Campus & Community

Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies awards prizes

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The Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Kodansha Publishers hosted the 13th annual Edwin O. Reischauer/Kodansha Ltd. Commemorative Symposium and the 12th annual awarding of the Noma-Reischauer Prizes in Japanese Studies on Oct. 19. These prizes are given annually by Kodansha Publishers for the best essays written by Harvard University students on Japan-related topics. The prize includes $2,000 for the best undergraduate essay and $3,000 for the best graduate essay.

This year’s undergraduate prize went to Michael Chow ’07 (social studies concentration) for his essay, “Does Fake Blood Beget Real Blood? An Examination of the Effects of Media Violence in Japanese Society.” The recipient of the graduate essay prize was Jeffrey Kurashige, Ph.D. candidate in East Asian languages and civilizations, for his essay, “Salaried Samurai? The Kashindan Retainer Corps and the Transformation of the Socio-Economic Order of Warring States Japan.”

Chow was on hand to describe his research and receive the award. Kurashige, who is doing dissertation research in Japan on a grant from the Ministry of Education, accepted the prize at a ceremony in Tokyo. Kodansha Publishers was represented by Hiroshi Ito, publisher of reference and art books in Tokyo; and Yoichi Kimata, senior vice president, and Tomoe Sumi, project coordinator, both of Kodansha America in New York.

Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture Yukio Lippit delivered the symposium talk, titled “Reflections on Art and Zen in Medieval Japan.” The talk is based on his spring 2007 acclaimed exhibit at the Japan Society Gallery in New York City on the “awakening” of the tradition of figure painting in medieval Zen Buddhism.

The ceremony was held at the Kodansha House in Belmont, Mass., former home of Edwin O. Reischauer and Haru Reischauer. The audience included faculty, students, visiting scholars, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and guests from the Harvard Japan studies community. The deadline for submitting essays for the Noma-Reischauer Prize is June 30 of each year.