News and Events

04.14.23 - Local Students Excel at the 2023 High School Japanese Speech Contest

Special Announcement

Friday, March 3, 2023

William Pitt Union

University of Pittsburgh


The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania (JASP) and the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center jointly hosted the 26th Annual High School Japanese Speech Contest. The contest was held in person at the William Pitt Union at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday, March 3.


This year, 46 students from Western PA presented their speeches, participated in Japanese cultural activities, and watched a special presentation by Pittsburgh Taiko. Japanese language students of all levels and students who are involved in Japan-related cultural activities participated in one of five speech levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced, advanced plus, and heritage) or the poster contest. Participating schools were Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh Japanese School, Shaler Area High School, and Upper St. Clair High School. Students from Shaler Area Middle School submitted artwork for a vote during the awards ceremony. Students from Pittsburgh Obama Middle School visited the activities fair.


Shrida Devaki from Upper St. Clair High School won first place in Advanced Plus level. Shrida received smart earbuds as the grand prize donated by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. First place in the Heritage category went to Hirai Shuda, Pittsburgh Japanese School/Pittsburgh Obama High School. First place in the Advanced category was awarded to Quinne Vulakovich from Shaler Area High School. First place in the Intermediate category went to Kathryn Luft from Shaler Area High School. The first place in the Beginner category went to Conner Hyatt from Upper St. Clair High School. Finally, first place in the Poster competition went to Lindsay Ross from Upper St. Clair High School.


This event is made possible through the generous support of the Elliott Group, Temple University Japan Campus, Japan Foundation Los Angeles, the Japanese Consulate General of New York, University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center, the Japan Iron & Steel Federation and Mitsubishi Endowments at the University of Pittsburgh, and all participating schools, students, and volunteers.


05.12.23 to 05.14.23 - 2023 Association for Japanese Literary Studies Conference: In step/out of step

AJLS 30th Meeting

In step/out of step:

performance/culture /location/dislocation

May 12–14, 2023, University of Pittsburgh


The 30th annual meeting of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies will be held at University of Pittsburgh May 12–14, 2023. The event will be hosted by Charles Exley and Elizabeth Oyler, University of Pittsburgh, with the cooperation of Christopher Lowy and Yoshihiro Yasuhara, Carnegie Mellon University.

We live in a world both fragmented and connected through technologies enabling new platforms for creative expression. These range from online publishing to co-located theatrical productions to tiktok. Such platforms bring to the fore the possibility for performance to be simultaneously playful, individually creative, and socially engaged as they redefine the temporal and spatial parameters of “performance.” The transformation of how, what, and where we perform and experience performances has evolved dramatically in very recent years, but the roles that performance and other arts play as spaces for creative engagement with society, contemporary politics, and the past have been important worldwide throughout history. In Japan, the numerous traditional performing arts designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO attest to the significance of performance as a defining cultural feature, as do contemporary experimental theatre companies and the thriving film industry. From early myth through court ceremony and medieval and early modern theatre to 20th- and 21st century street theatre and anime, performance has been an important tool to provoke, to transform, and to reimagine.