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The Michiko N. Wilson Award committee has selected the winners for our annual contest for the best undergraduate or graduate student essays written over the past academic year on any aspect of Japanese culture, Japanese literature, or US-Japan relations.

Qiyun (Julia) Qiu's paper "The Past, Present, and Future of Parental Leave System in the Japanese Diet" was written in Fall 2020 for Prof. Len Schoppa's Japanese Politics class (PLCP 3500). The paper examines how Japanese female Diet members have navigated the parental leave system when they were pregnant, and how opinions about parental leave may be shifting amongst both lawmakers and the broader public. The paper used an array of sources in Japanese and English. Qiyun (Julia) is a third-year student double-majoring in East Asian Studies and Foreign Affairs. 

 Agatha Tatang's paper "The Unexpected World of Boys Love: Challenging the Nuclear Family, Defying Labels, and Finding Happiness" was written in Spring 2021 for Prof. Anri Yasuda's Women in Modern Japanese Literature class (JPTR 3391). The paper explores how the Boys Love (BL) genre of manga appeals to young female readers seeking narratives that explore happiness outside of the norms of heterosexual nuclear families. Close readings of relevant manga in Japanese support the paper's arguments. Agatha is graduating this spring as a double-major in Japanese and Statistics. 

Thank you to all the professors who nominated papers! We enjoyed reading each entry.


The Michiko N. Wilson Award Committee
(Charles A. Laughlin, Department Chair, DEALLC
Anri Yasuda, Assistant Professor, DEALLC
Tomoko Marshall, Director of the Japanese Program, DEALLC)