Furman University Oral Histories
Shusuke Yagi Interview

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Shusuke Yagi Interview


Dr. Shusuke Yagi was born in Japan and studied throughout Asia. He earned his PhD in New Religious Movements in Thailand and then went on to complete a teaching-research postdoctoral position at the University of Alberta in Canada. Following his time at the University of Alberta, Dr. Yagi was hired by Furman as the first Japanese foreign language professor in 1989. Chosen for his scholarly expertise in an Asian subject, Dr. Yagi joined Dr. Lin Chen, Dr. Long Xu, Dr. Jim Leavell, Dr. David Shaner, and Dr. Edward Jones as a founding member of the Asian Studies Department.

From 1999 onward, Dr. Yagi transitioned from exclusively teaching Japanese language (being replaced by Professor Izumi Tokunaga) to offering courses on Asian culture more generally, including film, popular culture, and art history. From the foundation of Asian Studies at Furman, Dr. Yagi has been a pioneer in the expansion and growth of the department, which has included a number of new faculty hires and study away opportunities.


A founding member of Furman's Asian Studies Department, Dr. Shusuke Yagi was hired as the University's first professor of Japanese language in 1989. In this interview, Yagi explains his family's experiences in Europe and North America and his eventual journey to Furman. He details his first impressions of living in the southeastern United States and some of the challenges and discrimination he faced upon his arrival at the University.

This oral history is part of the Untold Journeys project.

Scholarship Type

Student Scholarship

Publication Date


City and State

Greenville, SC

Instructor(s) or Advisor(s)

Kylie Fisher

Additional Affiliated Department, Center or Institute

Asian Studies


Asian History | History


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Shusuke Yagi Interview