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Book details
  • Genre:EDUCATION
  • SubGenre:History
  • Language:English
  • Pages:250
  • eBook ISBN:9780996563918

O Tomodachi

(Friend)

by Dick Jorgensen

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available
Overview

In 1954, as a twenty-nine-year-old grad student, Dick Jorgensen was selected to be one of four “ambassador” teachers in a first-ever exchange program with Japan. Jorgensen would represent the University of Michigan, where he was studying history, and would spend the next two years teaching at the University of Hiroshima, founded in the wake of the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city in 1945.

Thus began an incredible journey for, as he describes himself, a Kid from the Midwest. Those two years in Japan were the start of a lifelong love affair with travel and with Japanese culture, architecture and history. While there, Jorgensen visited many parts of Japan – including Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Sapporo, Nagasaki and many other communities. Jorgensen treats readers to luscious descriptions of all those cities, while at the same time providing histories that deepen understanding and perspective.

As a work of history, O Tomodachi (Friend) provides a perspective on postwar Japan that is both historical and accessible. As memoir, O Tomodachi gives readers a wonderful sense of what it was like for a young American to go off to a foreign land, a place that had only recently been the enemy of the United States, and to open himself to new experiences and people. Jorgensen fell in love with Japan, and that love has lasted a lifetime.

Description

In 1954, as a twenty-nine-year-old grad student, Dick Jorgensen was selected to be one of four “ambassador” teachers in a first-ever exchange program with Japan. Jorgensen would represent the University of Michigan, where he was studying history, and would spend the next two years teaching at the University of Hiroshima, founded in the wake of the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city in 1945.

Thus began an incredible journey for, as he describes himself, a Kid from the Midwest. Those two years in Japan were the start of a lifelong love affair with travel and with Japanese culture, architecture and history. While there, Jorgensen met luminaries in the fields of history, politics and education, lived with two Japanese families, and discovered new ways to reach his young students, all of whom grew up in a Japan ravaged by World War II.

While there, Jorgensen visited many parts of Japan – including Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, Sapporo, Nagasaki and many other communities. Jorgensen treats readers to luscious descriptions of all those cities, while at the same time providing histories that deepen understanding and perspective.

As a work of history, O Tomodachi (Friend) provides a perspective on postwar Japan that is both historical and accessible. As memoir, O Tomodachi gives readers a wonderful sense of what it was like for a young American to go off to a foreign land, a place that had only recently been the enemy of the United States, and to open himself to new experiences and people. Jorgensen fell in love with Japan, and that love has lasted a lifetime.

About the author

Dick Jorgensen grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the 1930s and served in the U.S. Navy for three years during World War II. He completed his bachelor of art degree in sociology/American studies from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1950 and a master of art degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1954.

Under the sponsorship of The Asia Foundation, he moved to Japan for two years to represent the University of Michigan as an English teacher at the fledgling Hiroshima University. Returning to San Francisco as a program officer with The Asia Foundation, his experiences broadened and his passion for anything Asian was enhanced.

Jorgensen taught history in California for a number of years, then in 1965 directed the first History Institute for Teachers at the University of California Berkeley. Soon after, he accepted a position with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Georgetown University (with an emphasis on U.S.-Japan cultural relations), then returned to the Education Department to assume positions as the national director of the Teacher Corps/Peace Corps program and director of dissemination for programs in foreign languages and international studies in America.

Dick has traveled the world over, and more recently has volunteered as a teacher in Kunming, China; Chennai, India; and the Cook Islands; with additional travels in Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Afghanistan, and European countries.

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