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In celebration of Focus Asia Month, the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, along with the Asian American Alliance, is shedding this week's spotlight on Japan.

In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence.

For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II – and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power.

In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killing thousands and damaging several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and severely strained its capacity to deal with the humanitarian disaster.

The flag of Japan is white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center.

Information obtained from - The World Factbook


Sunday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Williams 225
LGBT Film Screening and Discussion - "Coming Out, Coming Home: Asian and Pacific Islander Family Stories"
Filipino and Chinese American Families discuss the issues surrounding straight parents and gay children in Asian cultures.

Thursday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Williams 222
Interactive Immigration Workshop entitled: What does Arizona SB 1070 have to do with Asian Americans?
Presented by IC Pre-Doctoral Faculty Fellow Eric J. Pido

Thursday, April 14 at 6:00 p.m. in Park Auditorium
"Vincent Who" Documentary Screening and short Q&A with Helen Zia,
LGBT Rights and Asian American Civil Rights activist.
The documentary explores the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin that occurred in Detroit, Michigan and the legacy of the Vincent Chin case.

Friday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m. in Park Auditorium
Keynote delivered by Helen Zia, LGBT Rights and Asian American Civil Rights Activist
Focus Asia Month Guest Speaker with Q&A to follow.

Tuesday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. in Klingenstein Lounge
Future of the Asian-American Studies Program
Presentation and Discussion

Monday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. in Clarke Lounge
Asian/Asian American Student Identity Panel

Friday, April 29 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in IC Square
Asia Night!
There will be activities, food and performances $4 a plate for food and drink!

In light of the current situation in Japan, the Asian American Alliance will be raising money through selling t-shirts and through donating all money made at Asia Night. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to provide medical care and relief assistance in Japan.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Asian American Alliance at to request accommodation.


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