Japanese cultural ambassador at Marshall University offering outreach to community

Updated 1 year ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
Japanese cultural ambassador at Marshall University offering outreach to community

Shintaro “Shinn” Takase, originally from Kyoto, Japan, has come to Marshall University as part of the Japanese Outreach Initiative program, with a mission of going out into the community to introduce people of all ages to the Japanese culture.


He will be at Marshall for two years, after spending a year teaching Japanese to high school students in Portland, Oregon. He has earned both undergraduate and graduate level degrees in education in his home country, and hopes to visit schools, libraries, senior centers and various civic groups throughout the region to share his culture.

“I was eager to teach Japanese, and this program seems to raise awareness of Japanese culture. I’m very interested in that,” Takase said. “To maintain a good relationship between the United States and Japan, and for children and adults to enhance their understanding of different cultures, is significant.”

With Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia located in Putnam County and other Japanese businesses throughout the region, it’s a wonderful opportunity to foster relationships between cultures, said Dr. David Pittenger, interim associate vice president for outreach and continuing studies, who will serve as Takase’s supervisor during his time at Marshall.

“Central to the mission of Marshall University is the internalization of its campus and academic programming,” Pittenger said. Marshall has a breadth of international students and faculty, which – along with programs such as the Japanese Outreach Initiatives – helps prepare students for life and commerce in a diverse world, he said.

Takase, who is 26, will also be teaching as part of a Saturday school program that has been established in Putnam County for Japanese children in the area to help them maintain their Japanese curriculum here in the United States. He follows others who have served as Japanese Outreach Initiative coordinators at Marshall. Azusa “Hanah” Yamada held the position beginning in 2011. The Japanese Outreach Initiative has funded Takase’s stay at Marshall through a grant program the organization created 16 years ago. Currently, there are 10 Japanese coordinators working with various universities and organizations in the United States.

Anyone with ideas or questions about how Takase can help share the Japanese culture with their organization or group can reach him at 304-696-8881 or takase@marshall.edu.

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