Teaching Associate Professor in Japanese
ykato@email.unc.edu
843-7501
New West 101

Professional biography

I first got interested in teaching Japanese when I participated in a meeting of a volunteer group working for JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) as a college student.  After graduating from Tamagawa University in Tokyo, I completed a yearlong course to specialize in teaching Japanese as a foreign language at Japan College of Foreign Languages in Tokyo, and I received an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Prior to joining UNC-CH, I taught at some other institutions, including University of Chicago for two years, and taught Business Japanese to employees at Sumitomo Co. in New York and BASF in Tokyo.

My goal as a Japanese instructor is to help my students learn how to employ the language constructively and to use this skill as a tool in resolving life’s diverse situations. Obtaining the ACTFL’s OPI tester certification gave me a great deal of understanding of what I can and should do for students in order to achieve the proficiency goals in each level, and to bring their skills up to one level higher. Ultimately, I hope to give them an opportunity to experience the joy of learning a foreign language that can lead to an understanding and appreciation of another culture.

Research

My research interests include pragmatics, changing social values vs. traditions, roles of music in society, and teaching culture through film and TV drama.

Courses

JAPN 305: Advanced Japanese
JAPN 306: Advanced Japanese II
JAPN 401: Gateway to Mastering Japanese
JAPN 412: Making Music in Japan
JAPN 416: Understanding Japanese Business Culture and Its Practice
JAPN 417: Japanese Culture through Film and Literature
JAPN 521: Investigating Japanese Culture through TV Dramas