Professor Nubu T. Imaizumi from Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan generously donated $5,000 to the Dillard University Japanese Studies Department on Friday, Feb. 23, 2007.
“Words can not express how much we personally appreciate all of you at Dillard [University],” Imaizumi said.
Imaizumei has been raising the money since Christmas 2005 by putting on Jazz Christmas shows in Japan. The day before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Imaizumi and his students were headed to the city for their annual visit to the campus. As a result of the storm, the group was rerouted to Chicago before they had a chance to enter New Orleans and had to fly back home. Consequently, Imaizumi has not been able to visit the city since 2004.
Since 2002, Imaizumi and his students have traveled annually to Dillard University to meet the Japanese Studies pupils.
“A lot of my students are interested in African-American studies,” said Imaizumi. He teaches American History from a Minority Prospective at his institution. He has also taken his students to Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., another college which offers Japanese Studies.
“I value a Japanese program at a black college more than at a white college,” said Imaizumi.
For the professor, “black students have a better understanding of underlying racism [in America]. Things look good on the surface but underneath it all, there is a lot of corruption.” He went on to explain how the same thing is happening in Japan with the Korean, Chinese, and South American minorities in the country.
Japanese Studies professor at Dillard University, Kastumi Sohma, said that the money will be used to begin a fund for a trip to Japan for all Japanese Studies students. She plans to get additional money from other Japanese Universities to help finance the trip.
“This can be a good opportunity for students to speak Japanese to natives of Japan and a field trip to research the culture, politics and other aspects of the country,” she said.
Imaizumi said he and his students plan to return to Dillard University in the fall of 2007.