2018 Judges & Committee

The Japanese Program at The George Washington University is grateful for the invaluable support from the following individuals.




Takehiro Shimada




Takehiro Shimada

Mr. Takehiro Shimada is the Minister for Communications and Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Embassy in the United States. He began his post in August 2017 after serving as the Director of Policy Planning Division, Headquarters for the Abduction Issue. Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1991, he has worked in international peace cooperation, public diplomacy, China affairs, and abduction issues among others. Mr. Shimada is a graduate of Keio University.






Hiroyuki (Bob) Takai

Mr. Bob Takai currently heads Sumitomo Corporation of Americas’ (SCOA) Washington, D.C., office, which is responsible for research, policy analysis, and government affairs. Prior to arriving in Washington, D.C., in April 2018, Mr. Takai served in multiple leadership roles with Sumitomo Corporation. Immediately prior to his arrival in Washington, Bob was Executive Officer of Sumitomo Corporation and President and CEO of Sumitomo Corporation Global Research Co. Ltd., which is responsible for Sumitomo's business intelligence and economic/political research activities. In 2011, he was appointed to head Sumitomo's Energy Division, where he was responsible for oil and gas trading and upstream investment. Prior to that position, he was assigned to head the newly created foreign exchange and commodity derivatives department within the Treasury Division. There, he expanded his career in financial markets, eventually becoming the corporate officer in charge of the Financial Business Division, with responsibilities for derivatives trading, private equity investment, asset management, and aircraft leasing business. In 1988, Mr. Takai was transferred to Sumitomo’s London Office and expanded his trading sphere in metals, where he gained extensive experience and built global network. In 1993, he was the first non-British board member elected to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), and he still maintains close working relationships with the global bullion community. He is a regular contributor to the Nikkei Newspaper, Weekly Nikkei Veritas, Toyo Keizai and Economist magazines. In addition, he made regular appearances in “Morning Satellite” on TV Tokyo and “Market Analyze Plus” on BS12 while he was based in Tokyo. Mr. Takai joined Sumitomo Corporation in 1980 and began his career in the Non-Ferrous Metals Division, trading precious metals. Mr. Takai graduated from Kobe University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.





Takakazu Yamagishi

Dr. Takakazu Yamagishi is Professor in the Department of Global Liberal Studies at Nanzan University. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include American politics, Japanese politics, and comparative public policy. One of his major publications is War and Health Insurance Policy in Japan and the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). He also serves as the Director of Center for International Affairs.

Tomoko Steen




Tomoko Y. Steen

Dr. Tomoko Steen is a tenured Science Research Specialist at a US federal government agency, and an Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown’s School of Medicine. She runs graduate seminars focusing on various aspects of science policy and diplomacy, while she conducts biological research.  Over the years, Dr. Steen has taken on a broad range of scientific research projects: on theoretical population genetics, on molecular evolution, on the epidemiology of antibiotic resistant strains, and currently on the biological effects of radiation using gut microbiomics. She has also worked on topics in the humanities such as comparative health policies, the comparative history of women in science, the intellectual history of Japan in Asia, the sociology of scientific knowledge, and science controversies. Dr. Steen is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Heredity (Oxford University Press) and is regularly invited to be on the review board for various research grant committees such as NIH, NSF, US Department of State and Department of Defense. She is also frequently invited to review a broad range of leading academic journals, including Nature, ISIS, and the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She has joint Ph.Ds. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Ecology and Evolution from Cornell University, and postdoctoral training from Emory University jointly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her primary degree is in Pharmacology/Pharmacy, and her early career was a clinical pharmacologist while holding a federal pharmaceutical license in Japan.


Advisory Committee





John Malott

Amb. John R. Malott served as President of the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC from 2006 to 2018. Prior to that, his 31-year career in the US Foreign Service included assignments as US Ambassador to Malaysia, US Consul General in Osaka, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Director of the State Department's Office of Japanese Affairs, American Consul in Bombay, Economic Officer at the US Embassy in Tokyo, and civilian adviser during the Vietnam War. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and the National War College. In  April 2017, the Government of Japan announced the awarding of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon to Amb. Malott in recognition of his lifelong contributions toward strengthening the relationship and friendship between Japan and the United States of America.





Yoshiko Mori

Dr. Yoshiko Mori is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Japanese Language Program in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Georgetown University. Her specialization is in second-language learning and instruction. She has published her work on second language kanji learning, the role of learner perceptions in vocabulary learning, and heritage language learning, in major journals including Language Learning, Modern Language Journal, and Foreign Language Annals. She has taught numerous college-level Japanese language courses from the introductory to the advanced levels, as well as courses in linguistics and second language learning. She currently serves as Co-President of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese.





Yoko Lawless

Ms. Yoko Lawless is the US representative of The Naganuma School, The Tokyo School of Japanese Language.  Ms. Lawless has worked as a management consultant for various global companies.  She is a council member of The Japan-America Society National Japan Bowl and participated in the selection of JET Program participants for more than 10 years. She is a graduate of Seikei University, and has studied Global HR Management at Cornell University and Executive Leadership at Georgetown University.





Noriko Otsuka

Ms. Noriko Otsuka teaches at Fox Mill Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia and Washington Japanese Language School in Bethesda, Maryland. She currently serves as Co-President of the Mid Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese (MAATJ), and is a member of the National Japan Bowl Committee and the Japanese Language Education Advocacy and Resource Network (J-LEARN). She majored in International Relations at Tsukuba University and earned M. Ed from George Mason University.


Executive Director

Takae Tsujioka




Takae Tsujioka

Dr. Takae Tsujioka is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Japanese Language at the George Washington University. She has served as the Executive Director of J.LIVE Talk since 2016. Her research interests include Japanese linguistics and language instruction, and her work has been published as books and articles in both fields. She has taught Japanese language courses at all levels of college instruction, and is the recipient of Bender Award for Teaching Excellence at the George Washington University. She currently serves as Co-President of Mid Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese (MAATJ), and is a member of the National Japan Bowl Committee. She received her Ph.D. in linguistics from Georgetown University.