$50,000 Tanaka Foundation grant bolsters Bates' scholarships, Asian studies

Bates College has added some new resources to its international scholarships and Asian studies programs, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Tanaka Memorial Foundation of Japan.

The foundation awarded $40,000 to Bates for an endowed scholarship for international students and another $10,000 to support research and teaching by Bates faculty and students in Japan.

Beginning this academic year, $40,000 will be used to create the Tanaka Scholarship Fund.  The earnings from this endowed fund will provide for an annual financial aid grant to an international student who is attending Bates. The college will award the scholarship each year to a student who might best bring a passion and energy for understanding and cooperation among the cultures of the world, as evidenced by his or her admissions application.  The scholarship would be given to students from countries other than the United States, with a preference for those from Asia, especially Japan.

“The Tanaka Scholarship Fund, especially as it grows, would provide an everlasting additional opportunity for citizens of the world to avail themselves of the very special education that the college provides its students,” said William C. Hiss, Bates College vice president for external and alumni affairs.

The remainder of the foundation’s grant, $10,000, will be used to assist a student in improving his or her research or senior thesis, and for assisting faculty with special aspects of their research and teaching on Japan.

Hiss and President Elaine Tuttle Hansen accepted the award check at a reception in New York City on July 26, hosted by Dr. Kenji Tanaka and his family.  The foundation’s United States office is in New York City.

Bates began developing its Program in Asian Studies in 1983, when the college introduced instruction in the Japanese language. By 1988, the college had an eight-semester Japanese language sequence in place. Bates’ program in Chinese began soon after; a full Chinese language sequence is offered now as well.

There are currently 13 Asia specialists among the Bates faculty, teaching in anthropology, Chinese, economics, history, Japanese and religion. The college offers some 70 courses on Asia on a regular basis, and an additional 18 include a significant Asia component.

Two years ago, Bates was awarded a highly competitive grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, which established the Luce Junior Professor of Asian Studies. This position responded to growing student interest in the arts of Asia.

Most recently, Bates was awarded a four-year grant from the Freeman Foundation in support of its Asian studies program. The grant will provide opportunities for faculty members to engage in travel and research in Asia and develop new curriculum offerings, and help ensure that the library stays current through new acquisitions in the subject area.

The Tanaka Memorial Foundation was established in the United States in 1990 by its chairman, Kenji Tanaka, in memory of his father, Juichi Tanaka, who was the founder of Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. The foundation is both a personal memorial and an expression of gratitude to the people of the United States and other nations that ensured that the dignity of Japan and its people was restored after World War II.

View Comments