The Center For Professional Exchange

George Mason University student Kaloyan Kostov recently returned from a ten day trip to Japan as the inaugural winner of the CEPEX Japan Studies Award. Kaloyan began his trip with a brief internship at the Sojitz Research Institute in Tokyo where he drafted a report on the Asia Development Bank. On a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Akasaka, Kaloyan had an unexpected opportunity to have a short personal meeting with Ambassador Roos. In addition to being able to meet with members of the Japanese Diet, World Bank experts, U.S. Embassy staff and Japanese corporate executives, Kaloyan had some time to explore the many sights and sounds of Tokyo. A fan of Japanese video games and computers, Kaloyan especially enjoyed shopping and sightseeing around the areas of Harajuku, Shibuya and Akihabara.

During the second half of the trip, Kaloyan visited Gunma Prefecture by shinkansen, in order to experience life in rural Japan. In Gunma, he took his first dip in a Japanese onsen, hiked Mt. Myogi, and slept peacefully on a futon for the first time. He also had the opportunity to use his Japanese skills with the many locals who graciously hosted him there. “This experience was absolutely incredible for me,” Kaloyan said upon his return to Virginia. “I am very grateful for having been selected for the award.”

CEPEX Japan Studies Award Winner Kaloyan Kostov, center.

CEPEX Japan Studies Award winner Kaloyan Kostov started his internship at the Washington D.C. office of Sojitz Corporation of America this week. Between visits to Capitol Hill to attend congressional hearings and going to events at local think tanks, Kaloyan has been gathering data for an in-depth research project.

The two week internship in Washington, D.C. is the first part of the CEPEX Japan Studies Award. In mid-July, Kaloyan will take his first trip to Japan to learn more about the country and culture and practice his Japanese in country.

Thank you  applicants for showing interest in the inaugural CEPEX Japan Studies Award. We received a lot of projects and were impressed by the variety and quality of the research papers. We finally narrowed the submissions down to three finalists. The two runners up for this year are Catherine Nguyen and Dirk Macorol. Catherine wrote about lolita fashion and Dirk discussed Japanese influence on modern furniture. Congratulations on being selected as finalists and on writing engaging and informative papers.

As good as the research papers were, we could only pick one winner. We took into account the clarity and quality of the research paper as well as the answers to the questions on the CEPEX submission form. After much deliberation, we are happy to announce that this year’s winner and recipient of the 2010 CEPEX Japan Studies Award is Kaloyan Kostov. His project, Manga as the Modern Day Ukiyo-e looked at the influence of manga on U.S.-Japan relations and the growth of a global community around Japanese comic books.

Kaloyan will participate in a two-week internship in Washington, DC followed by a brief trip to Japan to further his study of Japanese language, culture, and U.S.-Japan relations and to look more deeply into his original research project with the benefit of actual in-country experience.

Given the interest in this inaugural CEPEX Award, we are happy to announce that we will be holding this contest again next year. Please consider applying again next spring.

Congratulations again to Kayolan and thank you for all your submissions.

Have a safe and productive summer,

Justin Manger, CEPEX Co-chairman & COO

Christy Busch, CEPEX Assistant Director, Washington, D.C. Office

The 2010 CEPEX Japan Studies Award

CEPEX is proud to be sponsoring the inaugural Japan Studies Award. The goal of this contest is to support young would-be professionals interested in Japan and to strengthen the overall U.S.-Japan relationship.

The 2010 Japan Studies Award was open to undergraduate students in good standing currently enrolled in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. There was no restriction on the major or field of study that the student was pursuing. Nor was it required that the participating student be enrolled in a Japanese language course. For consideration for the award, participants were required to submit a paper or project related to Japan as well as to respond to a CEPEX questionnaire. The winner was selected based on the quality of the submitted paper and questionnaire answers.

The winner of the 2010 Japan Studies Award will be granted a two-week internship at the Washington D.C. branch office of Sojitz Corporation of America, a company with strong ties to Japan, beginning June 14th. During the internship, the student will have the opportunity to sit in on hearings on Capitol Hill and attend events at local think-tanks. The winner will also be able to experience working with Japanese speakers and will contribute to office operations at Sojitz Corporation though meaningful research on international policy topics.

After completing the internship in Washington, the 2010 Japan Studies Award winner will be invited on a brief trip to Japan beginning in early July. The student will be able to further their interest in Japanese language and culture through a short internship at Sojitz Corporation’s headquarters in Tokyo and travel to Gunma Prefecture. While in Japan, the student will be encouraged to conduct in- depth, “on the ground” research to expand the findings of their original project.

CEPEX plans to continue this award indefinitely and will hold this contest again at George Mason University in 2011.

Many thanks to the Sojitz Foundation for their support of CEPEX and the Japan Studies Award          http://www.sojitz.com/en/csr/contribute/nci.html

CEPEXはこの度Japan Studies Awardを設立することができ、大変光栄に思っております。この賞は、将来の若きアメリカ人日本専門家への支援、及び、日米関係の更なる強化を目指すものです。

2010年度のJapan Studies Awardは、米国バージニア州フェファックス郡にあるジョージメイソン大学人文科学部で学ぶ学部生を対象に行われましたが、応募者の専攻科目、日本語学習の有無は問わず、できるだけ幅広い参加を募りました。Japan Studies Award への応募者には、日本をテーマにしたプロジェクトの提出とCEPEX質問紙への回答が求められ、この2点の質を基に受賞者が選ばれました。

2010年度のJapan Studies Awardの受賞者は、6月14日から双日ワシントン事務所で2週間の企業研修を行うことになります。受賞者は、研修中、国会議事堂での公聴会やシンクタンクでのイベントへの参加、そして、日本語話者と仕事をする職場を体験しながら、国際政策に関するリサーチを通して、双日の事務作業に貢献することになります。


CEPEXは、今後も引き続きJapan Studies Awardを行っていく予定で、2011年度もジョージメイソン大学の学生を対象にJapan Studies Awardのコンテストを開催します。

【謝辞】末筆ながら、双日国際交流財団には、CEPEX、及び、Japan Studies Awardへのご支援を賜り、深く御礼申し上げます。http://www.sojitz-zaidan.or.jp/

The 2010 CEPEX spring board meeting was held in Tokyo two weeks ago on Sunday, May 9th.

Chairman of the Board: Yukio Tada; Co-Chairman & CFO: John Basalla; Vice Chairwoman: Mieko Nakabayashi

Presentations given by the George Mason University undergraduate students in JAPA 310: Japanese Culture in a Global World on the empirical research projects that they undertook on aspects of the increasingly globalizing Japanese cultural phenomena as part of their coursework.

  • Japan’s pretty soldiers: Sailor Moon as a gateway to Japanese interest
  • Separate but equal: Japanese games vs. American consumption
  • Japanese Idol
  • Simple and clean: Japanese influence on modern furniture design
  • Why haiku gained popularity
  • Localizing the global: American remakes of J-horrors

2010 Inaugural Contest

The 2010 CEPEX Japan Studies Award contest is open to undergraduate students in good standing currently enrolled in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University. There is no restriction on the major or field of study the student is pursuing. Nor is it required that the participating student to be enrolled in a Japanese language course. All forms of media are accepted. Students are solely responsible for developing content and submitting their entry.

Japan Related Careers: Roadmaps from Experts and Alumni

On April 15, CEPEX and Georgetown University’s department of East Asian Languages and Cultures collaborated to present “Japan-Related Careers: Roadmaps from Experts and Alumni.”

Dr. Jordan Sand, Chair of the EALC Department, offered some welcoming remarks. Justin Manger, (Director of the Washington, D.C. office), explained the role of CEPEX, and Susan Taylor, Outreach Officer, moderated the panel. Three experts, Nick Szechenyi of CSIS, Yuri Ann Arthur of the Department of Commerce, and Randall Beisecker of the Department of State, shared their experiences in pursuing Japan-related careers. They advised attendees to go and experience Asia, not to be afraid to try jobs in several different fields, and not to study Japan in isolation from other countries and issues.
After their initial remarks, the panelists took questions from the audience, and a stimulating discussion took place. Dr. Kevin Doak, a professor in the EALC department, made some closing remarks, and encouraged students to apply their knowledge of Japanese and Japanese culture to a broad array of job opportunities. The panel discussion was followed by a reception and networking, attended by most of the audience members.