FIU's Asian Studies Program Newsletter 2021-2022

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2021-2022 NEWSLETTER Faculty/Staff Japan Foundation Grant Program Highlights Director's Research Faculty News Students & Alumni News Degree Programs & More 20-21 Graduates Overview

2-3 4 4-15 16-19 20-26 27-32 33-39 40-41 42-43

Dr. Li Ma Teaching Professor Modern Languages


Dr. Matthew Marr Associate Professor Global & Sociocultural Studies

Dr. Steven Heine Professor and Director Asian Studies

Dr. Tom Breslin Professor International Relations

Dr. Mitzi Carter Assistant Teaching Professor Global & Sociocultural Studies

Dr. Rae Choi

Dr. Asuka Mashav Teaching Professor Modern Languages

Dr. Eric Messersmith Assistant Teaching Professor Asian Studies

Dr. Keyao "Kyle" Pan Assistant Professor History/Asian Studies

Assistant Professor Global & Sociocultural Studies

Dr. Shenggao Wang

Naoko Komura

Dr. Lidu Yi

Teaching Professor Modern Languages

Associate Professor Art & Art History

Dr. Qing Lai

Dr. Julie Zeng

Associate Professor Global & Sociocultural Studies

Associate Professor International Relations

Associate Teaching Professor Asian Studies/Mod. Lang.

Sungmin Cho

Dr. María Sol Echarren

Assistant Teaching Professor Asian Studies/Mod. Lang.

Program Manager Asian Studies

Dr. Marcela López Bravo

Raul Caner Cruz

Adjunct Instructor Asian Studies

Program Assistant Asian Studies

Elisa Romulo Borges

Jhonatan Baez

Adjunct Instructor Asian Studies

Office Assistant, Adj. Instructor Asian Studies

Maytinee Kramer

Darius Barnes

Adjunct Instructor Asian Studies

Graduate Assistant Asian Studies

Masako Kubota

Madeline Galivan

Adjunct Instructor Asian Studies/Mod. Lang.

Graduate Assistant Asian Studies

Claudia Lau

Ivan Jimenez

Adjunct Instructor Asian Studies

Graduate Assistant Asian Studies

Rachel Levine

Ryan Norton

Adjunct Instructor Asian Studies

Graduate Assistant Asian Studies

Program Highlights JAPAN









Japan Foundation Grant FIU’s




prestigious grant

language received







Foundation. The new Consul General of Japan in Miami, Kazuhiro Nakai, presented the check on December 1, 2021. This grant, led by Dr. Asuka Mashav, focused on course development



funding to increase Japanese language



Japanese III online. Click here to read the article posted on FIU SIPA News

From Left to Right: Masako Kubota, Dr. Shlomi Dinar, Dr. Pascale Bécel, Consul General Kazuhiro Nakai, Dr. Asuka Mashav, Dr. Steven Heine, and two students


Two FIU Asian Studies Program Adjunct Instructors, Dr. Marcela López Bravo and Claudia Lau, have been selected to participate in this summer’s CULCON Virtual Exchange + Mobility (VEM) Program to support higher education exchange between the US and Japan. Both instructors have been successfully teaching several courses for Asian Studies, specializing in teaching modalities such as COIL and Virtual Study Abroad (this was featured on SIPA News).

In addition, they each received noteworthy awards and recognitions this year: Marcela is the recipient of the inaugural Rewarding Excellence in Teaching Incentives (RETI) award in 2022, and Claudia was recently awarded the FIU Faculty Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching in 2021. Dr. López Bravo has also been awarded the 11th eTeaching Award Grand Prize in recognition of her effective online teaching at Waseda University, Tokyo, one of the most prestigious institutions in Japan. Congratulations to both on these outstanding achievements!

Asian Studies Adjunct Instructors Claudia Lau (left) and Dr. Marcela López Bravo (right)

Southern japan Seminar Teaching | Researching | Living in Japan The theme of this year's SJS was "Teaching-Researching-Living in Japan." This event, held on March 8, 2022, featured two specialists highlighting the importance of pursuing research in Japanese studies while sharing their experiences of living and teaching in Japan.

Hitomi Yoshio Associate Professor of Global Japanese Literacy and Cultural Studies, Waseda University, Japan. Dr. Hitomi Yoshio, who previously taught in Asian Studies at FIU, specializes in modern and contemporary Japanese literature with a focus on women’s writing, literary communities, and media. She is also a literary translator, and her translations of Mieko Kawakami's works have appeared in various literary journals and The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories (2018).

Pamela D. Winfield Professor of Japanese Religions, Elon University, NC. Dr. Pamela D. Winfield specializes in Japanese Buddhist art and doctrine in the esoteric and Zen traditions. She is author of Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism (2013) and co-editor of Zen and Material Culture (2017), and is currently researching the role of modern museums in Buddhist history.

Moderator: Dr. Steven Heine, Professor and Director of Asian Studies

Networking for historical Justice Lecture


This lecture titled “Networking for Historical Justice: Building the Graph Database of Reparation Lawsuits against the Japanese State for Colonial and Wartime Atrocities” was based on Dr. Kyle Pan's current research on graph database consisting of lawsuits and lawyers that made up the reparation movement for historical justice in Asia since the 1980s. This presentation, held on October 21, 2021, covered the basic concepts of a graph database and network analysis, how to start building one from scratch with no coding experience, and potential teaching and research usage of these methodologies.

Dr. Pan’s project digitizes reparation lawsuits against Japanese colonial and wartime atrocities (most famously the “comfort women” system and Nanjing Massacre) into a graph database. Information about the lawsuits is taken from publicly available sources such as the “Overview of Postwar Reparation Lawsuits,” digitized, processed, and exported as cypher codes executable by graph database management or processing systems such as Neo4j. The database aims to preserve not only historical materials produced in this transnational movement but also aid academic research and teaching.

Sponsored by Asian Studies and the Department of History Moderators: Dr. Steven Heine and Dr. Victor M. Uribe-Uran

Lunar New Year Gala The Lunar New Year Gala honoring the Year of the Tiger was held on campus on February 12, 2022. The event included various cultural activities, dances, traditional food, and live performances. It was hosted by the FIU Chinese Club, Vietnamese SA, Korean Culture Club, and Sino-US Salon, among other organizations, with the support of Chinese Professors Dr. Mali and Dr. Shenggao Wang. Below are some of the pictures from this event!

korean language & CULTURE Festival

The Korean Language Empowerment Club (KLEC), with support from the Korean Culture Club (KCC), celebrated the 4th Annual Korean Language and Culture Festival on December 4th, 2021. with the participation of over 200 FIU students. It consisted of four main categories of competitions: Korean language speeches, cultural presentations, K-Pop singing, and K-Pop dance. It also featured Kahoot quizzes on Korean culture, random dance contests, traditional Korean language and culture games, and even an area to take pictures dressed in hanbok, the traditional Korean attire. Local vendors and student organizations offered Korean and Western traditional foods and snacks. Overall, students had the opportunity to practice all that they had learned from their Korean language and culture classes offered by Korean Assistant Teaching Professor Sungmin Cho during the year.

FEATURED Events A S I A N S T U D I E S Alumni Connections On October 28, 2021, our program held a virtual colloquium designed for interdisciplinary Asian Studies students to learn about different career paths and experiences from our graduate alumni. This year's guest speakers shared insightful commentary on what they have achieved academically and professionally since completing their studies. Sandy Avila Sandy graduated from FIU in 2008 with an MA in Asian Studies and pursued another graduate degree in librarianship. She is currently an academic librarian and online professor, of which her education in Asian Studies was especially helpful in securing her first online teaching job. Sandy is working towards a PhD in Texts & Technology at UCF and has found many connections to Asian Studies readings that help her gain an edge during classroom discussions.

Jhonatan Baez Jhonatan is an instructor at FIU, teaching several courses on Japanese language and East Asian cultures in the departments of Asian Studies and Modern Languages, and is the first non-native speaker to teach Japanese here regularly. He earned both B.A. and M.A. degrees at FIU and, in between, was in the JET Program teaching English in Japan. Jonathan also helps with alumni events and orientation workshops for JET in connection with the Japanese Consulate of Miami.

FEATURED Events "Covid Conditions in Japan" On March 30, 2022, FIU alumna and instructor, Dr. Marcela López Bravo, who completed her PhD at Waseda University in Tokyo, gave a talk on the current Covid situation in Japan, sharing first-hand experiences of living there throughout the past two years of the pandemic.

Dr. Marcela López Bravo

"The Niseri Soldier Legacy: Why it Matters Today"

Dr. Mitzi Carter

The Florida JET Alumni Association, in conjunction with Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and USJETAA, presented a panel this past Spring 2021 conferring the legacy of the Japanese American “Nisei” soldiers who served in WWII. This event featured keynote speaker Dr. Lynn Heirakuji, president and board member of the Nisei Veterans Legacy, with commentary by Diane Hirabayashi Carter (Morikami Museum) and Dr. Mitzi Carter (FIU).

FEATURED Events The Art of War: History and Philosophy by Sun Tzu Mr. Philip T. Y. Wang, a retired career diplomat of the Republic of China, presented an interactive discussion on the history and philosophy of The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Philip T. Y. Wang

Director General Wang graduated from the Department of Sinology of Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taiwan with a Bachelor’s degree. He has also lectured on Taiwan’s achievements in economic development and political democratization and topics relating to Chinese culture.

“I Shoulda Been a Doctor” Bob Dylan, Jewish Folk Singer Dr. Steven Heine gave a lecture at the FIU Jewish Museum of Florida as part of the Mondays at the Museum series.

Dr. Steven Heine and Dr. Tudor Parfitt

Dr. Heine explored the various aspects of Jewish spirituality of Bob Dylan's song lyrics, in addition to the biographical and interpretative approaches expressed in terms of the traditional prophetic tradition and modern cubist perspectives.

FEATURED Events “Writing about Exile and the Other: A Journey of Healing and Self-Discovery” By Ms. Gail Tsukiyama Presented by the FIU Exile Studies Program in collaboration with the Department of English, Asian Studies Program, Modern Languages, Honors College, Center for Women's Studies, and others on April 18, 2022

Gail Tsukiyama was born in San Francisco, California to a Chinese mother from Hong Kong and a Japanese father from Hawaii. She attended San Francisco State University where she received both her BA and MA degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She is the author of eight novels, including Women of the Silk, The Samurai's Garden, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, and her latest historical novel, The Color of Air. She has been the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence, and the Asia Pacific Leadership Award from the Center of the Pacific Rim and the Ricci Institute. She was one of fifty authors chosen by the Library of Congress to participate in the first National Book Festival in Washington D.C. and has been a guest speaker at International Literary Festivals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, England, and Toronto. A resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, she has taught at San Francisco State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College. Welcoming Remarks: Dr. James Sutton, Acting Director, Exile Studies Program Dr. Asher Milbauer, Founding Director, Exile Studies Program Dr. Kenneth Johnson, Associate Professor, English This webinar by Ms. Tsukiyama was funded in part by the Dorothea Green Lecture Series

japan studies review )([)

VOLUME XXVI The Japan Study Review is a refereed journal published annually by the Southern Japan Seminar and Asian Studies at FIU. JSR features interdisciplinary scholarly works in traditional and contemporary Japanese studies. The 2022 issue (Volume XXVI) presents four articles that deal with t traditional and contemporary topics such as: "Immobility Through Motion: Historicizing Emigrant Regionalism in Japanese Proletarian Literature, 1929–1939" (Anne Giblin Gedacht); "The Mugen Noh Structure in Translation: A Study of Two English Versions of Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s Ashikari” (Rihito Mitsui); "Contemporary Meaning of the Avatamsaka Philosophy” (by the eminent priest Kōsei Morimoto); To obtain a copy or to submit an article or book review, please email

and one final article, "The Presentation of Spirit: A Case Study of the Zen Painting ‘Rushleaf Bodhidharma'” (Yiqin Sun). Two essays are also featured in this volume, including “Ichinichi Ichizen: On Translating an NHK Guide to Everyday Zen" (Jhonatan Baez); and “The Japanese/Okinawan Descendants in Cuba: A Preliminary View of Transculturation" (Elisa Romulo Borges). Lastly, there are three book reviews with varying topics from books by Akihiro Odanaka and Masami Iwai (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.), Yuki Matsuda (Kinko Ito), Takashi Horie, Hikaru Tanaka, and Kiyoto Tanno (Yuichi Tamura), and Araceli Tinajero (Raul Caner Cruz). JSR Journal Archive:

japan studies review )([) FEATURED Excerpt ICHINICHI ICHIZEN: ON TRANSLATING AN NHK GUIDE TO EVERYDAY ZEN Jhonatan Baez Florida International University

The publication titled Ichinichi Ichizen (

一日一禅, “One Zen Lesson a Day”),

produced by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK, provides insight into the realm of Zen practice and its practicality for everyday activities. With its light tone and illustrative Japanese-style drawings, it colloquializes and illuminates essential concepts in the Zen tradition using “Zen phrases” (

禅語 Zengo). The moniker 一日

一禅 is itself a play on words, as is common in Zen dialogues, referring to the more common Japanese proverb 一日一善 (also pronounced Ichinichi Ichizen), meaning “one good deed a day.” The play on words achieves a dual meaning by associating the ordinariness of “one good deed a day” with “one Zen lesson a day,” while implying that committing to daily Zen acts, no matter how trivial, is equivalent to performing a good deed. This interplay involving words and their meanings and readings highlights the charm of Ichinichi Ichizen. EXAMPLE SHOWN ON PGS. 120-121: There is a phrase, “Awaken on half a tatami, sleep on a single tatam.” ( , Okite hanjou nete ichijou), meaning the same space where a novice monk sleeps and wakes, whether a full tatami, or half a tatami space, can be described as “simple…” Practice is “walking, standing, sitting, and lying down” ( , Gyōjū zaga). That means that twentyfour hours a day, one’s manners and bearing are all exemplary of practice.




Daily practice at a Zen monastery


director's Research This past academic year, in addition to overseeing all Asian Studies Program undergraduate, graduate, university-wide and community outreach components, Dr. Steven Heine published a new book, Dogen, Japan’s Original Zen Teacher (Shambhala Publishers). It follows his two recent monographs released in 2020 concerning the life and thoughts of the master Dogen (1200-1253), founder of Soto Zen in medieval Japan: Readings of Dogen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Columbia University Press), and Flowers Blooming on a Withered: Giun’s Verse Comments on Dogen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Oxford University Press). Dr. Heine also published a couple of articles this year, including: “When Mountains Can No Longer Be Seen”: A Critical History of Interpretations of an Ambiguous Shobogenzo Sentence” in the Journal of Chan Buddhism and “The Man Who Redefined Zen” in Lion’s Roar. Moreover, he is publishing the monograph Wisdom within Words: An Annotated Translation of Dōgen’s Chinese-Style Poetry (Oxford University Press) in Fall 2022; and, also, the volume, Approaches to Chan, Son, and Zen Studies Chinese Chan Buddhism and Its Spread throughout East Asia (State University of New York Press), co-edited by Albert Welter, Steven Heine, and Jin Y. Park based on a major conference held in 2018. Also, Dr. Heine presented at various national and international conferences. On March 21, 2022, Dr. Heine gave a lecture at the Jewish Museum of Florida, “I Shoulda Been a Doctor: Bob Dylan, Jewish Folk Singer,” which had about 120 attendees. As a founding member and regular participant in the Dogen Reading Group and the Chan Studies Workshop, he organized a panel or delivered a paper at the American Academy of Religion and the Association for Asian Studies. Dr. Heine also gave a series of lectures, classes, and recorded podcasts for the Upaya Zen Center, the San Francisco Zen Center, the Ancient Dragon Zen Center, and the Atlanta Soto Zen Center.

At the FIU Faculty Book Award Ceremony

Dr. Heine with his Japan government award


Book Launch in Honor of Dr. Steven Heine

In a hybrid event on April 8, 2022, the launch of a Festschrift published in Dr. Steven Heine’s honor titled The Theory and Practice of Zen Buddhism (Springer Press, 2022) was celebrated with over 60 colleagues, former students, and friends. This event brought together an impressive group of fifteen scholars to critically engage with a wide-ranging and broad perspective on the historical and contemporary phenomenon of Zen. It consisted of an interactive workshop where contributors to the Festschrift and other participants shared topics or asked questions relating Dr. Heine's work to the fields of Zen Buddhism, Japanese religions, and East Asian literature and culture.

Some of the scholars who participated in Dr. Heine's Festschrift also visited the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens: Dr. Jacqueline Stone, Dr. James Mark Shields, Dr. Michaela Mross, and Dr. Zuzana Kubovčáková (left to right).

Research Research director's's'sRsearch In Dogen: Japan’s Original Zen Teacher, respected Dogen scholar and translator Steven Heine offers a nuanced portrait of the master’s historical context, life, and work. The founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan, Eihei Dogen (1200–1253), is one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of all time. Although Dogen’s writings have reached wide prominence among contemporary Buddhists and philosophers, there is much that remains enigmatic about his life and writings.

ISBN: 9781611809800

"An extraordinary and fascinating exploration of Zen Master Eihei Dogen’s life and works done by scholar Steven Heine, who has unwrapped Dogen’s legacy bravely, richly, and skillfully." —Joan Halifax, author of Being with Dying and Standing at the Edge "Heine’s definitive research illuminates the life and creative process of a towering thinker—a Zen monk who initiated an uncompromised monastic tradition in Japan almost eight hundred years ago and whose work begins to shed light on issues of our time worldwide." —Kazuaki Tanahashi, editor of Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo

Dogen: Japan’s Original Zen Teacher Dr. Heine’s book pays special attention to issues such as: The “great doubt” that motivated Dogen’s religious quest The sociopolitical turmoil of Kamakura Japan that led to dynamic innovations in medieval Japanese Buddhism The challenges and transformations Dogen experienced during his pivotal time in China Key inflection points and unresolved questions regarding Dogen’s teaching career in Japan Ongoing controversies in the scholarly interpretations of Dogen’s biography and teachings

"Steven Heine has condensed decades of scholarship into this precise, concise, and remarkably engaging read. His study goes deeper and farther than the average introduction to the life and work of Zen master Dogen (1200–1253). Heine offers new critical insights into the many myths and legends that animate Dogen’s medieval biographies, and he provides an extremely helpful chronological analysis of almost all of Dogen’s works, including his main collections and overlooked miscellanea. Heine’s original translations and final reflections upon Dogen’s lasting legacy today are thought-provoking and sure to prove inspiring to Zen students—at any level—who wish to make the lessons of a great pioneering mind present in the world today." —Pamela D. Winfield, author of Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism: Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment

Faculty Spotlight


MASAKO KUBOTA has been teaching several Japanese language and culture courses at FIU, including some through the COIL program with students of Waseda University in Tokyo. The Asian Studies Program is very grateful for Kubota Sensei’s commitment to teaching excellence and her devotion and service to FIU over the years. This past summer, she was one of the few faculty allowed to travel to Japan (per the Covid-19 restrictions) with the FIU Honors College Study Abroad program, “Searching Reciprocity in Japan,” during May and June 2022. Last year, Kubota’s research on Japanese Ainu was featured in a Global Indigenous Forum event, “Dialogue on Japan’s Marginalized: Ainu and Okinawans,” in addition to a film screening and symposium based on a Japanese film titled Ainu My Voice.

Faculty News Dr. ASUKA MASHAV, Assistant Director of Language Programs and Japanese Language Instructor, led this year’s Japan Foundation educational grant to advance Japanese language courses with local high schools via the Dual Enrollment program. Dr. Mashav also served in the AFTJ’s 2021 Spring Online Japanese Speech Contest, where several FIU students were awarded. Starting this Fall 2022, Dr. Mashav has been assigned as the new Undergraduate Director for the Asian Studies Program.

SUNGMIN CHO, Korean Language and Culture Assistant Teaching Professor, has recently been promoted to full-time faculty. Sungmin has been teaching new sections of Korean based on increased student demand. She has also been actively involved with the student organizations, Korean Culture Club (KCC) and Korean Language Empowerment Club (KLEC), to plan out Korean cultural activities such as the 4th Annual Korean Festival on December 4, 2021, giving her students a chance to perform, dance, and celebrate various trends in pop culture. She has helped recruit the first Korean language tutors at FIU and continues encouraging new students to improve their language skills.

Faculty News Dr. LI MA, Chinese Teaching Professor, has worked closely with other faculty like Dr. Wang and student clubs such as the FIU Chinese Club, ASGSO, Vietnamese SA, Korean Culture Club, and Sino-US Salon to host the Chinese Lunar New Year Gala annual event. In addition, two of her students, Alexandria Preda and Uri Rodriguez, won awards for the 2022 Florida Youth Chinese Speech Contest in January 2022. Alexandria then won Third Place for this year’s “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition US Southeast Region Preliminary in May.

NAOKO KOUMURA, Japanese Teaching Professor, continued serving as a reader for the Critical Language Scholarship (since 2013). This year she served in the Association of Florida Teachers of Japanese (AFTJ) ’s 2021 Spring Online Japanese Speech Contest and organized the Senpai Kohai event in February 2021, connecting Japanese learners of all levels. This Fall 2022, she hopes to plan the cultural event “Japan Immersion Day” after two years of not hosting it on campus due to the ongoing limitations of the pandemic.

Faculty News Dr. MITZI CARTER, Assistant Teaching Professor of Anthropology, has been serving as Interim Director of FIU’s Global Indigenous Forum. This year, she moderated various events, including the “First Language: The Race to Save Cherokee,” interviewing rapper/hip-hop artist AWICH regarding the importance of bringing Okinawan language and culture to the world stage through music. She also was part of “The Nisei Soldier Legacy” virtual event presented by JETAA-FL, discussing the multicultural and multiracial identities of Nisei preconceptions about what it truly means to be an American. Dr. Carter also moderated a panel for the Morikami Museum’s Exhibition titled “Beyond the Wall: Visions of the Asian Experience in America” in May 2022, among other academic events.

Dr. MATTHEW MARR, Associate Professor of Sociology, received an extension for his “US-Japan Service Hub Network” grant project with the Japan Foundation GCP, given the ongoing Covid travel restrictions. One of his doctoral students, an Asian Studies alumna, Lisa Muller, has recently completed her dissertation titled “Human Rights and Professions Museums as Interlocutors of Buraku Identity in Japan.”

Faculty News CLAUDIA LAU, Asian Studies Instructor, was recently awarded the 2021 FIU Faculty Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. She has continued establishing various COIL courses, connecting FIU with universities in Asia and Latin America. In 2021, she was reinvited to the Commencement ceremonies to serve as a narrator. Claudia has participated in the 2022 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event. In addition to the Virtual Exchange + Mobility (VEM) Program she completed this Summer 2022, she was recently awarded the FIU Online High Quality (HQ) Course Design Certification Stipend as part of the Panther Quality Initiative for her course ASN 3143 Corporate Culture of China.

Dr. MARCELA LOPEZ BRAVO, Asian Studies Instructor, received the 2022 Rewarding Excellence in Teaching Incentives (RETI) award at FIU. In March 2022, she gave a talk for our program titled “Covid Conditions in Japan” to share first-hand experiences with our students on the current situation in Japan. She has been teaching several courses for Asian Studies, specializing in teaching modalities such as Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and Virtual Study Abroad. Along with Claudia Lau, she was accepted into the US-Japan VEM Program this Summer. Marcela has also been awarded the 11th eTeaching Award Grand Prize for her effective online teaching at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Faculty News Dr. JULIE ZENG, Associate Professor in International Relations, received the FIUCIBER Faculty Research Award to conduct research and fieldwork for her project on Chinese investment in Latin America. She will be a nonresidential Rosenberg Institute Scholar at Suffolk University Boston from September 2022 to June 2024. As a result, she will be on sabbatical in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023.

ELISA ROMULO BORGES, Asian Studies Instructor, published an essay in this year’s Japan Studies Review (Volume XXVI, Issue 2022) titled, “The Japanese/Okinawan Descendants in Cuba: Transculturation, Festivals, and Pop Culture.” As a second-year PhD student in GSS, Elisa has also been selected to participate in the “Crossing Latinidades Humanities Research Initiative” for the 2022 Summer Institute in Latino Humanities Studies Methodologies and Theories held at the University of Illinois at Chicago, equipping doctoral students with intellectual innovation and expanded views in Latino Humanities Studies before advancing to candidacy. Moreover, Elisa was recently awarded the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship as part of the Crossing Latinidades Initiative grant project for the academic year 2022-2023 in support of her research on the migration and integration of Asian Cubans.

Faculty News Dr. KEYAO “KYLE” PAN, Assistant Professor of History, recently published an article: “Networking for Historical Justice" in the Journal of Open Humanities Data 8/11 (2022), which has been recently featured in the journal's online platforms. After completing his postdoctoral studies at Harvard University, Dr. Pan began teaching at FIU and proposed a new course, ASN 3450 (Human Rights in Modern Japanese History), to be taught for the first time this Fall 2022.

Dr. SHENGGAO WANG, Associate Teaching Professor in Chinese Studies, co-authored a book review with one of our MA students Ivan Jimenez based on Dr. Wang’s course ASN 3016 China Then and Now. They worked together on the final copy and published it in a peer-reviewed journal: “Book Review: Dependency in the Twenty-First Century? The Political Economy of China–Latin America Relations by Barbara Stallings,” China Information 36/1 (2022): 135–137.

student News Lisa Mueller (MA 2019; PhD 2022) completed her doctorate at FIU in Global and Sociocultural Studies this past Spring 2022 with her dissertation titled “Human Rights and Professions Museums as Interlocutors of Buraku Identity in Japan.” While finishing her MA research in Asian Studies in 2019, she received the Critical Language Scholarship to conduct fieldwork in Okayama, Japan. She is pictured here on the right with her host family in Japan. The Association of Florida Teachers of Japanese held an online Florida speech contest this past Spring 2022. FIU undergraduate student Rosemary Seus won first place in the College Level 5 Contest and the Grand Champion in the College Level Speech Contest. The title of her speech was “I want to know you more .”


Students Alexandria Preda and Uri Rodriguez won awards for the 2022 Florida Youth Chinese Speech Contest. Alexandria also won Third Place in the 2022 “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition U.S. Southeast Region Preliminary.

Maria Macarena Grigera (BA 2021, MA, expected 2023) completed an internship with the Morikami Museum as an education intern for Summer 2022. She hopes to finish her MA in Asian studies in 2023 and travel to Japan next year to look for language schools or any program that would allow her to improve her language skills before joining the International Relations PhD program at FIU. She has also served as Vice President of the Asian Student Union (ASU) student organization.

Omar K. Carrion


The Omar K. Carrion Scholarship for Asian Studies was established through a $50,000 gift made by Hilda and Fernando Carrion, parents of Omar, as an endowment memorializing their son who passed away in 2013. Omar was a bright student, graduating from high school in 2003 and immediately starting classes at FIU. He developed a love for Japan and pursued his bachelor's in Asian Studies. He gained new friends and experiences like teaching English to students in Japan. His family misses him every day and hopes this scholarship will inspire future generations in their studies of Asia.

scholarship recipients from 2015-2020


Kate Fracke


Gabriela Avila Valbuena Justin Raymond Hernandez (Runner-up)


Sofiya Burmistrova Adriana Schiavo (Runner-up) Hedda Stokkland (Runner-up)


Eshrat Nikrooye-Asl Jana Nudelman (Runner-up)


Nicole Consuegra


Geri Ross

Congratulations to the 2021-2022

Omar K. Carrion Scholarship Recipients This year we are awarding three outstanding students in our program. Kyle Beekman is the Main Recipient and the two Runner-Ups are awarded from FIU's Asian Studies Program funds.

KYLE BEEKMAN AWARD WINNER Kyle earned the online Asian Studies BA degree with a 4.0 GPA, focusing primarily on Japanese language and history. Kyle is currently pursuing the MA in Asian Studies at FIU and hopes to continue his studies to earn a PhD in order to become a college professor. In addition, Kyle plans on entering the international Human Resources field, where he will be able to use his knowledge of East Asia in tandem with his background in business management. Before the pandemic, Kyle volunteered at his local high school as a soccer coach while also being a role model to students.

BRITTANY NOBLES RUNNER-UP Brittany pursued the online BA in Asian studies concentrating on Japan and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She also studied Japanese online at Kansai Gaidai University after being awarded the Gilman scholarship and the Freeman Asia scholarship. She is currently completing her TEFL certification to teach English to students abroad. Primarily those from East Asia, and hopes to apply to the JET program after her graduation. One of her future goals is to pursue a degree in film production to introduce people to different cultures, especially to share inspiring stories from Japan. TATIANNA VALIENTE RUNNER-UP After Tatianna began studying Japanese at FIU, excelling with a 4.0 GPA in the Asian Studies BA with the Japanese Area Studies major, her passion for the culture has grown deeper. After learning Japanese, several opportunities have opened for her, such as being the lead singer in a JRock cover band called Kyoku and culturing a new hobby, shodo, inspired by Mashav Sensei's calligraphy course. After graduation, she hopes to move to Japan to work as an English teacher through the JET program and offer private tutoring for Spanish. In the future, she hopes to take a leadership role in organizing and hosting multicultural music and art events, connecting Asian Studies to other parts of the globe.

ALUMNI Updates Andres Baca (MA 2019) has published a few novels after graduating from FIU with an Asian Studies MA degree. He has noted that the training he received in our program has helped him to prepare for his first novel's plot, which for him worked similarly to the outline of a research paper. His love for philosophy, anime, and Asian action films has greatly inspired his work. He describes his novel, THE SWORDSMAN & THE PHILOSOPHER, as a buddy comedy like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon meets Twins (Schwarzenneger and Danny Devito movie).

Eshrat Nikrooye-Asli (BA 2018) earned undergraduate degrees in Political Science, International Relations, and Asian Studies at FIU. She also completed certificates in European and German Studies. After multiple years working with the US Department of State as a US Foreign Service Intern and a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Fellow, she is pursuing an MA degree in historical media and propaganda at Columbia University and the London School of Economics. Eshrat's research interests include comparative studies on racially discriminative rhetoric and imagery in Germany and the United States during the early twentieth century.

pictured Miguel Tokyo e at th pics Olym

Miguel Rischmaui (BA 2018) has been working as an English teacher in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, Japan via the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) after graduating from FIU. Miguel had the opportunity to volunteer in the LAN Field Cast Team language services department as a Spanish and Japanese translator and interpreter for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (postponed a year because of Covid). He was assigned to the Olympic judo, karate, and Paralympic judo athletes in the Nippon Budokan arena, representing the United States in this world tournament. Various news outlets featured Miguel's story (click here). Miguel also wrote an article for the JET magazine from his prefecture sharing his Olympic experience. Click here to read it (pages 23-26): AJET TRAM Spring 2022

ALUMNI Updates

The goals of this organization are (1) to provide a network of current alumni members along with friends among the general community, (2) to create opportunities for those connected with the Alumni and Friends Association to update one another and communicate about their post-graduation activities, and (3) to help identify potential philanthropic donors who may be interested in providing support for the program’s continued pursuit of academic excellence.

“I am finishing my second year in the East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies PhD program at the University of California – Santa Barbara. I am working closely with Dr. Sabine Fruhstuck to research sexual violence in Japan. My dissertation will hopefully look at the changing media and political discourse regarding sexual violence in Japan. I am also happy to announce that I will attend the International Communication Association’s annual conference in Paris at the end of May. I will be on a panel discussing gender and sexuality in the media transnationally. My presentation will focus on how certain issues of sexual violence in Japan gain visibility in the media locally and globally. The answer: these incidents of sexual violence were already characterized by their inherent transnationality. I am also teaching my fully online, asynchronous class on Japanese Anime and Manga for FIU. This is my third year teaching it!” —Rachel Levine (MA 2019)

Alumni Feedback “Since September 2021, I have been living in Cheongju, South Korea. I am working as an English teacher in a Private Academy teaching Kindergarten and Elementary school students. I plan to apply to a PhD program in Korean History in the next year or two. Studying Asian Studies allowed me to acclimate easily to different surroundings, and I now take what I have learned and share it with my students. I am grateful for all I have learned at FIU and for having Dr. Heine guide me through my Master’s degree.” —Denise A. Poveda (MA 2020)

“I am currently in the International Relations PhD program here at FIU. My dissertation topic is a blend of East Asian politics and security theory, particularly the role of historical narratives as a securitization method and its impact on foreign policy constraints. I also began learning Korean in order to gain access to South Korean scholarly sources. Asian Studies not only equipped me with the tools to begin the PhD program but also gave me a deep appreciation for the regional and cultural focus of my research. The friends and contacts I made there continue to play a large part in both my studies and my personal life.” —Logan Walker (MA 2021)

“The National Bureau Research institute awarded me the Chinese Fellowship Language Program, allowing me to study mandarin for a full academic year. I was accepted into the National Taiwan University Intensive Chinese Language Program (ICLP), so I will be studying in Taipei. Thanks to FIU’s Asian Studies graduate program, I received the $40,000 Chinese Language Fellowship Program scholarship. That means I am going to achieve my goal of solely studying mandarin in the National Taiwan University Intensive Chinese Language Program. I am forever grateful to Dr. Heine, Dr. Ma, and Dr. Wang for helping me represent the National Bureau of Asian Research and FIU.” —Ivan A. Jiménez (MA 2022)

graduate Degree Programs

Now Accepting Applications for


The Master of Arts in Asian Studies at FIU is a growing interdisciplinary program in the prestigious Green School of International and Public Affairs

Thematic Areas of Study Political Economy

drawing on excellent faculty resources

of China and Japan

in various departments, including Art

Chinese and Japanese Society and Culture

History, Environmental Studies, Global & Sociocultural Studies, History, Modern Languages, Politics and International Relations, Religious Studies, and more.

Politics of East Asia Asia and World Affairs Asian Religious Traditions Asian Arts and Literature

Inquire about the

D&E Fellowship for an MA in Chinese Studies

Online courses are available in several areas of concentration Joint MA/PhD programs with International Relations, History, Sociology

Graduate Certificates Asian Studies Asian Globalization Japanese Studies

Asian language classes can be taken for graduate credit Both Exit Options are 30 Credits: Thesis or Masters Essay

For more information, visit our website or email

Study Abroad sCHOLASHIPS for Asia Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our scholarships were not distributed since most Study Abroad Programs were canceled in 2021-2022

April Messersmith Memorial Scholarship This award was established by a generous gift made by Yoko Messersmith, wife of Dr. Eric Messersmith, in memory of their beloved granddaughter April. The scholarship is intended for outstanding students to travel to Japan. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA or higher and at least one year of Japanese Language.

Fu Foundation Scholarship The Fu Foundation was created in 1997 as a memorial in honor of the late Professor Charles Wei-hsun Fu, one of the premier scholars of Asian thought and culture, who taught in the U.S. and Taiwan. This scholarship is for students with outstanding qualifications in Asian Studies. It is intended for, but not limited to, studies of humanities and culture in Asia. Students awarded can receive up to $500 towards opportunities to study or research in Asia (for semester exchange programs or summer sessions).

Study Abroad Programs to Asia The Asian Studies Program encourages study abroad opportunities to Asia for Students. The following programs are available for semester or year-long exchange. Please inquire with one of our advisors for more information.

All applications must go through the office of Study Abroad.

Japan Kansai Gaidai University, Ritsumeikan University Kanda University, Asia Pacific University

South Korea Kyung Hee University, Yonsei University

China Zhejiang University, University of Hong Kong

national consortium For Teaching About Asia

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) is a nationwide professional development program for K-12 teachers to encourage teaching and learning about Asia. Look for updates this next academic year, 2022-2023

To apply, please contact Dr. Maria Sol Echarren at

Asian Studies at FIU is proud to host the NCTA program in South Florida. This project is an ideal introduction to Asian culture, history, and society for teachers in our community. The main objective of the workshop is for teachers to understand East Asian cultural and historical aspects, encouraging them to infuse Asia into their curriculum through the use of interactive lessons and online resources. Furthermore, this knowledge can be applied to specific and original lesson plans for incorporation into each teacher's educational portfolio.

Join our FIU's NCTA Facebook page for updates and news!

Clubs & Organizations Visit PantherConnect to join various FIU student clubs and organizations!

Asian Student Union

Japan Club

Korean Culture Club

Chinese Club

Geek Culture Club Vietnamese Student Association

Tae Kwon Do

Aikido Club

Korean Language Empowerment Club Asian Studies Graduate Student Organization

International Student Club

Kendo Club

Asian Graduate Student Organization Studies ASGSO promotes Asian Studies and all it has to offer within FIU and beyond. The organization is dedicated to educating the student body about contemporary Asian issues, history, and culture through creative and engaging activities. It encourages dedicated, educated, and well-rounded members to apply their unique knowledge, talents, and acquired skills for the benefit of the greater social/global community.

ASGSO 2021-2022 E-BOARD: President: Ivan Jimenez Treasurer: Madeline Galivan CSO Representative: Ryan Norton ASGSO connects students to several East Asian cultural and academic events on campus along with other FIU clubs. If you are interested in joining the E-Board in the next academic year, please contact the Asian Studies office :)

Student CLUBS: Featured Activities Korean Language Empowerment Club Summer 2021 | Summer Online Korean Workshops: KLEC student group offered a 4-week course online for free during the summer term to help their peers studying Korean I and II. Volunteering at the Miami Children's Museum.

Korean Culture Club Fall 2021 | Fourth Annual Korean Festival: Singing and dance performances, cultural exhibits, and Korean language speeches. ASIAN STUDENT CLUB & JAPAN CLUB Fall 2021 - Spring 2022 | ASU students participated in multiple events in collaboration with the Japan Club and the Korean Culture Club, including: Zero Waste Sustainability Spring Banquet FIU World Fair Roary’s Race 2022 Asian Culture Festival “Weathering with You” Presentation with the Consulate of Japan

2021-2022 FIU graduates Master of Arts in Asian Studies Kristin Hynes Celina Riquier Logan Walker Nathaniel Jones Miwako Patton Ivan Jimenez Ryan Norton Claudia Perez Isabel Perez Susan St. Denis Amante Tolbert

Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies Nashaly Albaladejo Matias Alvarez Roxana Amiot Janette Andreu Daylene Ariasalonso Rachel Armstrong Lilyan Barrera Lorena Benitez Pamela Castro-Guerrero Katherine Dicken Ana Dociu

Nyriah Fisher Marcus Gaboure Jordy Galicia Daniel Garner Paola Gerena Maria Grigera Jovannah Kane Izak Ketznus Esther Kim Dahlia Meneses Welch Jesus Miguelez Angelinne Moreno Michael Mowris Marilyn Nguyen Jonathan Perez Trang Phamhoang Shelby Powell Brandon Quach Emma Reale Vanessa Robert Ela Rozas Mackenzie Santos Taylor Shannon Viviana Valentin Karen Vega Kyara Villegas Justin Watkins Jada Wheeler Paul Wright

Asian Globalization and Latin America Certificate Giuliano Fransezze Luvianka Jarquin Roly Marrero Jesus Miguelez Vanessa Robert Jordan Rogers Francisco Suarez Justin Vallejo

asian studies program Japanese Studies Certificate

Asian Studies Certificate

Minor in Asian Studies

Marcus Ballantyne Luisa Banuelos Kendra Campbell Armando Del Sol Daniela Figueroa Aidan Garcia Samantha Goclan Maria Grigera Lionel Guardia Kierra Hobdy Noel Lazaro Vanessa Lopez Brandon Quach Ela Rozas Jordi Seijo Rosemarie Seus Claudette Suarez Peter Vanegas Vanesa Vargas Karen Vega

Rissy Arias Kyrian Carrandi Larisa Cherney Daniela Martinez Linares Jada Wheeler

Madeleine Byers Natasha Calle Kelvin Cho Whitney Cox Anthony Devesa Amanda George Jasmin Henry Ericka Hodge Savannah Holz Elise Leon Karen Lozada Daniel Marquez Nashaly Melendez Natalie Meneses Jennifer Rodriguez Marcello Rodriguez Marie Stewart Claudette Suarez Diana Valdes Justin Vallejo Connor Wain Melissa Zaldivar

Chinese Studies Certificate Andrea Gomez Gonalez Lesie Gon Yu Kayleen Herrera Kerty Medina Rodriguez Jesus Miguelez Alexandria Preda David Rived Arlett Umpierres Diego Urdaneta Boscan

Asian Studies Overview Fall 2021 Events August 18 — Asian Studies Graduate Student Orientation August 24 — Japan Studies Review - Volume XXV - Published Online September 22 — CNKI (China National Knowledge and Infrastructure) Info and Training Session September 16 — “Love your Major” Fair with ASGSO September 30 — Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Info Session October 11 — Indigenous People’s Day: Screening of First Language: The Race to Save Cherokee October 15 — “Japanese Meet-Up” Discussion - Virtual Event October 21 — “Networking for Historical Justice: Building the Graph Database of Reparation Lawsuits against the Japanese State for Colonial and Wartime Atrocities” by Dr. Kyle Pan October 23 — Career & Opportunities in Asian Studies - SIPA Career Services October 28 – Asian Studies “Alumni Connections” 2021 November 2 — FIU Grad Fair – Asian Studies MA Recruitment November 4 — "Fred Korematsu & His Quest for Justice" by Lorraine K. Bannai November 8 — 5th Annual AFTJ Bento Contest 2021 November 12 —“The Political Economy of China-Latin American Relations” by Dr. Carol Wise December 4 — 4th Annual Korean Language and Culture Festival 2022 December 5 — Japan Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at FIU December 8 — Nima Voices: Ryusuke Kawai, Japanese Journalist and Writer Most of the events this academic year were held online because of the continued challenges of the pandemic

Follow us on social media to keep up to date with our news & events!

Spring 2022 Events January 25 — JETAA-FL Presents: “The Nisei Soldier Legacy: Why It Matters Today” February 12 — Lunar New Year Gala, Celebrating the Year of the Tiger February 17 — “The Art of War: History and Philosophy of Sun Tzu” by Mr. Philip Wang February 24 — Southern Japan Seminar 2022 “Teaching-Researching-Living in Japan” March 11 — AFTJ Japanese Spring Online Contest 2022 (Speech, Manga, Karaoke, and Video) March 21 — “‘I Shoulda Been a Doctor’: Bob Dylan, Jewish Folk Singer” by Dr. Steven Heine March 29 — “Myanmar: Between the Past and the Future” by Dr. Ma Thida March 30 — “Covid Conditions in Japan” by Dr. Marcela López Bravo April 8 — Festschrift: Book Launch in Honor of Dr. Steven Heine April 18 — “Writing about Exile and the Other: A Journey of Healing and Self-Discovery” by Ms. Gail Tsukiyama May 14 - June 11 — FIU's National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) May 21 — Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration


Asian Studies Program Florida International University Modesto A. Maidique Campus Steven J. Green SIPA Building , Room 512 11200 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33199 Phone: (305) 348-1914 Email: Website:

Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs