Celebrating the benefits of learning Japanese

Intern Feliks Krawczyk with colleagues from Kyushu Railway Company. Image courtesy of Asia New Zealand Foundation.

A mini-symposium highlighting the benefits of learning Japanese is just part of an evening of celebrations being held in Auckland on September 30.

Coordinator of the Japanese programme and Massey University lecturer in Japanese, Dr Penny Shino, says the celebration brings together a number of key events that focus on the enduring benefits of having Japanese language skills and understanding the culture.

“We have a long history of business and cultural engagement with Japan, and it has consistently been one of our top trading partners for many decades. There are so many more job opportunities for people who learn additional languages these days, and we’d like to celebrate that at this event,” Dr Shino says.

The celebration begins with the prize giving for the national tertiary Japanese language speech competition, and is followed by the official book launch of Creating New Synergies: Approaches of Tertiary Japanese Programmes in New Zealand co-edited by Dr Shino, Dr Masayoshi Ogino from the University of Canterbury, and Dallas Nesbitt of AUT. The book, published by Massey University Press, is the first of its kind to investigate how Japanese language teaching methods in tertiary institutions in New Zealand have adapted over the last 50 years.

The book will be launched by the Deputy Head of the School of Language and Culture at AUT Annelies Roskvist, and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University, Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley.

The Sasakawa Fellowship Fund for Japanese Language Education will also launch their YouTube project “Why Japanese?” which highlights the opportunities and adventures experienced by nine high-flying New Zealanders, in significant part because of their Japanese language skills. It will be introduced by the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research Academic and Enterprise at Massey University, Professor Giselle Byrnes, and the co-ordinator of Sasakawa Programmes Naomi Collins.

The mini-symposium ‘Where does Japanese language learning lead you?’ starts with keynote speeches from two top students just embarking on their career with Japanese. It is followed by a panel discussion featuring business people and educators, including Dr Junji Kawai, Nic Keating, James Penn, Michelle Lodge, and Dr Shino.

“This cross-sector multi-university event shows the new and exciting phase Japanese studies in New Zealand has entered into. We are all sharing our strengths to promote the uptake of this wonderful language and culture. It opens up so many more doors for work, travel and life experiences,” Dr Shino says.

The event will be held at WG 308 at AUT on Wellesley Street in Auckland on September 30 from 4pm. RSVPs are requested for catering purposes by 5pm, September 28, to Dr Masayoshi Ogino.

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