Skip to main content


01:090:295 Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar (Spring 2020)

Rutgers Meets Japan: Revisiting Early U.S.-Japan Encounters

In 1867 Kusakabe Taro, a young samurai from Fukui, Japan, began studying at Rutgers College. Two years later, in 1870, his former tutor, friend, and a Rutgers alumnus, William Elliot Griffis left for Japan to teach English and Science. After a year in Fukui, he moved to Tokyo, where he continued to teach for another two years at Kaisei Gakko, the forerunner of the University of Tokyo. The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of two landmark events in the history of Rutgers-Japan relationship: the untimely death of Kusakabe, and his friend Griffis’ departure to Japan. This website was created for the Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar “Rutgers Meets Japan,” taught by Professor Haruko Wakabayashi (Department of Asian Languages and Cultures) in Spring 2020, which explored this crucial moment of early U.S.-Japan cultural exchange as we revisited Rutgers’ historical encounters with Japan. Students took part in building this website as they posted their works over the course of the semester.  




Recent News

Updated SAS News on Our Seminar!

The updated SAS news on our seminar includes our virtual joint class with the Fukui University students: Despite Lockdown, Rutgers Students and their Japanese Counterparts Find Ways to Mark Historic … Read More

Joint Class with the University of Fukui

Our seminar had a joint class with Professor Ryuhei Hosoya’s class at the University of Fukui on May 14th, 2020. An article on the joint class appeared in Fukui Newspaper … Read More

View More Posts

Coming up!

View More Events