R-MC President Robert R. Lindgren and
Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki
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Andy and Jeanne Anderson (center)
Randolph-Macon College hosted a near-capacity crowd for the
Taylor Anderson/Japan Foundation Lecture, “Postscripts from Japan: Stories
that Endure After the Earthquake and Tsunami,” on Sunday, March
11, 2012 in Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC Center for the Performing Arts. This lecture
commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which
took the life of R-MC alumna Taylor Anderson ’08.
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Andy and Jeanne Anderson, Taylor’s parents, attended the lecture. Andy Anderson
shared an update on the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund, which they created to help
connect people as they recover from the tsunami. This fund is also supporting the
Taylor Anderson Reading Corners, or Taylor Bunko as they are called, in the seven
schools in Ishinomaki where she taught English as part of the Japan Exchange and
Teaching (JET) program. “We knew she wanted to be a bridge between Japan and the
U.S.,” said Anderson. “We aim to keep Taylor’s dream alive.”
Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki delivered brief remarks
and shared with the audience that although Japan is still struggling, they are on
the road to recovery. “We are aiming not just to restore, but to recover and be
a more resilient Japan. We are in a renaissance,” said Fujisaki.
The keynote speaker for the lecture was National Public Radio (NPR) correspondent
Yuki Noguchi. She shared stories from her time in Japan following the earthquake
and tsunami which she could not cover on the news. She also spoke about the resilience
of the survivors, their ability to find humor and give tokens of appreciation to
volunteers and journalists even in their time of need. “I saw the capacity of young
people to become civic minded,” said Noguchi. “This was a galvanizing emergency.
Young people organized clothing drives and collected goods from people who still
had goods to donate.”
The Taylor Anderson/Japan Foundation lecture was made possible through a generous
grant from The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, entitled “Honoring
the Life , Work and Good Spirit of Taylor Anderson—Enhancing Japanese Studies at
Randolph-Macon College.” The purpose of this grant is to create further awareness,
understanding and appreciation of the Japanese culture and cultivate meaningful
and lasting relationships with each country. Japan Foundation director Kazuaki Kubo
and his wife attended the program. Special guests also included Virginia Secretary
of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, Virginia Secretary of Trade and Commerce Jim
Cheng, Ambassador John Malott, President of the Japan-American Society of Washington,
D.C., and Maurice Maloney, President of the JET Alumni Association of Washington.
In addition, 28 Japanese students with the Knowledge Investment Program (KIP), hosted
by the U.S. Japan Council, attended the lecture to commemorate the anniversary.
Student participants included those both directly affected by the March 11, 2011
earthquake, in the Tohoku region, and those dedicated to Japan’s post-disaster recovery
from other parts of the country.
The Japan Foundation
The Taylor Anderson/Japan Foundation lecture is sponsored through the generosity
of The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership grant, entitled “Honoring
the Life, Work, and Good Spirit of Taylor Anderson- Enhancing Japanese Studies at
Randolph-Macon College.” In 2011, Randolph-Macon College received the grant
to strengthen Japanese Studies, a part of the college’s
Asian Studies program. The grant will help the College reach its goal of
increasing course offerings in Japanese language and culture and allow students
to travel to Japan as part of their studies. The college received $100,000 for this
academic year with the anticipation of receiving additional funds during the five-year
duration of the grant.
Taylor Anderson ’08
Taylor Anderson, who had a lifelong love of Japan, graduated from Randolph-Macon
College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in
International Studies and minors in Asian
Studies and Political Science.
She joined The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program and was assigned to teach
in Ishinomaki, Japan. The JET program is one of the world's largest exchange programs
and is aimed at developing strong international relationships between Japan and
Taylor Anderson Documentary
Producer/Director Regge Life is currently producing a documentary about the inspiring
life story of Taylor Anderson and her passion and zest for the people of Ishinomaki,
Japan. Life is seeking additional support to finish the film which he hopes will
provide encouragement and opportunities for young people, in both Japan and the
United States, to look beyond the boundaries of their community.
To learn more about the documentary and pledge your support, click on