Asian Studies

Your coursework will give you a global perspective and  the tools to understand the events and issues of the day through the lens of the societies you study. You will be encouraged to study abroad in distinguished programs.

Jack Lyons '16 in Kyoto.

A student’s immersion on campus and abroad

Jack Lyons ’16 started studying Japanese language and culture in high school and even went abroad for a few weeks, during which he fell in love with the city of Kyoto. One reason he picked Hamilton College was that it enabled him to study abroad his junior year at the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Study. He's an Asian studies major with a focus on Japan.

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The summer before he left, Lyons worked with Associate Professor of Japanese Kyoko Omori on a project for Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative; Omori is building a comparative Japanese film archive.

As part of his studies in Kyoto, Lyons is taking courses on postwar Japanese film and the arts of Japan. He can walk to some of the places that show up in his textbooks, for instance the famous Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion.

“After Hamilton, I am hoping to do the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program where I will go to Japan for a couple of years to teach Japanese. After that, I am not really sure what field I may go into, but I am certain that it will be related to Japan,” says Lyons, a history minor.

Sarah Bither '13A graduate’s progress: teaching in Japan

Sarah Bither ’13, who works as an assistant teacher in Japan, is delving deep into Japanese culture. She’s taking tea ceremony and koto lessons.

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“Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed instrument. Both of these are highly traditional, stylized and respected art forms in Japanese culture that require a lifetime to master,” she says. “It is a wonderful and fantastic way to learn about the culture, especially because my teacher does not speak any English.”

Bither majored in Asian studies at Hamilton College, with a focus on Japan, and minored in English and economics. She was accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, which led to her job in a rural mountain village. She works with teachers of English in middle and elementary schools.

Her longer-term goal is to be a cross-cultural consultant for international businesses. She says her Asian studies professors have helped her pursue her interests; she considers them to be lifelong friends.

“The two most important things about the Japanese program at Hamilton that I think sets it apart from other colleges are the wonderful and supportive professors and the program’s emphasis on oral practice,” Bither says.