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KCJS faculty and staff



Orie Maeguchi

  • B.A. in Western philosophy from Ritsumeikan University
  • M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Illinois
  • Taught at Columbia University, UCLA, the Inter-University Center for Japanese Studies in Yokohama, and in various other programs
  • Joined KCJS in 2006
  • Currently serves as Japanese Language Program Coordinator
  • Also teaches Japanese Pedagogy at Ritsumeikan University
  • Publication: Shauman’s Outline of Japanese Vocabulary, McGraw-Hill (co-author).

I have been teaching Japanese for 20 years, and I still enjoy what I do. It is because I like language, teaching, and the “I-have-got-it” faces of students. Other things I like are reading and walking. Yoroshiku.


  • 立命館大学人文学部卒業(西洋哲学専攻)
  • イリノイ大学 修士号(アジア研究)
  • コロンビア大学、カリフォルニア大学ロサンゼルス校、アメリカ・カナダ大学連合日本研究センター(IUC)などにて日本語教育に携わる
  • 2006年より現職
  • 現在KCJS日本語プログラム コーディネーター
  • 立命館大学で日本語教授法を教える
  • 出版: Shauman’s Outline of Japanese Vocabulary, McGraw-Hill(共著)


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Itsuko Nakamura

  • B.A. in Asian Studies from New York University
  • M.A. and Ed.M in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College Columbia University
  • Taught at New York University, Trinity College, Mount Holyoke College, Harvard University
  • Joined KCJS in 2007

You can study Japanese in the States. So, why study abroad? The answer is to learn from the host country and its people. Kyoto offers a lot to learn from – food culture, traditional culture, traditional arts, nature, etc. Also, you can find wide-ranging grassroots activist groups and interest groups. The city is fairly small, so it’s easy to get connected. For example, I am a part of sake-tasting group and sericulture study group. I practice yoga and shoulder drum of the Noh theatre. If you are interested, please join me!

I cannot stress enough how important it is to ask yourself what kind of activities you want to be involved in and what kind of people you want to meet before coming to Kyoto. Also, please come for two semesters if possible. One semester goes really fast. Your Japanese communication skills will improve tremendously in two semesters.

I look forward to studying with you in Kyoto!


  • ニューヨーク大学卒業
  • コロンビア大学ティーチャーズカレッジ 修士号(教育修士課程修了)
  • ニューヨーク大学、トリニティ大学、マウントホリヨーク大学、ハーバード大学で日本語教育に携わる
  • 2007年より現職




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Kaori Nakata

  • B.A. in English Literature from University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo
  • M.A. in Japanese Literature from The Ohio State University
  • Taught at the Ohio State University, Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Joined KCJS in 2013
  • Currently serves as CIP Coordinator

Take a slight turn into a back alley, and you’ll find traditional Kyoto houses, temples and shrines with histories of 1,000 years or more. Enter the main streets and you’ll find a treasure trove of cutting-edge pop culture. Then, find yourself in amidst a riot of green along a hiking trail within minutes of swaying back and forth on a city bus. For studying Japanese, one could rightly say that there is no more fertile soil than that of Kyoto in which the modern and the ancient, the metropolitan and the nature have been distilled. With the multiplying effect of students brimming with motivation gathered from all over America and an army of instructors, when you complete your study abroad at the KCJS Program born of this fertile soil, you will be fluent in Japanese, and have grown one or two-fold as a person.

I eagerly await those of you who want to challenge themselves and their Japanese in Kyoto!


  • 聖心女子大学英文学部卒業
  • オハイオ州立大学 修士号(日本文学)
  • オハイオ州立大学、ワシントン大学セントルイスで日本語教育に携わる。
  • 2013年より現職
  • 現在CIPコーディネーター


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Miyuki Nishimata(Fukai)

西俣(深井) 美由紀

Q:Why did you start teaching Japanese?
A:At first, because I wanted to live in Australia (I was told that becoming a Japanese teacher would be a good way to do so because there was a shortage of Japanese teachers). I became less interested in living in Australia, but I pursued the career in teaching Japanese because I enjoy teaching and hope to contribute to enriching the students’ life even just a little bit.
Q:What would you be if you were not teaching Japanese?
A:I wanted to be a mangaka (cartoon artist). I actually tried to no avail.
Q:A word to the students?
A:Living in another country is a great experience. If you can have that experience in Kyoto with us, that’s the best!


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Chihiro Yamaoka

  • B.A. in German Literature from Chuo University
  • M.A. in Linguistics from Ohio University
  • Taught at Osaka University for Foreign Studies, Konan-Illinois Center at Konan University in Kobe
  • Joined KCJS in 1989
  • Currently serve as Academic Director of KCJS Summer Programs in Modern and Classical Japanese
  • Publication: Workbooks of Japanese Grammar for Upper-Elementary Level I, II, III & IV, Tokyo: Bonjinsha (co-author)

Try to go outside of the classroom and have many cultural and social experiences. There is no foreign language study without having experiences in the culture and society.


  • 中央大学文学部卒業(ドイツ文学)
  • オハイオ大学 修士号(言語学)
  • 大阪外国語大学、甲南大学甲南・イリノイセンターで日本語教育に携わる
  • 1989年より現職
  • 現在KCJS現代・古典日本語サマープログラム アカデミックディレクター
  • 出版:『項目別日本語文法問題集 初中級用1-4』凡人社(共著)

教室で勉強するだけでなく教室の外に行って、いろいろな事を経験して下さい。 文化的、社会的な経験のない外国語学習はありません。

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Adjunct Instructors


image Patrick Strefford is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Kyoto Sangyo University. He earned his BA at Hull University, his MA at Leeds University, and his PhD at Kobe University. At Kyoto Sangyo University, Dr. Strefford teaches course on International Relations, International Development and the Theory of Knowledge. His research focuses on Myanmar’s foreign relations, particularly aid donors’ policies and practices towards Myanmar. Dr. Strefford has recently published articles on Japanese diplomacy towards Myanmar, Myanmar’s transition and the international ODA regime, and on capacity development in Myanmar, among others. From 2013 to 2016, Dr. Strefford was the Principal Researcher on a Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences grant to support research into international aid to support the transition in Myanmar, focusing on donor assistance to capacity building in the public sector.
Diego Pellecchia is an Associate Professor at Kyoto Sangyo University’s the Faculty of Cultural Studies where he teaches courses on traditional Japanese performing arts. He obtained a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London, in the Department of Drama and Theatre Studies. His area of expertise is noh theatre, which he also practices and performs 2006. His research interests include amateur studies, reception studies, and digital humanities. He has published various articles on the reception of noh theatre in the west and on noh training.
Kyoko Utsumi Mimura teaches Japanese art history and aesthetics at Waseda University. She was long-time International Programs Director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, and specializes in Japanese traditional popular crafts and arts (mingei). Mimura is also Producer and Director of Friendship Bridge: Classical Music and Arts Society, a non-profit organization that produces productions with Japanese traditional performing arts, opera and classical music, and also organizes lectures and exhibitions on Japanese craft and traditions. Her latest publication is the English translation of The Philosophy of Design: Essays by Sori Yanagi (Yanagi Design Office, 2015).
Galia Todorova Petkova has been teaching and conducting extensive research on Japanese traditional performing arts at universities in Europe, Canada, Indonesia and Japan for over
20 years. She earned her PhD in Japanese Studies from SOAS, University of London. Her doctoral dissertation “Performing Gender in Edo-period Kabuki” explores, in detail, the processes of construing ideals of femininity and masculinity on the stage, and the fluidity of the concept of gender in premodern theatre and society that continues to influence contemporary Japanese pop culture. She has been in receipt of grants from Japan Foundation and Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences, and has undertaken research at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Kyoto, Japan) for four years. Her investigative interests are performing arts in Asia, focusing on Japan, and gender studies – cultural re/presentation of gender and construction of idea(l)s of femininity and masculinity in performative space. Galia’s two more recent projects focus on regional performing arts in Japan and the female versions of all-male traditional performing arts and kabuki masculine heroes in Japanese culture.
Carmen Sǎpunaru Tămaș is a Romanian anthropologist, currently in charge of the Japanese language and culture program at the University of Hyogo. After obtaining her PhD from Osaka University in 2009, she has been teaching Japanese mythology and anthropology at Osaka University, Kobe University, and Lakeland College. Her most recent publication is a volume on Japanese rituals and their ties with the local communities, “Ritual Practices and Daily Rituals. Glimpses into the World of Matsuri” (Pro Universitaria 2018). She is also the author of a textbook of Japanese mythology (Osaka University 2012) and of several academic papers in Japanese and English, on topics related to the mythology and ethnology of Japan.
Mizuki Takahashi is an associate professor of biology and animal behavior at Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, USA, where he teaches courses related to ecology, evolution, conservation and animal behavior. Native to Japan, he earned his B.S. from University of Tsukuba, Ibaragi, Japan, M.S. at the University of Tokyo, another M.S from Marshall University, USA, and his Ph.D. from University of Memphis, USA. He is broadly interested in ecology, ethology, and conservation of amphibians. His lab is currently working on 1) effects of road salt pollution on local amphibian species, 2) parental care behavior of Japanese giant salamanders, and 3) detection and monitoring of giant salamanders using environmental DNA.
Catherine Ludvik obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in the Centre for the Study of Religion and teaches Japanese religion, visual arts, culture and history at Doshisha University and Kyoto Sangyo University. Spanning Indian and Japanese religions and their visual arts, her research interests focus on the metamorphoses of originally Indian deities in texts, images and rituals of Japan, as well as on ascetic practices and pilgrimage. She is the author of Hanuman in the Ramayana of Valmiki and the Ramacaritamanasa of Tulasi Dasa (1994), Recontextualizing the Praises of a Goddess (2006) and Sarasvati, Riverine Goddess of Knowledge (2007), and is currently working on the goddess Uga-Benzaiten and the Shikoku Henro pilgrimage.

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Left to right: Toda, Nakanishi, Wada, Shore, Hollstein

Fusako Shore is the KCJS assistant director, handling office management, student services, academic reporting, scheduling, planning of enrichment programs, faculty relations, alumni affairs, and cooperative arrangements with Kyoto-area universities and organizations. She is a native of Kyoto and has been at KCJS since the first class in 1989-90.

Tazuko Wada is the KCJS housing coordinator, overseeing all aspects of the housing programs, including homestays and apartments for students and visiting faculty. She also serves as administrative assistant, overseeing facilities, equipment, and inventory. She has been with the KCJS since 1993.

Keiko Toda is the KCJS program assistant, planning and managing extracurricular activities, maintaining KCJS website, facebook and Instagram.
She joined KCJS in 2015.

Yoshiko Hollstein is the KCJS Financial Officer and oversees all financial matters. She manages the payment of bills, the movement of funds, and regular financial reporting.

Michiko Nakanishi is the KCJS librarian. She is in charge of the development and maintenance of the collection of books and journals about Japan. She orders textbooks and prepares reading packets and assists students with reference questions about resources for their research projects. She joined KCJS in summer 2008.

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