Program | US-Japan Relations: Culture, Business, Security — Bonds Across Many Sectors | Apr 5

Opening remarks from special guest Consul-General of Japan Masami Kinefuchi.

From April 1st to April 7th our community will be celebrating “Japan Week” highlighting the remarkable bilateral relationship between Japan and the United States, especially in Tennessee, across many mutually rewarding sectors — economic, geo-strategic, cultural, and fellowship. As part of this celebration your World Affairs Council is joining with Belmont University on April 5th in Nashville to bring an interdisciplinary panel of specialists to provide an overview of the important connections that bind these partners. A reception will follow and then a screening of the film “Tokyo!” with discussion.

[Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival / Japan Week Web Site]

You Are Invited

US-Japan Relations: Culture, Business, Security — Bonds Across Many Sectors

April 5, 2017

Belmont University
Janet Ayers Academic Center, Room 4094

Eventbrite - Global Affairs Town Hall | US-Japan Relations - Bonds Across Many Sectors

5:00 p.m.

  • Opening Remarks: Consul-General of Japan Masami Kinefuchi

Panel – US-Japan Relations: Culture, Business, Security — Bonds Across Many Sectors


  • Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn, Director, Asian Studies, Belmont University


  • Dr. Cynthia Bisson, Belmont University, Professor of East Asian History – “The Symbolism of the Cherry Blossom in Japanese Culture and History”
  • Dr. Marieta Velikova, Belmont University, Professor of of International Business and Economics – “Current Issues in the Japanese Economy”
  • Dr. Kazuhiko Kawamura, Professor of Engineering Management, Emeritus, Vanderbilt University
  • LCDR Patrick Ryan, US Navy (Retired) – President Tennessee World Affairs Council – “Western Pacific Security Challenges and the US-Japan Relationship”

6:00-7:00 p.m. — Reception

7:00-9:00 p.m. Film Screening — “Tokyo!”  

Followed by a brief discussion with:

  • Dr. John Paine, Belmont University Professor of Literature
  • Belmont student Ms. Sophie McCarthy, Vice President of Belmont’s Japan America Relations Club

Tokyo! Is a three-part film made by three non-Japanese directors of high repute, and set in Tokyo. Reviewers have called it “an imaginative … love letter to a city that signals a great creative enterprise by its three contributing directors,” Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-ho. It is off-beat, surrealistic, and offers a different take on the city.

Trailer for “Tokyo!”


Janet Ayers Academic Center, 4094

See map for building #8 [Link]

Parking for visitors enter at P under building #8.  Visitor slots marked on “G” level.  Take North Elevators to 4th floor 

Opening Remarks

Consul-General of Japan Masami Kinefuchi

Consul-General of Japan Kinefuchi received his official appointment in Nashville on April 1, 2015 and arrived to assume his duty on April 28.

Since beginning his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1983, he has held office in a wide variety of responsibilities, ranging from the Minister’s Secretariat, and those offices of Political affairs, Economic matters, Economic Cooperation, Culture and Information, etc. His recent overseas assignments were Minister and Deputy Chief of the Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Australia and that in Egypt, and most recently in Japan, He served as Assistant Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Justice until March this year. He is charged with being the Consul-General of Japan in Nashville, covering a five-state jurisdiction in the Southeast United States.

More About Our Panel

Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn

Ronnie Littlejohn (Chinese name: ÕÅČŹÄž, Zhang Renning) holds the Ph.D. from Baylor University and has done post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago, the University of Hawaii, the University of Arizona, Harvard University, Notre Dame University, and the Pennsylvania State University.  He was the 2015 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Professor of the Year for Tennessee and is the Virginia Chaney Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Belmont, where he is also Director of Asian Studies. His teaching at Belmont is in the areas of the philosophy of language; ethics and moral theory; and comparative philosophy (Western and East Asian).  He is author of seven books and over 60 articles. He works closely with the Office of the Consul-General of Japan as a referee for selection of  recipients for the Japan English Teaching Awards (JET) and the Japanese Government Ministry of Education Monbukagakusho (MEXT) scholarship  to enable foreign students from around the world to earn undergraduate degrees, study Japanese language and culture at the undergraduate level, train in Japanese specialized training colleges, and research a broad range of topics at the graduate level in Japanese universities. Littlejohn is a member of the Editorial Board for Education about Asia, the journal published by the international Association of Asian Studies as a teaching resource for secondary school, college, and university instructors.  He is Co-Director of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia program in Tennessee and Director of the ASIANetwork Mellon Foundation Faculty Enhancement Program (ANFEP). In 2016, he was recipient of the International Talent Cooperation Programme Award of the Ministry of Education in Henan Province and served as a foreign expert for the purpose of the development of faculty and students at five Henan Provincial universities on the subject of Chinese and American civic values.



Dr. Cynthia Bisson  

Dr. Cynthia Bisson teaches in the area of East Asian History at Belmont University and she holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.   Her major field in history is Modern France and she has done research on criminal justice in nineteenth century France in Paris and in Brittany while on a Fulbright Research grant.  She also has a secondary competence in the history of Modern Japan.  At Belmont she teaches courses in the history of both nations including ones on the French Revolution, Modern France, The Samurai, and Modern Japan.   World History, Modern China, and a Survey of East Asian history are also part of her teaching repertoire. She leads study abroad programs to Japan and works closely with the Office of the Consul-General of Japan in planning the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, while also helping in the selection of persons for the prestigious Japan English Teaching (JET) program.


Dr. Kazuhiko Kawamura 

Professor Kawamura is an internationally known researcher in cognitive systems and humanoid robotics. He has published over 150 research papers, a book, and book chapters in the fields of intelligent systems, humanoid robotics, cognitive robotics, human-robot interaction, and computational intelligence. From 1990 to 2013, he was Director of Center for Intelligent Systems where he built a humanoid robot named ISAC and has directed research projects in the development of a cognitive robot architecture, sensory-motor association learning, working memory-based task learning, and cognitive control. Dr. Kawamura was a visiting professor at Kyoto University and Chuo University in 1980s. He was a visiting professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, UK in 2004 where he conducted research on cognitive robotics.


Dr. Marieta Velikova

Dr. Marieta V. Velikova received her undergraduate degree from the People’s Friendship University of Russia. Her M.A. in Financial Economics and Ph.D. in Applied Economics were both earned at Mississippi State University. She teaches economics and international business courses in Belmont University”Æs Massey College of Business Administration, where she has advised members of ENACTUS, and has been involved in the creation of the IB Society an organization for students interested in international studies.  She has led numerous travel-study trips to Turkey, Japan, Guatemala, Cuba, London, Peru, Colombia and Brazil. She is active in the business community being a member of  Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee World Affairs Council Advisory Board, and the President of the board of directors for Sister Cities Nashville. She is a part of Kamakura Sister City committee that allows her to continue connect Nashville to Kamakura through student and adult exchanges. She has been nominated for “Top 40 under 40” by the Nashville Business Journal, and she has received the Nashville Emerging Leaders Award by Nashville Chamber of Commerce. 


LCDR Patrick Ryan 

Patrick Ryan is the Founding President of the Tennessee World Affairs Council. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 beginning a 26-year career, assigned first in the Persian Gulf in 1973 followed by assignments in the Submarine Service where he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Mr. Ryan received a BA degree at the University of South Carolina, in 1981, majoring in International Studies followed by commissioning in the Navy as an Ensign. Mr. Ryan served aboard numerous ships, headquarters staffs and overseas assignments before retiring in 1998 as a Lieutenant Commander. Among his assignments were the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, the Center for Naval Analyses, and US Central Command headquarters. Ryan’s military service included numerous deployments and tours of duty in the Western Pacific including a three-year assignment in Yokosuka, Japan. He has lived and worked in Bahrain, Italy and Japan and has traveled to about 50 countries. In 1999 he founded a publishing business that developed newsletters and web sites addressing international affairs. In 2007 he founded the Tennessee World Affairs Council.


Dr. John Paine

John H. E. Paine (Ph.D., Emory University) is professor of Literature. Dr. Paine has been fascinated by European languages and literatures since early childhood. He has done research on European, American, and Asian fiction and literary theory and criticism. He has taught German and Humanities at Emory University, French at Georgia Tech, English and American Studies at the Universitat Regensburg, and American Literature and Culture as a Fulbright Fellow in Angers, France. He has also studied contemporary trends in literary criticism and philosophy, the literature of the South, and Homer and the oral epic during summer faculty development seminars. In recent years, he has participated in Faculty Development seminars in Honolulu, sponsored by the East-West Center and the Freeman Foundation, on Chinese and Japanese literature and culture. In 2008, he was facilitator and participant in the faculty seminar Fukuoka Crossroads in Fukuoka, Japan.


Ms. Sophie McCarthy 


The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at:  — Join / Donate / Volunteer

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