The Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Kodansha Publishers recently hosted the 14th annual Edwin O. Reischauer/Kodansha Ltd. Commemorative Symposium and the 13th annual awarding of the Noma-Reischauer Prizes in Japanese Studies. 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.
Wright Hunter McDonald ’08 (East Asian studies concentration) won the undergraduate prize for his essay “Empowered Equities: Shareholder Activism and Convergence in Japanese Corporate Governance.” The graduate prize went to Juergen Melzer (master’s in regional studies-East Asia) for his essay “Low Tech — High Impact: Nakayamasha and the Notion of Technological Progress in the Japanese Silk Industry.”
Melzer was on hand to describe his research and receive the award. McDonald, who is employed at a financial firm in Japan, will receive his award at a ceremony given by Kodansha in Tokyo. Kodansha Publishers was represented by Shunkichi Yabuki, publisher, General Books division, in Tokyo; Naruko Morisawa, senior editor, International Literature, in Tokyo; and Yoichi Kimata, senior vice president, and Tomoe Sumi, project coordinator, both of Kodansha America in New York.
Yabuki announced the opening of a new office, Kodansha U.S.A., which will publish translations of manga (comics and print cartoons) that are popular in Japan. Karen L. Thornber, Harvard assistant professor of comparative literature, delivered the symposium talk on “Environmental Crises in East Asian Literatures.” The talk analyzed human-nonhuman interactions in creative texts from Japan, China, and Korea that discuss environmental crises.
The event 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.