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Hirosaki professor on campus as part of long-standing exchange

Hirosaki professor on campus as part of long-standing exchange

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:16 pm

Kazutaka Tanaka, professor of English at Hirosaki University in Japan, is at the University of Tennessee at Martin, participating in an ongoing visiting professor exchange program. UT Martin and Hirosaki University have maintained a sister-university relationship for more than 20 years. Tanaka is a graduate of Tsukuba University with a master of arts in English literature. After graduating, Tanaka taught as an assistant professor at Tsukuba until 1990, when he began teaching at Hirosaki University in the Humanities Department. He now teaches both English literature and English language. Tanaka’s primary area of interest is Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers. While at UT Martin, Tanaka has been doing research on Shakespearean and Renaissance drama and giving a series of presentations on his work to Department of English faculty and students. “I want to teach English language as effectively as possible,” said Tanaka. “I want my students to be very good at speaking, reading and writing the English language, and I want to communicate the excellence of Shakespeare’s drama to Japanese students.” Tanaka admitted that this is not an easy task and added, “The language of Shakespeare is difficult for Japanese students to understand, so it’s necessary for them to use a special dictionary of Shakespearean language and vocabulary to understand the meaning of the words.” Tanaka also is scheduled to make a presentation during International Education Week in late November on teaching English using Shakespeare. He has written more than 20 articles on Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers and has two books to his credit: “A Japanese Translation of Robert Alter’s The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age” and “A Japanese Translation of Erwin Chargaff’s Serious Questions: An ABC of Skeptical Reflections.” Tanaka is here with his wife, Yumi; daughter, Shiori; and son, Yuta; through the end of fall semester. wcp 11-11-08

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