2023 Honors in Japan – Tokyo & Okinawa

2023 Honors in Japan – Tokyo & Okinawa

Japanese City Center

2023 Honors Japan – Tokyo & Okinawa Summer A Term

Identity, Memory, and Art Activism

Location: Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan

Dates: Summer A Term 2023 (June 18-July 18)

Credits and Courses: 12 credits total

  • HONORS 223, SSc, “W”, “DIV” (5)
  • HONORS 384, SSc/A&H, “W”, “DIV” (5)
  • HONORS 213,  H&A (2).  Note: Areas of Inquiry credit, does not apply to Honors Core curriculum



Thursday, Dec. 8, 2:00 p.m. via zoom: https://washington.zoom.us/j/5716250981

Monday, Jan. 9, 12:00  via zoom: https://washington.zoom.us/j/5716250981

About the Program

This interdisciplinary study abroad program in Tokyo and Okinawa explores the complex and evolving web of narratives surrounding Japanese national identity and social memory. Although Japan is often described as an ethnically homogeneous country, its national identity was formed through centuries of migration, political consolidation and, in some cases, forced assimilation. These legacies were further complicated by the experience of World War II, which led to a further questioning of Japanese identity and new forms of trauma that exacerbated existing inequalities. Traces of this history are visible both in Tokyo, the center of the Japanese political world, and in Okinawa, a political periphery where residents have borne the burden of hosting US bases to support their country’s national security. This study abroad program explores these dynamics and more from a variety of perspectives, including history, politics, sociology, anthropology, media studies, race, gender, culture, literature and art. In addition to attending lectures by faculty, students will have the opportunity to experience Japan through visits to important historical and cultural sites in Tokyo and Okinawa. Other course components include: readings, writing assignments, current events, reflection, individual check-ins with instructors, group collaboration, and free time for exploration. Students are expected to maintain a research and reflective portfolio and present their final reflections at the end of the program.

Course Descriptions

Honors 213:  Okinawa in the Japanese Literary Imagination (5)

This course introduces students to modern prose fiction, poetry, drama, and film that depict Okinawa, Japan’s tropical playground on one hand, and its military colony on the other. While the focus of the class will be on representations of Okinawa in literature and the occasional film we will also pay close attention to the socio-historical context of the works in order to more fully understand them.

Honors 384: Identity, Memory, and Culture: Writing and Art (5)

This course investigates individual, cultural, and national identity formation, what determines identity labels and who defines social capital. We will use a comparative interdisciplinary model and investigate cultural studies/literary studies and art (and public art) to learn about topics including: Identity and Environment; Global Migration; Borders and Frontiers (territory issues and global ramifications related to national and individual identity formation; border policy); Refugee/migration movements and  US border history and policy related to identity politics and the view of the “refugee and “immigrant” as cultural tokens and foils (individual, family, and nation state). Investigation of art and performance as forms of resistance serving to deflect and question identity tropes will be addressed. Race and critical mixed race studies layering literature, film, memoir, and policy readings, will be foundational to the course.

Honors 213: Art Memory and Identity Expression (2)

This course us structured around visits to major art and cultural sites of Tokyo and Okinawa. Students will examine visual culture and identify the common connecting threads of these rich locations. We will visit sites related to migration, wartime history, religion, and politics and think about the ways that major landmarks are tied to key moments of social change in Japan.

Program Leadership

Juliana Villegas is associate director of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and affiliate assistant professor in the department of English.  Dr. Villegas regularly teaches abroad, most recently in Denmark and Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.  Villegas has created and directed many study broad programs during her time at the UW and is an experienced international educator. She holds her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington (The Racial Shadow in American Literature) where her research is grounded in critical mixed race and comparative global immigration and migration narratives. A recent focus of her scholarship is within digital storytelling and its impact on identity formation and memory.

Davinder Bhowmik  is an associate professor of Japanese at the University of Washington, Seattle. She teaches and publishes research in the field of modern Japanese literature with a specialization in prose fiction from Okinawa, where she was born and lived until the age of 18. Other scholarly interests include regional fiction, the atomic bombings, and Japanese film. Her publications include Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa (co-edited with Steve Rabson, 2016); Writing Okinawa: Narratives of Identity and Resistance (2008); and “Temporal Discontinuity in the Atomic Bomb Fiction of Hayashi Kyōko (in Ōe and Beyond: Fiction in Contemporary Japan, 1999). Currently she is writing a manuscript on military base town fiction in Japan.

Crucial operational support on the ground in Japan will be handled by Ms. Miki Mizuno, former staff at Waseda University’s International Office. Both program directors worked with Ms. Mizuno during the 2017 EFS Honors Japan Program and the 2019 Summer A Honors Japan Program.  Ms. Mizuno also contributed significant support to the 2018 program. We are pleased to be working with her again during the summer of 2023.

Program Expenses

Anticipated Student Program Fee: $5,800 (students do not pay tuition; program fee and concurrent enrollment fee only).

Average Airplane Ticket: $1,600 (continue to check prices as we anticipate some increase in airfare)

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Housing: The first two weeks in Tokyo, students will stay at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center http://nyc.niye.go.jp/en/. This facility was originally built for Tokyo Olympics and has been renovated to provide comfortable accommodations, meeting rooms and sports facilities. While in Okinawa, students will be housed at the Sun Okinawa Hotel. The last three days of the program will be back in Tokyo at a centrally located hotel (note: RT airfare from Tokyo to Okinawa is included in program fee).

Payment Schedule

Note: Students do not pay tuition, instead they pay a concurrent enrollment fee of $485. Students pay for roundtrip airfare (Seattle to Tokyo). Program fees covers rt airfare between Tokyo and Naha, as well as other ground transportation. All lodging is covered and approximately 2/3 of food (some dinners and lunches are include, and breakfast in Okinawa is covered).  All excursions are covered as part of the program fee.

See the UW Study Abroad Financial Information page here.

Estimated costs:

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable UW Study Abroad Fee $485 2 weeks after acceptance, TBD
Program Fee Balance $5,800 UW Summer Tuition schedule (early July)

Making the program affordable

The Honors Program is passionate about study abroad and the incredible impact it can have on a student’s life. Don’t assume you can’t afford to study outside of the U.S. Here are resources to help you get started on your global adventures!

Honors Program Scholarships

The Honors Program offers a number of scholarships for current Honors Program students. These scholarship funds may be used for UW approved study abroad programs or exchanges. Students may apply beginning in late January (deadline is March 30).

Study Abroad Scholarships at UW

Every student who applies and is accepted to a study abroad program is considered for a scholarship. Scholarship awards are dependent on need and students may be awarded up to $4,000. Visit the study abroad office in 459 Schmitz Hall to learn more or click here. Students may also email goglobal@uw.edu for an advising appointment.

There are several outside resources for study abroad scholarships. Visit the UW’s Study Abroad Scholarship page for more information on scholarship support as well as information about GET funds and how you may apply the GET to your study abroad costs.

Using Financial Aid for Study Abroad

You may find more information about using your existing financial aid for study abroad on the Study Abroad Office’s Financial Aid webpage. In general, all financial aid awarded may be used to support study abroad. Exceptions to this include tuition waivers, work-study awards, or scholarships that are specific about using the award for tuition (although there may be flexibility with some scholarships, please check with the financial aid office). Tuition waivers and work-study are never allowed for study abroad.

Revision of Need

You may also turn in a “Revision of Need” form with the Financial Aid Office if you have a FAFSA on file. Once you are accepted to a study abroad program, visit the Study Abroad Office to obtain a budget for your study abroad program then complete the Revision Request and turn in both the budget and the revision request to the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Financial Aid Study Abroad Funding Website for more information about applying for Summer quarter financial aid and for information about Exploration Seminar financial aid timeline (different than A or B term financial aid disbursement timeline).

Application Process

This program is open to all undergraduate students at the UW Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses.

Program values are grounded in intersectional justice and equity. We recruit and welcome students from all backgrounds.

No prerequisites or language requirements are needed to apply.

To learn more contact villegas@uw.edu


Applications due Jan. 31, 2023