Shuji Isawa was sent by the Ministry of Education in Japan to study at Bridgewater Normal School in Massachusetts from 1875 to 1877 and at Harvard University from 1877 to 1878. He was one of the famous intellectuals who tested the telephone with Alexander Graham Bell and translated ideas of evolution into Japan. Through his studies with Boston public school music teacher Luther Whiting Mason, Isawa was instrumental in introducing new curriculum for the teaching of music, physical education, and special education for elementary schools in Meiji Japan. Isawa’s life highlights the complex process in the negotiation between traditional and modern or East and West in his quest for learning. His writings in the 1880s demonstrate his efforts of integrating Japanese and western educational curriculum, while his later studies of Chinese language and culture show his ambivalence towards East Asia especially as an educational offi cial in colonial Taiwan in 1895. Through studies of Isawa’s records at Bridgewater State College, a recent visit to his birth house in Ina, Nagano and attendance at the Isawa music festival in October 2007, as well as meeting with a fourth-generation descendant of Isawa in Tokyo, this paper is a preliminary study of the relationship between history and memory in Isawa’s legacy in both Japan and the United States.
東アジア文化交渉研究 = Journal of East Asian Cultural Interaction Studies 2 413-421, 2009-03-31