Greetings. I am extremely honored and excited to serve as your new SIETAR Japan President starting April 2017. Former president Akiko Asai had spearheaded several reforms for SIETAR Japan including revamping our website, enhancing the quality of our journal, introducing an online proposal submission process, improving the review process for our annual conference, digitizing all past journal articles into a CD, and strengthening our liaison with our global SIETAR counterparts. Asai sensei’s efforts undoubtedly led SIETAR Japan to become an even more viable academic and international society, and I will do my best to further the outstanding legacy left by Asai sensei.
I was born in Japan but spent most of my childhood and teenage years in the U.S. as part of a Japanese expatriate community in New York. I ended up graduating from Wellesley College and spent my twenties working in the translation industry in Tokyo. I then returned to the U.S. for graduate work, completing my Ph.D. in cultural psychology from Boston College in 2006. As a TCK (third culture kid), I was aware from an early age of code-switching between Japanese and mainstream American behavioral norms, and was exposed to racism and discrimination as an Asian person in predominantly White schools and neighborhoods. I feel that these early experiences were essential in shaping my interest in cross-cultural differences and social justice and my teaching and research reflect my experiences of struggling between two cultures as well as dealing with social oppression as a member of a non-dominant racial group.
SIETAR Japan and its members has consistently valued and respected diversity and has been committed to creating a fair and equitable society through our research, education, and training practices. It is imperative that we apply our knowledge, expertise, and experience to use our position to stand up against oppression and conformist pressures that is increasing in Japan. With the recent passage of the highly controversial so-called anti-conspiracy law, the push for revising Japan’s constitution, the issues surrounding the U.S. military base in Okinawa, we see a disturbing trend of suppression of freedom of expression and fundamental human rights. These movements have encouraged the rise in hate speeches and hate demonstrations across Japan as well as the rise in Net Uyoku (Internet/online right wingers) which are creating perilous conditions not only for minority groups but for Japanese society as a whole. In such a climate, we more than ever before, need to collaborate and establish strong liaisons with our SIETAR counterparts across the globe.
In August 2018, SIETAR Japan will host its first international conference in twenty years. We are very excited about this and hope that many SIETARians from around the world will join us in Tokyo at Chuo University. It will be an invaluable opportunity for us to network, collaborate, and exchange the latest findings in research and practice. We also hope to showcase the innovative research, teaching, and training that our members are engaging in Japan. Under Shunitsu Nakasako’s leadership as Conference Chair, I hope that you all will help us create a memorable international conference.
Makiko Deguchi, President of SIETAR JAPAN