The News Letter making business women happy, "bizMag"(vol.22)
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The bizMag vol.22 is an English version of Dr. Anne Imamura's interview. She is the brilliant woman works for U.S Department of State!
The former report is about her global job.
"Marriage, whether international or not, can be a challenge."
The Area Studies Division Director at the Foreign Service Institute (U.S Department of State)
Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University.
Dr. Anne Imamura
A sociologist who has taught at Sophia University in Tokyo; the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur; the University of Maryland, College Park; and Georgetown University.
Among Dr. Imamura$B!G(Bs publications are: Re-Imaging Japanese Women, University of California Press, 1996; Urban Japanese Housewives: At Home and in the Community, University of Hawaii Press, 1987; Transcending Stereotypes: Discovering Japanese Culture and Education, co-edited: International Press, 1991; and numerous journal articles.
Chikage:Thank you for your valuable time today.
Dr. Anne Imamura works for the United States Government.
Imamura:I am the Director of the Area Studies Division at the United States Department of State's Foreign Service Institute.
The Foreign Service Institute is the primary training institution for the United States' foreign affairs community.
The Area Studies Division offers courses on the history, economics, politics, societal/cultural issues and foreign policy issues of countries and regions throughout the world to prepare people for working in or on those countries.
Chikage: Is the Foreign Service Institute a training institute for all people who work in the government?
Imamura:Most of the students work for the State Department, but we have students from other agencies as well.
When I first started working at the Foreign Service Institute almost 20 years ago, I was the Chair of the Asian Area Studies Program.
Now as the Area Studies Division Director, I am responsible for not only Asia, but also Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Western Hemisphere.
Chikage:You moved from chairing the Asia program to being responsible for the entire Division!
How did you find the change in responsibilities?
Imamura:Since I came to the Foreign Service Institute from a university faculty position, I was used to teaching.
Management involves human resources and budget and is very challenging (laugh).
The various geographic regions in the Area Studies Division are chaired by specialists.
I would like to have time to take their courses.
Chikage:Management is challenging! At which universities did you teach?
Imamura:I taught in the International Division of Sophia University for about one year after I was married in Japan.
My students were for the most part either foreign students or Japanese students who had lived abroad for a long time.
Chikage:After that, did you return to the United States?
Imamura:We lived in various countries due to my husband's work.
After Japan, my husband and I went to Malaysia.
After Malaysia, we both began graduate work at Columbia University.
I returned to Japan to write my dissertation and at that time taught courses on Japan in the Faculty of Comparative Cultures at Sophia University.
Our son was born at that time.
Chikage: You really took on a lot of things at once.
Wasn't it difficult to have a child when you were so busy?
Imamura :It was a challenge, but my husband and mother-in-law helped out and we also used day care.
Chikage:You made use of a variety of methods.
Imamura :When I think about it, we certainly did.
To continue the story, my husband joined the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and we moved to Nigeria.
While I was in Nigeria, in collaboration with two other women scholars I did comparative research on foreign wives of Nigerians living in Nigeria and foreign wives of Japanese living in Japan.
Chikage:That is very interesting! What were the similarities and differences?
Imamura:There were many similarities.
Among the differences were that in Nigeria goods could be scarce, there were security problems, and water and medicine were not always readily available.
Chikage: The challenges were related to the economic and security aspects of the country.
What were the challenges in Japan?
Imamura:In Japan, husbands worked long hours and did not participate in child care..
Moreover, there were challenges in the relationships between the brides and their mothers-in-law, and language issues.
For example, women who were highly educated and independent in their own societies felt themselves to be like powerless children in Japan because they could not communicate in Japanese.
This was a major frustration.
Chikage:Customs and culture become major challenges in Japan..
Imamura: That's true.
However, couples who do not come from different countries also find that they have differences due to the environments in which each spouse was raised and their individual values..
Chikage:Indeed,it is very persuasive to hear this from someone such as yourself who is in an international marriage.
Imamura :Marriage, whether international or not, can be a challenge (laugh.)
One of the interesting results of this research was that the foreign wives in each country felt that the foreign wives in the other country faced more difficult challenges.
Chikage:When they learn about the other's challenges, they feel that theirs are not so hard.
This was really meaningful research.
Imamura: I think so, too.
I learned a lot from it.
Chikage:What did you do after Nigeria?
Imamura:Just after our daughter was born in Nigeria I took a position as an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department of the University of Maryland in the suburbs of Washington DC.
During this time my husband was assigned to UNDP offices in Somalia and Barbados.
In 1988, I left the University of Maryland and joined the Foreign Service Institute.
After both of our children entered college, I returned to teaching at Georgetown University.
Currently while working at the Foreign Service Institute I am also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.
Chikage:You have two jobs.
You have a lot of energy.
What are you teaching now?
Imamura:I teach undergraduate students Japanese Society in the spring semester and Family and Gender in Japan in the spring semester.
Chikage: What students are interested?
Are most women?
Imamura:There are a lot of male students in my classes.
Some of my students are interested in Japan, some are interested in sociology, some want to learn about other countries, or compare Japan to other Asian countries, and some students take the courses because they are available at a convenient time or provide credits necessary to graduate.
Most of my students are Americans, but I have had students from many countries including China, South Korea, and of course, Japan.
Chikage:I am very interested in the students' impressions.
Imamura:Their impressions vary depending on the reasons they took the class.
Many are surprised by differences between the family system and marriage in Japan and in the United States.
Chikage:Is that so?
I want to know the differences.
I think to know each country's culture and sence of values is enable to understand each other.
$B!J(BTo be continued...$B!K(B
This time I have heard about the carrer of Dr. Anne Imamura who workin various countries.
The findings about the international marriages are very interesting.
The contents seem to encourage the people who try to marry getting over the challenges.
The later report is about a international marriage of herself.
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