Jan 27, 2021

Rikkyo professor wins Asian studies award



A conference panel led by Rikkyo University’s Professor Kayoko Takeda has been honored with the Association for Asian Studies’ (AAS) F. Hilary Conroy Award.

Professor Takeda of the College of Intercultural Communication received the award for the “Military Interpreters during World War II and the Korean War” research project.

The AAS, established in 1941, is a prestigious U.S. academic society which promotes communication and information exchange among researchers of Asian studies. The F. Hilary Conroy Award was recently inaugurated to honor the eponymous outstanding scholar of Japan, Northeast Asia and Asian American history at the University of Pennsylvania from 1951 to 1990.

The AAS bestowed Takeda with the award in recognition of the research project’s academic excellence.

Panel chair Professor Takeda was joined on the project by a South Korean university lecturer, an associate professor at a Chinese university and a PhD student in the United States.

Comment by Professor Kayoko Takeda

College of Intercultural Communication, Rikkyo University

The AAS is one of the largest academic societies in the world in the field of Asian studies. Every year, three-to-four thousand researchers participate in its annual conference. At the 2020 annual conference the research panel “Military Interpreters during World War II and the Korean War” chaired by myself received the F. Hilary Conroy Award.

The Conroy award, although it is focused on Northeast Asian studies, was established to encourage researchers from countries and regions of the world to engage in transnational studies. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an award from such a prestigious organization with a long history in Asian Studies for research in our relatively little-known field––translation and interpreting Studies. It is a great honor and I am very grateful for that.

I believe the AAS has recognized not only the academic quality of what we proposed through the panel, but also the novelty of the topic of military interpreters and the diverse composition of the panel: researchers residing in Japan, South Korea, China and the United States. The AAS also valued my endeavors to bring together researchers who are at different career stages––a professor, an associate professor, a lecturer and a PhD student.

The panel examined military interpreters who worked for various organizations during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Pacific War and the Korean War from different perspectives, such as those of historical studies, interpreting studies and sociology.

Unfortunately, the AAS Annual Conference 2020 scheduled for March 19-21 in Boston was cancelled due to the pandemic, making an in-person presentation impossible. Nevertheless, this award will spur me on to further advance transnational research by collaborating with fellow researchers in other countries and regions in the world.

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