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IUC Alumni Talks: A Career in Japanese Literature

Please join us for the next IUC Alumni Talks featuring Melek Su Ortabasi.

Melek will share her experiences living and studying in Japan and working as a Japanese literature professor. We’ll also discuss her successful efforts to lobby for the opening of Japan's borders after the pandemic.

Register on Zoom

About our speaker

Dr. Melek Su Ortabasi is Associate Professor of World Literature at Simon Fraser University. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and has taught at universities in Canada, the US, and Japan. Her research interests include modern Japanese literature, world children’s literature, translation theory and practice, and popular culture. She is an accomplished author, with numerous published books, academic journal articles, and book chapters. Melek is dedicated to teaching and has taught a variety of courses in world literature at the undergraduate level. Currently, Melek is living in Yokohama with her youngest child while on a visiting professorship at Sophia University in Tokyo. Her latest project is working on a book manuscript about transnational influences on the development of modern Japanese children’s literature.

Join Melek to hear about her background as a bilingual German/English speaker who was raised and educated in different countries, giving her a unique perspective on language and culture. We’ll hear about her experiences studying Japanese literature, going from her time at the IUC to her academic career, and the valuable lessons she’s learned along the way. We will also discuss how her lobbying made a difference for separated families hurt by Japan’s closed borders during the pandemic.

About IUC Alumni Talks

IUC Alumni Talks is a web series organized by alumni Richard ('03), Taranee (‘19), Mariah (‘23) and Megan (‘20).

The goal of these events is to create a space for the IUC alumni network to share their personal journeys with each other and with the wider public including future IUC students. Through this series, we hope to build a strong community among people with diverse associations with Japan.

If you have any questions or feedback, or if you’re interested in getting involved, please contact the organizing committee at

Miss the previous sessions? Mondai nai! Watch here on the IUC Alumni Talks YouTube channel.

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