At the end of the 1980s, an eight-year lobbying effort resulted in a revolving endowed professorship that has enabled the Center to continue to provide interactions with the Japanese scholarly community at large. Since 1988, the Toyota Visiting Professorship has been bringing in one or two scholars a year from Japan, Europe, and throughout the United States to teach at the University of Michigan. These specialists share their insights in disciplines ranging from business management and anthropology, to education, musicology, film, and political science. For students, it is a chance to take classes with a Japan expert to whom they would not otherwise have access. The public profits through public lectures, and the visiting scholars have the opportunity to share information with new colleagues and take advantage of some of the best Asia resources in the United States.
"MY STUDENTS STAYED THE COURSE. . . THEIR PAPERS WERE VERY GOOD. TEACHING THEM HAD AN INFLUENCE UPON ME. IT GAVE THE ENERGY TO BEGIN MY BOOK, ‘THE AESTHETICS OF THE TRADITIONAL JAPANESE FILM’ AND IT IS TO MY STUDENTS THAT I WILL DEDICATE IT. THEY WERE THE ONES WHO HELD UP THE MIRROR FOR ME AND WHO MADE THEIR OWN CONTRIBUTIONS TO MY WORK. I REMAIN VERY GRATEFUL TO THEM."
—Donald Richie, Toyota Visiting Professor, Fall 1993
"I WAS ENORMOUSLY IMPRESSED BY THE ACADEMIC QUALITY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN WHERE I FOUND A HIGH LEVEL OF ENERGY FOR INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITY. . .THE CENTER WAS EQUALLY STIMULATING IN TERMS OF INTELLECTUAL INPUT. THE INTELLECTUAL EXCITEMENT AND COLLEGIALITY WERE VISIBLE AT THE CENTER, EXTENDING TO THE STUDENTS WHO SEEM TO HAVE FOUND BOTH AN INTELLECTUAL AND PERSONAL HOME AT THE CENTER."
—Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, Toyota Visiting Professor, 1995