Distinguished Service to the Association for Asian Studies Award

2023 Honorees

Jason Finkelman is a renowned musician, composer, and educator. He is the Director of the Global Arts Performance Initiatives and Asia Educational Media Service (AEMS) AsiaLENS/AAS Film Expo Curator at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Since 2007, he has worked with AEMS on a variety of documentary and independent film series focusing on issues reflecting contemporary life in Asia. Since 2011, Jason has served as the curator of the Association for Asian Studies Film Expo. In this role, Jason has both facilitated access to sometimes difficult-to-find-films on topics important to the study of Asia and provided a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work.

The Film Expo at the AAS 2023 Annual Conference will be Jason’s last. We are deeply indebted to him for his countless hours dedicated to curating the program over the years, and we will miss working with him on our Annual Conference. For his 13-year commitment to the curation and planning of the Film Expo held each year at the AAS Annual Conference, we present to Jason Finkelman the Award for Distinguished Service to the Association for Asian Studies.

Bill Tsutsui is a respected scholar, author, educator, historian, and leader in higher education. He holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton, and is currently Chancellor and Professor of History at Ottawa University in Kansas.

Bill’s roles with AAS over the years have been numerous and vital. His vision and tireless dedication as AAS Editorial Board Chair for more than a decade have brought creativity, momentum, and expansion to the AAS publications program. Under Bill’s guidance, the AAS publications program has never been more active, more engaged with the trends in our field, and more focused on serving the various needs of our members as teachers, scholars, and professionals.

Bill has been the author or editor of eight books, including, Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization—the best-selling book in AAS history! Bill was awarded the AAS John Whitney Hall Prize in 2000 for his book Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan and his 2004 book, Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters, has been deemed a “cult classic” by the New York Times.

Bill has served on NEAC, the AAS Northeast Asia Council, and has been a part of the NEAC Distinguished Lecture Series. Most recently, he served on the AAS Strategic Planning Committee, helping to develop a five-year strategic plan for the Association. He is currently part of a committee studying ways to improve AAS pedagogical outreach efforts.

There are many words to describe Bill: collaborative, innovative, gregarious, enthusiastic, creative, passionate — and, above all, caring. It is with deepest appreciation that we present Bill Tsutsui with the Award for Distinguished Service to the Association for Asian Studies.

Previous Honorees

2020: Thomas G. Rawski, University of Pittsburgh

2021: Anna Leon Shulman and Frank Joseph Shulman, Bibliography of Asian Studies