Dr. Roy Hanashiro

The Wyatt Exploration Program has entered its third year.  This program has brought UM-Flint history majors to Poland and Virginia.  These trips have been rewarding to our students, as they were able to experience history and culture outside of Michigan.  I will be travelling with a group of students to Japan in May of 2012 and hope to continue this process of enriching the lives of our students.

I came to UM-Flint in 1989.  Over the years many changes took place on our campus, including internationalization.  When I first arrived, international studies was on the periphery; international studies minor was hardly visible and the only study abroad program was to Egypt. There were, however, faculty members who saw the need for internationalization, including those in the History Department.  With their support, I was able to develop courses on East Asia and actively participated in enhancing the visibility of international studies.  Furthermore, my colleagues have supported my involvement in the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, and I have been the campus representative for this consortium since its inception in 1989.  UM-Flint has come a long way; there are several study abroad trips to various parts of world, the number of international students has greatly increased (there were only a handful in 1989), and we have an international center.  The History Department has its own study abroad tours through the Wyatt Exploration Program.  In 1989, it never crossed my mind that the department would be sponsoring its own study abroad tours regularly.  Truly, we are most grateful to Dorothea Wyatt.

I am a frequent visitor to Japan, and I had my first extended stay during my graduate school days.  It was exciting to visit the places I had studied and to be able to conduct research in Japan.  Thankfully, my Japanese language skills were good enough to overcome the language barrier, but the customs and traditions were different.  Adjustments were in order.  As I lived in Japan, it became a country that was beyond my research interest. I came to appreciate its history, culture, and people.  Also, I started to understand my Japanese heritage better.  As we travel through Japan, we will be visiting many places and their historical significance should be grasped.   We will be meeting also with Japanese students, and it is my wish that the UM-Flint students will make the best of this encounter.  History cannot be fully comprehended without bringing in humanity.  Discourse with the Japanese students should enhance one’s understanding of Japan and its history.

It is my honor and pleasure to lead this tour.  I hope to share my knowledge and experience to make this trip more meaningful.

Phone: (810) 762-3366
E-mail: okuma@umich.edu