Brandon Pesarchick

Brandon Pesarchick '15 is a double major in East Asian Studies (Japan Concentration) and Neuroscience. In his senior-year Culminating Experience project, "The Power of the Placebo Effect in Japan," Brandon relied on his training in both majors to argue that a therapeutic placebo effect occurs in Japanese kampōyaku (漢方薬) medical practice. Such herb-based medications seem to work better than one might expect, due to traditional belief systems among patients and the positive social experience fostered within the patient-physician relationship in Japan.

Prof. Elizabeth Armstrong's first book translation entitled, The Crimson Thread of Abandon, was published in September 2014 (MerwinAsia).

The Crimson Thread of Abandon Translated by Elizabeth L. ArmstrongThe book is a collection of 20 "tales for adults", surreal stories with unconventional and enticing premises. The title of the book in Japanese is rendered literally as "tales sewn together with red thread", and indeed, these stories are joined together thematically by the metaphorical twisting together of unrequited love, abandonment, irremediable separation, and disappointment.

The stories are populated with characters who face the vagaries of fortune which keep happiness just out of reach. Each tale brings the reader into Terayama's private world, which is sometimes disturbing, melancholy, and poignant in turn. Although renown in Japanese literary circles, Terayama is largely unknown internationally; thus Armstrong, a long-time aficionado of Terayama, is delighted to bring this part of his considerable oeuvre to an English-speaking readership.

Matthew Chen '09

Matthew Chen '09 (East Asian Studies with a concentration in Japanese) is now the Translation Group Subleader of Language Services in Honda R&D Americas.

Matt recently returned to campus to talk about his evolving career in the language service industry and how his major played into his career path. He spoke of his study-abroad experience (the Associated Kyoto Program), employment in Japan, and his successful career as a translator and project manager of globalization and localization.

Let us take you across the International Date Line, to Asia and the Pacific Rim, where you’ll learn about these cultures and nations that are key global players. Focus on China or Japan. Five levels of study in Chinese or Japanese are available.

You'll get a balanced look at the arts, history, literature, politics, philosophy, religion, science and technology of both the past and present of the region. 

Did You Know?

All students majoring or minoring in the East Asian Studies department are strongly encouraged to seek opportunities for summer, semester, or preferably, full-year study in China or Japan.

Average number of majors per class year: 9

An East Asian Studies faculty member has recently secured a grant from the Japan foundation.

The East Asian Studies major requires an emphasis on either China or Japan.

Faculty Spotlight

Meet all of our faculty

Zhiqun Zhu

Associate Professor

Zhiqun Zhu

"Not a single day goes by without China being covered in the news. China is already affecting our daily lives, and it is going to shape the future of the world."

More about Professor Zhu
Elizabeth Armstrong

Associate Professor

Elizabeth Armstrong

"Just being in-country (Japan) gives you the ability to teach culture and language at every turn: while you're walking down the street, while you're on the train, while you're eating. It was a wide open classroom."

More about Professor Armstrong
Song Chen

Assistant Professor

Song Chen

"We study history in different ways. One way is to see history as full of change. Another is to see history as continuous. What's going on in China is a combination of both. The past always finds way into the present, yet with new meanings and new looks."

More about Professor Chen

Hands-on Experience

Outside the Classroom

Study Abroad

The East Asian Studies department participates in numerous nationally renowned programs for study abroad, offering students a variety of ways to study for a semester or a year overseas.

Students are encouraged to spend their junior year in China or Japan.

Learn more about Study Abroad



East Asian Studies majors can gain career experience through summer internships. Recently, students have interned at:

  • PRTM (management consultants)
  • AIG Private Equity

Places I've Been

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