Salt Lake Community College students and faculty were given the opportunity to get insight into a different culture as Hideki Okazaki from Japan’s Shitennoji University visited the South City Campus and Taylorsville Redwood Campus last week.
Okazaki visited in order to present a lecture on the mutual understanding between the Japanese and Muslim cultures. Okazaki spoke in great detail about the history of the subject, ranging from the 17 century to today. Okazaki sites the increasing population of Muslims in Japan as the importance of the lecture. As he puts it, mutual understanding between the two cultures is important if they hope to live together peacefully.
Okazaki was brought here as part of a partnership between SLCC and Shitennoji University that allows an exchange of personnel and ideas. This was his first visit to Utah. Okazaki works as a full time lecturer at Shitennoji University. When asked what his impressions are of Utah, Okazaki immediately mentioned the size differences. “Everything is wide,” he says, “the roads, the buildings, everything.” He mentioned that SLCC is larger than any university in Japan.
Okazaki believes that this partnership can be beneficial for both Shitennoji University and SLCC, and would like to see an SLCC faculty member visit Japan to present a lecture of their own. As Okazaki puts it, Shitennoji has few American students, and through this partnership, the university can help encourage Japanese students to learn about American Culture.
When asked what subjects would be appealing to Shitennoji students, Okazaki expressed interest in having them learn about politics, language, religion, U.S. history, and especially popular culture, as Japanese students tend to be very interested in American movies and music. Okazaki stated that in addition to last week’s subject matter, Shitennoji University offers many other areas of study that would appeal to SLCC students and faculty, such as pedagogy, nursing, and language studies.