search/admin/spider_custom.php search/search.php fellowship_survey/survey.php Fellow Follow-up Survey Details - Wesley JACOBSEN

PF (1985)

Fellow Information:
First Name
Middle Name
Last Name
Harvard University
Professor of the Practice of the Japanese Language, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Director of the Japan
Contact Address:
Address Type
Address 1
60 Margaret St.
Address 2 (optional)
Zip Code
United States
*Survey URL
1. Are you enaged in Japanese Studies?

Answer: A. Yes, I am engaged in Japanese Studies at a university or research institution.

Field of Study: Language & Linguistics

2. Please describe what you are currently doing. (If you have your own website or any relevant site, provide its URL.)

Answer: I am a faculty member in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard, where I teach courses in Japanese language and linguistics and direct the Japanese Language Program. I also conduct linguistic research on how concepts of time, reality, and participant structure are realized in the structure of the Japanese language and am currently working on a book on that topic.

3. Where did you acquire your most advanced Japanese language training for your research?

Answer: D.Other (Lived in Japan as a child until age 15; most advanced language training was done as a graduate student at the University of Chi)

4. Have you ever participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme?

Answer: NO

Optional Inquiry:
1. Please describe briefly how the Japan Foundation Fellowship experience influenced your career.

Answer: I received a Japan Foundation professional research fellowship in 1985-86 that allowed me to take my first year-long leave after becoming an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, a leave that I spent at the Kokuritsu Kokugo Kenkyuujo in Tokyo. The leave allowed me not only to pursue research that led to the publication of my first book (The Transitive Structure of Events in Japanese, 1992), but also to create a network of research and other professional contacts in Japan that have been crucial to my career both as a teacher of the Japanese language and as a linguistic researcher ever since.

2. The Japan Foundation is planning to create a network or forum among past Japan Foundation fellows. Please let us know if you have any suggestions in terms of themes, format, etc.

Answer: Given the range of disciplines represented among former JF fellows, it is hard to think of a specific theme that would relate to all those disciplines, but one idea would be to plan a forum addressing Japan's changing role in Asia and the world (given that Japan is about to cede its role as the world's second largest economy to China) where people from different disciplines are asked to comment on how those changes have (or have not) affected the their own disciplinary perspectives on Japan and the way they teach and conduct research on Japan. Another idea of a more practical nature would be to provide a forum where recipients of recent JF awards who have not yet begun their fellowship tenure in Japan (especially dissertation research award recipients) are given an opportunity to meet with past recipients to discuss practical matters of living and conducting research in Japan.