagaya-ku in 2019, the universities have been strengthening ties through classes and extracurricular activities, including workshops on traditional culture and art, such as kyogen and rakugo. SWU’s student-initiated group called “S x Tars (Stars)” will hold an exchange meeting with both universities ahead of the event. “S x Tars” is led by the students of SWU’s Department of Japanese Language and Literature that promotes exchanges with TUJ.

“TUJ and SWU have coordinated numerous Japanese language and culture exchange programs over the past several years. These exchanges have offered TUJ students with valuable opportunities to deepen their understanding of Japanese language and culture and to broaden their prospects. We hope that the latest lecture will help TUJ students learn about the beauty of haiku, a form of Japanese poetry, and further deepen their knowledge of culture and language through exchanges with SWU students.”

Asako Yamaguchi
Assistant Professor of Japanese & Critical Languages at Temple University, Japan Campus

“This event will provide an opportunity for participants to improve their feel of Japanese language and deepen their understanding of Japanese culture. For students in my department and many TUJ students, it will be an opportunity to reevaluate the interpretation of a phrase through English translation. For students less familiar with Japanese language and culture, understanding the words used in haiku and the scenes mentioned may provide an opportunity to understand more. I believe that the effort to learn Japanese culture through cross-cultural exchange is a chance to widen their perspectives.”

Akiko Yamamoto
Dean and Faculty of Showa Women’s University
Professor, Department of Japanese Language Literature

“Haiku and the Spaces Between”
Date/Time: Saturday October 23, 13:00-14:30
Venue: Temple University, Japan Campus Room 312/314
Format: Hybrid face-to-face and online (Zoom) format
Target audience: Students of both universities and related people