Tadanori Yamashita has been bringing the language and culture of his native land to western Massachusetts for 40 years. Recently, the emperor of Japan granted Yamashita the medal of Sacred Treasure for promoting Japanese culture in a foreign country.
In addition to teaching at the College and conducting research on everything from Judaic law to Zen, Yamashita established MHC's Asian studies department and (with his wife, Nobue Socho Yamashita) Wa-Shin-An, the College's Japanese teahouse and traditional meditation garden. Off campus, he has devoted himself to teaching Japanese language and culture to the children of local Japanese people (at a school he founded in 1981, of which he is still the principal) and to providing support for Japanese families who move to western Massachusetts, either permanently or temporarily, through the Japanese Peoples Association of Western Massachusetts.
Yamashita teaches subjects related to the Hebrew Bible, the Ancient Near East, and Asian religions. His course Zen and Japanese Culture is one of the most popular at Mount Holyoke.