Okayama University


First-Batch CLS Student and Fulbright Research Grant Winner David Anderson Reflects on his time at Okayama University

July 08, 2022

On July 1, David Anderson, who participated in the first US Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program hosted by Okayama University and recently completed his course at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, paid a final courtesy call on President MAKINO Hirofumi before returning to the US, where he will continue his studies at Harvard University.

Mr. Anderson was one of the outstanding American university and graduate students selected to participate in the CLS program, an intensive study program focusing on Japanese language and culture, in June 2019. Even among his impressive cohort, his exceptional Japanese language skills stood out, and he soon cultivated an interest in “community development through civic engagement” in Okayama, and especially in Maniwa City, while taking part in various activities hosted by Okayama University.

In July 2021, Mr. Anderson returned to Okayama University as a Fulbright research grant winner to conduct research on community development under the guidance of Associate Professor IWABUCHI Yasushi at the Academic and General Okayama University Regional Research Association for one year. Fieldwork formed an important part of Mr. Anderson’s research, and he spent a lot of time in Maniwa City.

During his visit with President Makino, Mr. Anderson spoke effusively about his experience learning about the region’s sustainable community development and diverse history, saying, “With its mountains, sea, and cities, Okayama boasts quintessential Japanese landscapes and I feel as though I was able to discover the ‘real Japan’ through my interactions with locals in the area.” In response, President Makino remarked, “Mr. Anderson, I believe you are extremely perceptive, and you notice many charming and unique aspects of the area that people living in Okayama tend to overlook. I hope that you will visit Okayama again in the near future and become a bridge between the US and Japan.”

As a final word of encouragement to other Okayama University students, Mr. Anderson commented, “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things. It will surely expand your world.”
Upon returning to the US, Mr. Anderson will study at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University, which is considered a veritable mecca for Japanese studies. President Makino ended the visit with the following words of encouragement: “I look forward to your continued success.”