This past summer, ten NMU students joined the inaugural Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program in Japan offered by the School of Art and Design. This study abroad course entitled “Spirited Away: Shinto, Buddhism, and Japanese Visual Culture” was organized by Professor Mitsutoshi Oba as a three-week fieldwork of art history, in which students researched and examined how postmodern visual culture incorporated traditional arts and ideas in Japan. During the first two weeks, students stayed at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities in Hikone, Shiga, and spent the third week with host families in Higashiomi, the sister city of Marquette. From those cities, students toured Kyoto, Nara, and other neighboring areas, visiting temples, shrines, castles, museums, department stores, as well as contemporary artists’ studios and art classes of secondary schools. They also participated in cultural events such as the Great Kite Festival. Overall, it was a thrilling, eye-opening, and valuable cross-cultural experience for the participants. The picture shows Professor Oba and his class in front of the renowned Great Buddha Hall at Todai-ji, Nara.
Marquette Sister Cities