Senior Lector in East Asian Languages and Literatures
Kōichi Hiroe, B.A. Rikkyo (St. Paul’s) University, all-but- dissertation University of Tsukuba, in applied linguistics, faculty member at Yale since 1996: Beloved by your students as the most soft-spoken but funniest long-time member of the Nihongo team, you are a specialist in teaching at the most advanced course levels but have in fact led classes at every one of Yale’s stages of instruction, thus guiding generations of Yale students through multiple steps on their journeys toward mastery of Japanese through immersion in its texts, media, and their social and cultural contexts.
Having taught for five years at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (IUC) in Yokohama—a consortium program of which Yale is a founding member—and also having served as lecturer in the summer program known as Princeton in Ishikawa (in the castle town of Kanazawa) from 2000 to 2005 and as its director in 2003, you brought an insider’s knowledge to advising students on their study abroad plans and to the coordination of their learning steps back at Yale. You then shared that special wisdom as a long-serving member of the Richard U. Light Program Executive Committee, especially during your five years as Yale’s Japanese language program coordinator, 2000– 2005. From 1995 to 1999 you were also a lecturer in Middlebury College’s famous intensive Japanese summer program with its strict but rewarding “language pledge.” Frisbee on the lawn in Japanese, anyone?
In response to the heightened demand for yet more challenging and relevant courses for our most advanced Yale language learners—yet another result of the extraordinary impact of the Light Program, which accelerates Yale students toward the most advanced levels of proficiency in relatively short time frames— you created a new course tailored to such needs in which our students “chatted”—and more—about current issues and trends in each class session in real time via the Internet with college-age Japanese counterparts (a feat that somehow overcame the night and day time difference between the two sides of the globe).
Along with your colleague Yoshiko Maruyama you devised Yale’s first Web-delivered placement test for Japanese. You also were a contributor to the AOTS (Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship) Nihongo Dictionary for Practical Use, as well as a long-time member of the Japan-based Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, the Association of Teachers of Japanese, and the Association for Asian Studies.
It will be hard for many of your colleagues and former students to imagine the Temple Street office building of EALL without your gentle presence, your welcoming smile, and your always well-reasoned proposals for the betterment of our Japanese program. Perhaps we will see you working out in the fitness center or another of your favorite haunts on campus. You step down from your Lectorship with a distinguished record of imparting a love of learning and exemplary intellectual curiosity to hundreds of Yale students who today can speak, read, and write Japanese because of how much you have cared about them as well as how patient and thorough you have been in guiding them along the way. And so, Hiroe-sensei, a thousand times and more: “ARIGATŌ.”