The Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers has bestowed an award on UWM lecturer Shinji Takahashi for his contributions to teaching Japanese language and culture.
The Recognition of Merit Award is given annually to people who have demonstrated excellence in teaching or who have made significant contributions to the profession of teaching language.
Takahashi says this award is not just for him. “This wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of all the UWM Japanese teachers,” he said.
Takahashi moved to Milwaukee 10 years ago with his family and has been teaching beginner Japanese classes ever since. Before moving to America, he taught English in a Kyoto high school for 25 years.
Takahashi’s involvement extends beyond teaching in a classroom to cultural immersion in Japan and promotion of Japanese culture in Milwaukee events throughout the year.
“To promote the Japanese program, we need to get all the communities involved, not just teaching at the university,” Takahashi said.
Every year in June, he leads several students on a study abroad trip to Kyoto for two weeks. He spends a lot of time networking with Japanese business professionals to set up internships in Japan for students majoring in economics or business with knowledge of Japanese. He also coordinates many booths and tables representing the Japanese program at events such as Anime Milwaukee or Wisconsin State Fair.
Outside of UWM, he is chairman of the Milwaukee Japanese Association and president of Wisconsin Association of Teachers of Japanese.