Professor Shigeru Miyagawa, a specialist in Japanese language and linguistics, has been appointed the first holder of the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professorship in Japanese Language and Culture.
The appointment was announced by Professor Philip S. Khoury, dean of humanities and social science. "Professor Miyagawa is MIT's senior scholar in Japanese who has played a pivotal role in developing the Institute's program in Japanese language and culture," Dean Khoury said. "It is particularly fitting that he should be the first incumbent of the Kochi chair."
The Kochi Professorship was established earlier this year by a gift from the Kochi Prefecture in Japan. It honors John Manjiro, a native of Kochi Prefecture who was rescued at sea 150 years ago by an American ship. He was brought to Massachusetts, where he became fluent in English and knowledgeable about American culture during a six-year stay. After returning to Japan, he served as an English interpreter as Japan began to open its doors to the Western world.
Professor Miyagawa's research lies at the intersection of Japanese syntax and modern syntactic theory. He is the author of Structure and Case Marking in Japanese, one of the standard reference books in Japanese linguistics.
In addition to his research, Professor Miyagawa is involved with computer-based language teaching methods. He is directing a multimedia Japanese language project, entitled "Tanabata," which is an interactive program incorporating text, voice, graphics, film and music in a single instructional package, expected to be available on CD-ROM by the end of the year.
Professor Miyagawa's research group has also created JP-NET, an information service for Japanese language and culture accessible worldwide on the Internet.
"Shigeru Miyagawa works at the cutting edge of the application of technology to teaching and learning," Dean Khoury said. "He has an international reputation as an educational innovator and represents that wonderful combination of a research scholar who is also dedicated to improving the means of teaching students."
Professor Miyagawa received the BA degree from the International Christian University in Tokyo and the MA (1978) and PhD (1980) degrees in linguistics from the University of Arizona. Before coming to MIT in 1991, he was head of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the Ohio State University. Professor Miyagawa is the faculty resident of the East Campus dormitories.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 4, 1995.