Japanese Faculty

Hitomi Johnson
Adjunct Instructor of Foreign Languages and Literatures - Japanese
Olin Hall E210
(509) 526-4741

Hitomi Johnson graduated from San-iku Gakuin College in Japan and Walla Walla University in College Place, WA. She is a native Japanese speaker with 20 years of experience teaching at the preschool, grade school, and college level. She has been an instructor for 3rd and 4th year Japanese since she joined Whitman College in 2004. Prior to this, she taught Japanese at Walla Walla University for five years, and homeschooled her son for eight years. Her interests include art, children's literature, and flower arrangement.

Yukiko Shigeto
Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures - Japanese
Olin Hall 329
(509) 527-5785

Professor Yukiko Shigeto received her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature, Theory and Criticism from the University of Washington with a dissertation on Japanese proletarian writers who underwent ideological conversion (tenko).  Her expertise is modern Japanese literature, intellectual history, and critical theory. Professor Shigeto’s research and teaching interests include Japanese literature and films of 20th and 21st centuries, narrative ethics, and Japanese language.  She has published articles on Dazai Osamu (Japan Forum) and Tenko literature (PAJLS). Her article on Nakano Shigeharu is forthcoming in positions:asia critique.  She is currently working on a book project on works by Nakano Shigeharu that probes the connection between politics, fiction writing and humor.  Prior to coming to Whitman, she taught at New York University.

Akira R. Takemoto
President, Associated Kyoto Program
Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures - Japanese
Olin Hall E114
(509) 527-5896

Professor Akira R. Takemoto offers classes on Japanese language, classical Japanese Literature, and traditional Japanese aesthetics, and he has been recognized with the George Ball Award for Excellence in Advising and the Thomas Howells Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to his work at Whitman College, he currently serves as the Chair of the Associated Kyoto Program, a consortium of 15 liberal arts institutions in the United States that sponsors a two semester study abroad program to Kyoto, Japan. Professor Takemoto has a great interest in the traditional Japanese art of serving tea. He began studying chanoyu (the art of serving tea) in 1975 when he was doing graduate work in Japanese Literature at Stanford University. In 1978, he began studying with the Grand Master of the Yabunouchi school in Kyoto and received his teaching certificate in 1982. He has been teaching tea and tea aesthetics at Whitman College since 1984, and he has designed a number of tea rooms including the Chikurakken, a tea room that he designed in 2009. Every year, he provides individual lessons in the art of serving tea to interested Whitman students.

Japanese Native Speaker

Kei Sugiyama
Japanese Native Speaker 2014-2015

Olin Hall 316

Kei was born in Osaka, Japan in 1989. He graduated from Ritsumeikan University with a degree in International Relations in 2013. After graduation, Kei worked for an organization that coordinates international conventions in Japan. He then began work at the Osaka Prefecture in the Facilities and Financial Affairs department. Keo enjoys assisting in the Japanese language program and living in the Tekisuijuku with students interested in Japanese language and culture.