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Japanese Open House connects ASU students with cultural resources, job opportunities

Japan's consul general in Los Angeles speaks at School of International Letters and Cultures event that features semiconductor firms, other companies

Japan’s Consul General of Los Angeles Kenko Sone speaks at a lectern

Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone delivers opening remarks at the Japanese Open House and Job Fair on ASU's Tempe campus on Nov. 7. Photo by Aya Nakanishi McDaniel/ASU

November 15, 2023

The School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University hosted its 2023 Japanese Open House and Job Fair on Nov. 7 with a speech by Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone, a scavenger hunt and tabling by student clubs.

Sone praised the growth of Japanese culture in Arizona, pointing to the success of such events as the Arizona Matsuri festival, the strong presence of Japanese businesses in the state, and student interest in Japanese language and culture at ASU.

“Language is the best gateway to different cultures. I’m so happy to see so many students taking Japanese language courses and having a strong interest in Japan. I feel the enthusiasm of ASU’s students for Japan,” Sone said.

He also discussed his expectations for continued growth of Japanese businesses in Arizona, particularly in the world of semiconductor manufacturing. There was an established presence of several such companies at the open house, including SUMCO Phoenix CorporationJX Metals USA and TOWA USA Corporation

They joined five other organizations from metro Phoenix, including the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, at the job fair. The companies — interested in recruiting students of all majors — came with the assistance of the Japanese Business Association of Arizona (JBAA), the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles.

Also represented were the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, the ASU Global Education Office, and the Japanese section of ASU’s School of International Letters and Cultures. Several professors from the school went over the Japanese curriculum with current and prospective students.

The event, held in the Memorial Union’s Turquoise Hall, featured four of ASU’s Japan-focused clubs: Riichi Mahjong Club, Anime Avalon, Bridge of Japan-America and the Japanese Student Association.

Students were also encouraged to take part in a “scavenger hunt” in which they gathered pieces of information from each organization present and cashed in their paper for various goodies donated by Yami and Kimino USA of JETRO.

The formerly annual event had been canceled in 2020, 2021 and 2022 due to COVID-19 concerns. The organizer, Assistant Teaching Professor of Japanese Kumiko Hirano-Gahan estimated that about 200 students came to the event, far exceeding both her own and the businesses’ expectations.

Written by Aidan Richmond, a fourth-year sports journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication who is minoring in Japanese. 

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