Yamaguchi Opportunity Fund

Faculty and graduate student funding for Asia-related research

Status: Applications are currently open and the deadline is April 6, 2020.


Through the generous support of Mr. Akira Yamaguchi, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center is able to offer modest support each fall and spring semester for faculty and graduate level research related to Asian Studies and, to a lesser extent, for curriculum development related to Asia.

Fundable activities might include: research-related travel; expenses related to scholarly publication; the cost of books and materials essential to applicants’ research, and costs related to relevant workshops or academic conferences where a paper will be presented.  Proposals for support for conference or workshop participation must include a detailed summary of the paper to be delivered.

Preference will be given to junior (full-time, but pre-tenure) faculty members, although other faculty and graduate students will be considered. 

To maximize the number of people who receive assistance, awards will typically be limited to an average of $500 and thus will necessarily supplement other sources of funds. The maximum award will generally be limited to $1000.  Faculty may of course request less than $500 in support.

Proposals will be evaluated by a small committee of UM faculty and staff who represent diverse disciplines and have expertise in different regions of Asia.  Their recommendations will go to the Provost, who will make final decisions in consultation with the Director of the Mansfield Center. Particularly in cases in which a significant number of meritorious proposals are received, an effort will be made to balance support among the diverse regions of Asia.

To Apply:

Interested faculty and graduate students should submit a two-page proposal detailing the nature and the cost breakdown of their request and explaining the impact the support will have on their research or teaching. For faculty, a letter of support from a colleague in the field familiar with the applicant's work who is able to assess the merits of the proposal must be included. For graduate students, a letter of support from the student’s principal advisor must be included. All applications should be emailed to natalie.hofstad@mso.umt.edu.

Successful awardees are expected to provide the Mansfield Center with a summary of activities funded by the award after they are completed and, if applicable, two photos of conferences, workshops or research participated in.

Applications are currently open and the deadline is April 6, 2020.

Past Recipients:

Dr. Robert J. Tuck
UM Assistant Professor of Japanese
Fall 2013

Dr. Tuck presented papers on the interaction of print media with Japanese poetry at three national conferences during Spring 2014 with the aid of a Yamaguchi Opportunity Fund Award.

Dr. Teresa Sobieszczyk
UM Associate Professor of Sociology
Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017

Dr. Sobieszczyk presented papers on sustainable tourism and rural health care at the Rural Sociology Conference in 2014 and 2015, and conducted research on Gender Norms in Thailand

Dr. Maxine Ramey and Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick
UM School of Music
Spring 2014

Dr. Ramey and Dr. Kirkpatrick performed created research through collaboration and performance with Korean and Japanese musicians in South Korea for the "International Clarinet Festival in Concert."

Dr. Brian Dowdle
UM Associate Professor of Japanese
Spring 2014, Spring 2015 and Spring 2017

Dr. Dowdle purchased reprints of Japanese fiction from the 1880s and 90s and participated in summer seminars and workshops to further his research.

Dr. Johan Eriksson
UM Assistant Professor of Music
Fall 2014

Dr. Eriksson visited China on a research and performance tour.

Dr. Eric Schluessel
UM Assistant Professor of History and Political Science
Spring 2017

Historical Research on Han Chinese Migration to Xinjiang in the 19th Century Contact.

Dr. Jennifer Cavanaugh and Dr. Simon Hutchinson
UM Associate and Assistant Professors of Music
Spring 2015

Dr. Cavanaugh and Dr. Hutchinson gave the world premiere performance of Tiger and Dragon for oboe and electronics at the International Double Reed Society Conference in Tokyo, Japan.

Nadia White
UM Associate Professor of Journalism
Spring 2016

Nadia White traveled to Japan on a scouting trip to develop a visit to Japan for Journalism students.

Dr. Jennifer Thomsen
UM Assistant Professor of Park, Recreation, and Tourism Management
Spring 2016

Dr. Thomsen researched Chinese tourism in West Yellowstone.

Dr. Jingjing Sun
UM Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology
Spring 2016

Dr. Sun researched collaborative reasoning in Chinese classrooms.

Dr. Ranjan Shrestha
UM Assistant Professor of Economics
Spring 2016

Dr. Shrestha traveled to Indonesia for research with the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction.

Dr. Yoon Hee Cho
UM Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Spring 2017

Dr. Cho conducted Epigenetic Research in Korea.

Dr. G. G. Weix
UM Professor of Anthropology
Spring 2017

Dr. Weix visited Salatiga University in Indonesia to participate in the Consortium on the Teaching of Indonesian.

Dr. Yoon Hee Cho
UM Associate Professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Fall 2017

Dr. Cho presented her paper, "Epigenetic biomarkers for early life environmental tobacco smoke exposure and inflammation" at various academic conferences in Korea.

Dr. Brian Dowdle
UM Associate Professor of Japanese
Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017 and Fall 2018

Dr. Dowdle was a discussant on an international panel, "The Death of Japan Studies," at the Association for Asians Studies 2019 Annual Conference.

Dr. Michihiro Ama
UM Karashima Tsukasa Associate Professor of Japanese
Fall 2018

Dr. Ama spent a week in Kyoto conducting research for his manuscript, The Awakening of Modern Japanese Fiction: Path Literature and An Interpretation of Buddhism.

Dr. G. G. Weix
UM Professor of Anthropology
Fall 2018

Dr. Weix traveled to Indonesia to conduct field-based oral history interviews for sabbatical research, making available original ethnographic documentation of Kudus and the iconic industry supporting its local economy for more than a century.

Dr. Yoonhee Jang
UM Associate Professor of Psychology
Spring 2019

Dr. Jang collected data on human memory and metacognition at Ajou University, South Korea. She will then present her study at the Psychonomic Society's annual meeting and the Korean Psychological Association's annual meeting.

Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick, Dr. Johan Eriksson
UM Associate Professors of Music
Spring 2019

Drs. Kirkpatrick and Eriksson traveled to various schools in Taiwan, giving master classes and performances in addition to presenting a concert at one of the concert halls in Taipei.

Dr. Lauren Collins 
Postdoctoral Fellow, Davidson Honors College 
Fall 2019

Dr. Collins presented research papers at two conferences based on her research in Thailand studying the impacts of study abroad on local economics and communities.

Ms. Lindsey Ellett
Master's Student, Resource Conservation
Fall 2019

Ms. Ellett will conduct research on how transboundary marine protected areas and marine mammal management and coordination can be strengthened in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape.