After living and working in Japan for three years, I decided to pursue a career in translation and interpretation. However, before I could do that, I knew I needed intensive study in an immersive environment. I had heard about the Inter-University Center from alumni friends who went on to work in fields requiring a high degree of linguistic competence. Upon entering IUC, I was immediately impressed with the attentiveness of the professors and the thoroughness of the curriculum. Each day we delved deeper into the Japanese language via studies of culture, literature, the economy, social and political issues, and so much more. I later went on to work as an interpreter and have found myself often reviewing and reusing the materials we used at IUC almost 20 years ago. Studying at the Center was a crucial step in my professional development and to my career as an interpreter.
The Inter-University Center's role in providing advanced Japanese language training to Americans specializing on Japan is vital to the ongoing U.S.-Japan relationship. For years Center graduates have been playing a central part in all aspects of the relationship, and it is in the interests of both countries to continue to train such people as we move towards the 21st century. I strongly urge full support of the Center from both the public and private sectors of both countries.
As all Americans engaged in business in Japan know, mastery of the Japanese language is both essential and rewarding for those who want to live and work in this country. No institution is more important in providing the language expertise that Americans require to remain competitive in Japan than the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama.
Foreign language training is vital for any American historian who hopes to deal with Asia today. It is institutions such as the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama that make it possible for American graduate students to master the skills they need to become leaders in this challenging field.
As the many alumni of the Inter-University Center know very well, there is no substitute for the kind of intensive language study offered by the Center. Since the need for advanced proficiency in Japanese has grown ever greater over the years, the role of the Center will be as important in the future as it has been in the past.