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MA and MIRS Students

Michael Ai is pursuing a Masters in International and Regional Studies with a specialization in Japanese studies. He graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in East Asian studies and economics (2019). His research focuses on the so-called junbungaku or pure literature movement in the post-war era. In his senior year at college, Michael tackled works from the iconic Japanese author, Kenzaburo Oe with theories of sexuality.


Molly DeDona

Molly earned a BA in Japanese and a BFA in Art from Calvin College in 2018. She is interested in the arts as well as Japanese culture, so she enjoys researching modern and contemporary Japanese art and artists. She spent a semester abroad in Shiga Prefecture in Japan, where she was able to visit many museums and learned more about the country’s rich history of ceramics. She also served an internship with Otsuka Electronics in Kusatsu. During her undergraduate studies in Grand Rapids, she was a studio assistant for the ceramics program.

Ying Duan

Ying graduated with a BA in Japanese from the University of Science and Technology Beijing. She is interested in studying Japanese popular culture, especially the way it was transformed and influenced by the process of globalization and glocalization. During a one-year exchange program in Tokyo, she conducted a research project that looked at the struggles of Nikkei Brazilian—inspiring Ying to reflect upon her experience living as part of a cultural and ethnic minority. These experiences sparked her interest in researching the lives of minorities in Japan and finding ways to make their voices heard.

Tere Elizalde is pursuing a Masters in International and Regional Studies with a specialization in Japanese studies. She graduated with a BA in international studies concentrating on East Asia, with minors in Japanese, history, and sociology from Saginaw Valley State University (2019). Her research interest is modern Japanese history, particularly the early Meiji period to post-World War II, and the societal and political development of modern Japanese society.

Andrew Greig

After graduating as an Asian Studies major from the University of Michigan, Andrew worked for three years in Japan as an assistant language teacher. He is now coming back in the hopes of accomplishing some legitimate academic research. He is queer and particularly interested in the politics of gender and sexuality in Japan. Here's to working with the leaders and the best, cheers!

Lauren Guz

Lauren graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a BA in International Studies (International Security, Norms, and Cooperation) and Asian Studies (Japanese Language and Culture). She spent winter and summer semester of her junior year studying abroad in Kyoto at Doshisha University. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English at an elementary and middle school in Kumamoto, Japan, through the JET program. Her research interests include history, politics, international relations, and nation-building in Meiji-Showa Japan.

Sophie Hasuo is pursuing a Masters in International and Regional Studies with a specialization in Japanese studies. She graduated from Soka University of America in 2019 with a BA in liberal arts, concentrating in international studies. She completed her study abroad at Kansai Gaidai in Hirakata, Japan, and spent six months at Eurocentres in Kanazawa. Her research interests include minority rights and representation, transnational ethnic tensions between South Korea and Japan, and identity formation.

Aaron Hoover

Aaron graduated in 2014 from Bradley University, earning BA degrees in International Studies and Religious Studies. He’s originally from central Illinois, and he is newly married. After completing his undergraduate degree, Aaron lived for a year in Kyoto, Japan, where he studied the country’s tea ceremony, worked part time in a restaurant, and became involved in his local community. Since returning to the United States, he has advocated cross-cultural communication and understanding by facilitating study groups and speaking at events related to Japanese culture. Broadly speaking, his research interests are related to contemporary Japanese religion. More specifically, he is interested in exploring questions of identity and value associated with religious affiliation and participation in religious events (e.g. festivals, pilgrimage, etc.). His hobbies include cooking, hiking, and Japanese tea ceremonies.

Shōhei Kawamata is pursuing a Masters in International and Regional Studies with a specialization in Japanese studies. From Chiba, Japan, he earned a BA in Japanese studies and music studies from Earlham College (2019). His academic interest is sociopolitical issues of collectivistic and individualistic identity, contemplating the construction of and interactions between the ideas of “I” vs. “we” and “them” vs. “us”.  

Elinor Lindeman is pursuing a Masters in International and Regional Studies with a specialization in Japanese studies. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2019 with a BA in Japanese and history. She began studying the Japanese language in middle school and became interested in the religions of Japan during her undergraduate career. In 2017, Elinor studied abroad in Kobe, Japan, where she researched contemporary college students’ relationships to traditional festivals.  


Jillian H. Locke

Jillian began her studies at St. Lawrence University and spent her sophomore year abroad at International Christian University in Tokyo. After graduating in 2012 with a BA in History-Asian Studies, she spent four years in Chiba Prefecture, working first as an English teacher with the JET Program and later moving to public relations at Kanda University of International Studies. Her research interests focus on Buddhist-Shinto syncretism during the premodern period.

Adrian Morales

Adrian's experiences as an undergraduate at Florida International University developed his interests in gender roles and work-life balance in Japan. He is interested in nationalist pride and minority representation within a framework of supposed homogeneity that exemplifies the nihonjinron framework. He is also interested in the deep connection of companies, government offices, and schools across Japan in inculcating and narrowing school-work transitions in the country. Adrian first traveled to Japan as a study abroad student enrolled at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto during the summer of 2016. Traveling around the country during that time helped him re-evaluate and focus on his academic and career goals. Since graduating, he has worked as an advisor for a Department of Education grant dedicated to improving pass rates for underprivileged and disadvantaged students at Miami Dade Community College. He has experience working in various departments within higher education, and looks forward to great experiences collaborating with Center for Japanese Studies faculty, students, and others in Ann Arbor.

Meghan Mudrick

In 2018, Meghan graduated from Ramapo College in New Jersey with a BA in History and a minor in East Asian Studies; her research interests include modern history and international relations. As an undergraduate, she researched modern era international relations between the West and Japan, China, and Korea. Specific research included German-Japanese relations from 1933-1945 with a focus on the role of General Oshima Hiroshi and his significance with the establishment and continuation of the two countries' alliance during World War II. She studied abroad in Japan twice during her undergraduate work. Following her study abroad experiences, she worked for the college’s international education office by promoting her experiences and explaining study abroad requirements to first-year classes, open houses, and students preparing to study abroad. Lastly, she took part in, and later co-ran, the weekly Japanese language hours held by the international education office.