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Distinguished Service

Wittenberg Professor Emeritus of History Jim Huffman Honored

Wittenberg Professor Emeritus of History Jim Huffman Honored

Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg Professor Emeritus of History Jim Huffman has received the Association for Asian Studies’ (AAS) Distinguished Service Award.

A former journalist, Huffman taught at Wittenberg for more than 30 years, specializing in the history of Japan’s Meiji era and particularly the role of the newspaper press in bringing average citizens into Japan’s political life. He also taught the whole of East Asian history, everything from China in the age of Confucius to Japan under the samurai to Korea’s divided era.

He received the award today, Friday, March 17, during the AAS' annual conference in Toronto, Canada. AAS is the main national association for Asian Studies scholars.

“Jim was one of the driving forces of Wittenberg East Asian Studies (EAS) for many years,” said Terumi Imai, associate professor of languages at Wittenberg. “He attracted many students who wanted to study EAS, and students loved him. He is very humble and keeps saying that he is so undeserving of this award, and I keep telling him he totally deserves the award.”

According to its website, the AAS is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. With approximately 7,000 members worldwide, representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all academic disciplines, the AAS is the largest organization of its kind. Founded in 1941 originally as publisher of the Far Eastern Quarterly, now the Journal of Asian Studies, the association has gone through a series of reorganizations to better serve the broadening disciplinary and geographical interests of its membership.

The AAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies is intended to honor outstanding scholarship and service to the field. It is the highest honor the AAS can bestow.

“Jim is perhaps one of the finest scholars/teachers I have ever met,” said Wittenberg Political Science and East Asian Studies Professor Bin Yu. “He is warm, humble, very thoughtful and well respected by both students and colleagues.”

In addition to working with the AAS and serving on its editorial board, Huffman also earned the respect of his students and colleagues alike, having received three Fulbright Awards in his distinguished career. His teaching honors include the Ohio Academy of History’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Wittenberg Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching. Huffman was awarded honorary alumnus status in 2006. The author of six books including A Yankee in Meiji Japan and Japan: A History in Documents, Huffman has also published articles in both Newsweek and The New York Times.

 

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A nationally ranked university for the liberal arts and sciences affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Wittenberg University has repeatedly been ranked throughout the years by the Princeton Review for the quality of its teaching and faculty, including 11th in the nation for "Best Classroom Experience" and 15th in the category "Professors Get High Marks" in the 2011 edition of Princeton's annual Best Colleges guide. Most recently, Wittenberg earned the No. 4 spot in the category of "Most Accessible Professors." Wittenberg appeared in the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges in 2013 and again in 2015. Additionally, Wittenberg currently has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any other four-year institution in the state, and has been recognized nationally for excellence in service and athletics.

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