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Food and politics is focus of Tuesday lecture

April 14, 2008

KALAMAZOO--"Eating Your Way to Democracy: Japan's Postwar Politics of Food" is the topic of a free and open lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in Room 3301 of Friedman Hall at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Barak Kushner, a Japanese history professor in the faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, will speak at the event, which is sponsored by WMU's Soga Japan Center.

Kushner is a 2007 Abe Fellow who will be conducting research concerning "Cold War Propaganda in East Asia and Historical Memory." He worked in the U.S. Department of State as a political officer in East Asian affairs and taught Chinese and Japanese history in North Carolina. As a scholar, he has written on wartime Japanese and Chinese propaganda, Japanese media, Asian comedy and is currently penning a history of ramen noodles.

He received his bachelor's degree from Brandeis University and began his career as a high school social studies teacher in Chicago. He traveled to Iwate, Japan, where he taught English, lived in a Buddhist temple and studied Japanese. He lived in Japan for more than five years and studied at Rikkyo University and Tokyo University. Kushner was an editor and translator at the National Institute for Research Advancement in Tokyo and taught western history at Shenyang Teacher's University in north China. After returning to the United States, he attended graduate school at Princeton University and received a doctorate in Asian history.

For more information, visit the Soga Japan Center at www.wmich.edu/sogajapancenter or call (269) 387-4365.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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