A Little History

A Little History

In January 1988, I taught the very first Japanese course at Bishop’s under Continuing Education. (Prior to Bishop’s I was a lecturer of Japanese at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.) Little did I know at the time that I would teach every single semester afterwards at Bishop’s. The course came into being due to a very strong request for Japanese courses from Waterville TG, a Toyota Group company in Waterville, Quebec. For a year or so, Bishop’s could not find a suitable person to teach Japanese. Well, until I came along.

The course was meant to be a pilot course. It became quite popular and a little later the 2nd and 3rd year levels were added. Soon after this humble beginning, the University of Sherbrooke started a Japan Coop program and then started sending their students to Bishop’s so that they could learn Japanese. In 1990’s, we succeeded in winning the funding from the Japan Foundation to hire instructors for teaching courses other than Japanese language: Japanese culture, Japanese society, etc. In 1996, Bishop’s became a recipient of the Tanaka Fund (from the Japan Foundation via AUCC) for creation of a continuing position for teaching the Japanese language. This funding was made available with the agreement that the program would be maintained by Bishop’s after the end of the funding. We succeeded in renewing the Tanaka Fund up its maximum of 3 years. In March 1997, a motion was passed at Senate to create, among other things, a minor in Japanese. In September 1997, the Department of Modern Languages extended an invitation to me to join the department. As a result of the Collective Agreement recently ratified and effective since July 1, 2001, I was appointed to the Department of Modern Languages as Special Contract Faculty Instructor.

A number of Bishop’s graduates went to Japan as JET Program participants. (JET: Japan Exchange Training Program.) I’ve also trained a number of students from the University of Sherbrooke (mostly in Engineering, Computer Science, and other natural science fields). They went to Japan as work-term students to work for major Japanese companies such as Kawasaki Steel, NTT, Sony, NEC, Yahata Steel, Mitsubishi Electric, etc.

I also served as part of the initial negotiating team in 1996 for Bishop’s for establishing an Exchange Program with Yamaguchi Prefectural University, Yamaguchi, Japan.