Georgetown-Japan 2020 Initiative

A new program launched to support student research on Japan

The SFS Asian Studies Program, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, launched a pilot program at Georgetown University in Spring 2015, aimed at cultivating the next generation of Asia specialists in the United States with a focus on Japan. 

For this program, four graduate students were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants to become Georgetown-Japan 2020 Fellows. Four undergraduate participants were also selected from an equally intense competition. The graduate fellows and the undergraduate participants were chosen based on their commitment to Japanese studies, their Japanese language ability, as well as the originality and soundness of their research proposals.

Throughout the Spring 2015 semester, the graduate fellows and undergraduate participants worked on Japan-themed research papers under the guidance of the faculty specializing in Japanese studies, including Professors Michael Green and Jordan Sand. In March 2015, these students traveled to Tokyo to participate in government, think tank, and academic meetings, and to present their papers during a public conference. The best graduate and undergraduate papers were selected and awarded a prize after the research trip (see the winners below). All papers will be considered for publication through various outlets. 

Best Research Papers 

Best Graduate Fellow Paper: "Walking a Fine Line?: Coalition Politics and the Komeito’s Influence on Security Policy," by Andrew Chapman (MASIA '16)

Best Undergraduate Student Paper: "The Politics and Strategy of Japanese Politicians’ Sensitivity to South Korean Feelings," by Mina Pollmann (BSFS '15)

Congratulations to Andrew Chapman and Mina Pollmann! Publication of their papers as well as the other papers from this initiative coming soon. 

Graduate Fellows

Andrew Chapman (MASIA'16)

Andrew Chapman graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Political Science (honors) and a minor in English Literature. After graduation, he participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. From 2009 to 2011, he studied Mandarin Chinese at Ming Chuan University in Taipei. In May 2011, he moved to Aizu Wakamatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, to work as a Coordinator for International Relations. He provided counseling, interpretation, translation, and other services for foreign residents, in addition to planning cultural exchange events and assisting with local tourism. Andrew is currently in the M.A. in Asian Studies (MASIA) program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where he studies politics and security of Asia with a focus on Japan and China. He is also a research intern for the Office of the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). At the U.S. Department of State, Andrew provides translations for the Japan Desk as a virtual intern. 

Brian Kato (MASIA'16)

Brian Kato is currently a first-year M.A. candidate at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he studies international political economy with a particular focus on Japan. His interest in Japan and U.S.-Japan relations stems from his early experience of studying Japanese language in middle school, and this interest continued through his undergraduate studies at Tufts University. At Tufts, Brian majored in International Relations and Japanese. Brian has taught English in Tokyo for AEON, worked as a local staff member at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., and served as a research associate for Mitsubishi Corporation. His research interests include the Japanese economy, U.S.-Japan economic relations, free trade agreements (FTAs), and economic diplomacy in East Asia, as well as topics relating to energy in East Asia.

Alexander Macartney (Ph.D. in History)

Alex Macartney is a third-year Ph.D. student in Georgetown University's History Department. His research centers on postwar German and Japanese history with a particular focus on the 1960s. Along with the Allied occupations and military presence after 1945, Alex's interests include anti-Vietnam War protests, New Left movements, and transnational left-wing terrorist groups in both nations. He received his B.A. in History from Lawrence University. He reads and speaks German and Japanese.



Sarah Moore (MASIA'16)

Sarah Moore graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her undergraduate thesis was centered on anthropological, political, and historical study of the changes in the educational system of the North Korea aligned ethnic minority in Japan. During college, Sarah studied abroad in Shanghai and Seoul. She also interned at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. After graduation, she relocated to China and worked at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai from 2010 to 2012. Sarah then moved to Japan and worked for Peace Boat, a Japan-based international NGO, and joined its 79th voyage around the world. She is currently enrolled in the M.A. in Asian Studies program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, concentrating on the politics and security of Japan and China. Sarah is also an intern for the Japan Desk at the U.S. Department of State, where she is the lead coordinator for the 2015 U.S.-Japan POW Reconciliation Program.

Undergraduate Participants

Benjamin Brown (BSFS'17)

Ben Brown is an International Politics major in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. His academic areas of interest include East Asian politics, conventional arms trading, and other international security topics. Ben enjoys studying Japanese at Georgetown and hopes to learn more about Japanese society and foreign policy. Never having been to Japan, he is thrilled that the Georgetown-Japan 2020 Initiative will allow him to visit the country.



Hiromi Oka (BSFS'15)

Hiromi Oka is a member of the Class of 2015 in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, majoring in International Politics with a concentration in International Law and a Certificate in Asian Studies. Originally from Houston, Hiromi studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo during the Spring 2014 semester. She will be researching nationalism in the Japanese media as part of her Georgetown-Japan 2020 Initiative paper.



Mina Pollmann (BSFS'15)

Mina Erika Pollman is a senior in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service majoring in International Politics with a concentration in Foreign Policy. She is an Honors Candidate in International Politics and an Ellsworth Bunker Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Her research interests include Japanese security and regional diplomacy. She has written multiple articles on Japanese politics that have been published in The Diplomat



Weston Takata (BSFS'15)

Weston Takata is a senior in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service majoring in International Politics with a concentration in Security Studies and a certificate in Asian Studies. At Georgetown, Weston has enrolled in Japanese language courses in order to gain a more in-depth study and understanding of Japan and Japanese culture. He has also completed courses that deal with the political, economic, and social conflicts in East Asia so that he can better understand the historical context of modern-day conflicts in the region. During his junior year, Weston had the opportunity to study abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, fulfilling his longstanding dream to travel and study in Japan. At Sophia University, he completed coursework that enhanced his studies of Japan and East Asia. He also engaged in conversations and debates with native Japanese people, which provided him with valuable insight into the experiences--both past and present--of the Japanese and how those experiences affect their views of contemporary conflicts.