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In the 2017-2018 academic year, in order to promote interest in Japanese culture and excellence in Japanese studies at UVA, the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures launched an annual prize competition for critical essays by UVA students about works of Japanese literature, Japanese culture, or Japan-US relations. Translations (J-E) with a critical preface are also considered. The contest is open to undergraduate and graduate students of all majors. Submissions are nominated by professors. The winning entries, archived here, are selected by a committee composed of DEALLC faculty members. This contest is made possible by a generous gift from Mr. Aaron Nir (BA '87) and his wife Satoko, and is designated the Michiko N. Wilson Award to acknowledge and memorialize the forty years of Ms. Michiko N. Wilson's career at the University of Virginia as Professor of Modern Japanese Literature and Language.

We are proud to showcase the vibrance of Japanese studies at UVA through the range of ideas and interests explored in these excellent student papers.

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Haroon Farooqui. " Allegories for Fiction in A Stylish Woman Who Brought Disaster and Life of a Sensuous Woman" for  JPTR 3600 in Spring 2023, nominated by Prof. Gus Heldt

Stepheney Odom-Thomas. "Reasons for Women’s Successes in Japanese Local Politics" for PLCP 3500 in Fall 2022, nominated by Prof. Len Schoppa


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Geetanjali Gandhe. “Why Okinawan Public Opinion Soured on American Military Bases” for PLCP 3500 (Politics of Japan) in Fall 2021

Mina Mori. “Black Hafu: The Foreign “Other” Within Their Own Ethnicity” for JPTR 3559 (Expressions and Experiences Beyond Japan: Transnational Japanese Art and Literature) in Spring 2022.


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Qiyun (Julia) Qiu. "The Past, Present, and Future of Parental Leave System in the Japanese Diet." Nominated by Prof. Len Schoppa

Agatha Tatang."The Unexpected World of Boys Love: Challenging the Nuclear Family, Defying Labels, and Finding Happiness." Nominated by Prof. Anri Yasuda


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Isabelle Burke. “A Critique of Monoculturalism in Post-Recession Japan, as Depicted in Swallowtail Butterfly (1996).”

Kevin Woolsey. "Reconsidering Late Muromachi Nō: The Plays of Kanze Nagatoshi (1488-c. 1541)."


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Michael Harrington. “Examining the Audience of The Pillow Book.

Hope Radel. "Yoshiharu Habu and the A.I. Generation: The Young Players Who Challenge an Absolute Champion." Translation of a documentary by the same name.


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Josephine Y. Chiao. “The Spirituality of Songs in the Story of Grant Land Master.” Translation of “there is noone else” from Chocolate Revolution by Tawara Machi.