December 18, 1998

Former Middlebury College Professor Receives Award From Japanese Government

The Japanese government has awarded Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Hiroshi Miyaji with the Third Order of Merit with the Order of the Sacred Treasure for his contributions to Japanese language education in the United States. Miyaji, who is both a professor emeritus of philosophy and the Cornelius V. Starr Professor Emeritus of Language and Linguistics, traveled from his home in Weybridge to Japan, where he received this imperial decoration in a ceremony on Nov. 6. After the ceremony, he was given an audience with the emperor.

Miyaji worked in the field of language and philosophy education for 40 years. In 1969 he founded the Middlebury College Japanese Language School, where he was the director until 1978. From 1980 to 1982, he was the vice president of foreign languages and director of the Middlebury College Foreign Language Schools. From 1983 to 1996, Miyaji served as both a professor of philosophy and the Cornelius V. Starr Professor of Language and Linguistics at Middlebury.

He was the president of the Association of Teachers of Japanese from 1990-1996.

Miyaji began his work in 1959 when he took a position teaching Japanese language and culture at Stanford University, where he earned his doctorate. He then taught at the University of Oregon and the University of Pennsylvania before coming to Middlebury.

Middlebury College Japanese Professor Carole Cavanaugh, a friend and colleague of Miyaji, said, "The award is an extraordinary honor. Dr. Miyaji's influence on Japanese studies has been felt across the country and will have an impact on generations to come."