The government of Japan, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Relationship, awarded a special Minister of Foreign Affairs Commendation to Yori Oda, senior preceptor in Japanese at Harvard, in a ceremony at the official residence of the Consul General of Japan in Boston May 6. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the promotion of cultural exchange between the two countries.
After earning a master’s degree in regional studies (East Asia) at Harvard in 1968, Oda began to work in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations as an assistant Japanese language teacher, something that she was well prepared to do, as she had the experience of teaching Japanese in the department’s summer school for two years.
For 35 years, until her retirement in 2003, Oda has helped promote the understanding of Japan’s politics, economics, and culture through the teaching of the Japanese language to students who come to Harvard from all over the world. Among Oda’s students have been Massachusetts Institute of Technology Political Science Professor Richard Samuels, Tokyo University Law Professor Daniel H. Foote, and author of “Memoirs of a Geisha” Arthur Gordan.