East meets West
The legacy of Shuji Isawa, class of 1877 at what was then Bridgewater State Normal School, who later returned to his native Japan where he is considered the father of teacher education, was celebrated in a series of events held recently at BSU.
The three programs – a theatrical performance, a lecture, and a concert – brought together a range of talent from Japan and the United States.
“Shuji Isawa is a revered figure in the history of this university and a revered figure in his native Japan,” said Frederick W. Clark, Jr., executive vice president and vice president for external affairs. “But Mr. Isawa never forgot his years at Bridgewater.”
The first event held was entitled “The Tradition of Kyogen Theater,” and featured a series of one-act plays in Japanese, with interpretation provided by Dr. Minae Savas, associate professor of foreign languages at BSU. Kyogen is a form of traditional Japanese comic theater.
The second program was a lecture by Akiro Muto, consul general of Japan in Boston, who spoke on the topic of US-Asia policy.
“This is an extraordinary period as far as diplomatic issues are concerned in Asia, involving both established nations and non-state agencies, such as terrorist groups,” the consul general said. “We in Japan have had to bolster our defense spending in order to protect ourselves from interests that may do us harm.”
The third event was the Japan Friendship Concert, which featured a variety of performers, including the Boston Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Yohei Sato; guest pianists Manabu Takasawa and Makoto Takenaka; faculty pianist Dr. Deborah Nemko of BSU’s Department of Music; and BSU’s Alumni Chamber Choir, directed by Professor Carol Nicholeris of the university’s music department.
The events were made possible by the support of BSU's Center for International Engagement in cooperation with the university's Asian Studies program and the Boston Higashi School and Kansai University, Osaka Japan. (Story by David K. Wilson, ’71; photos by Mr. Wilson and Karen Callan, Office of University Advancement)