About Aya Fujiwara

Dr. Aya Fujiwara became the Director of the Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Alberta in July 2015. She is also teaching Asian and Canadian history classes at the Department of History, Classics, and Religion. Born and raised in Kobe, Japan, she studied Japanese history when she was an undergraduate student but developed her interest in Canadian history. Her speciality is ethnic and immigration history of Canada with particular focus on Japanese Canadians and Japan-Canada relations. She came to Canada as an international student in 1996. Since then, her passion has been to promote strong academic ties between Japan and Canada.

Before she was appointed as the director, she served as a full-time advisor and researcher at the Political Affairs, Embassy of Japan in Ottawa in 2008-2009, and L. R. Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University in 2009-2011. During her term as the director, she served on the executive board of the Canadian Association for Japanese Language Education in 2020-2022. Currently, she is on the executive board of the Japan Studies Association of Canada (2018-), a member of the SSHRC Partnership Grant Project, Past Wrongs and Future Choices led by Dr. Jordan Stanger-Ross (2022-), and a member of the Organizing Committee of the Canadian National Japanese Speech Contest (2015-). She is also committed to the promotion of EDI, service on the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigenization, and Decolonization Committee at the Department of History, Classics, and Religion (2021-). As the director, she organizes various projects, including the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Alberta District Japanese Speech Contest, Asian Studies Brown Bag Series, Webinar Series funded by the Consulate-General of Japan in Calgary, and the Anti-Racism Hirabayashi Project with the Department of Sociology.

She is the author of Ethnic Elites and Canadian Identity: Japanese, Ukrainians, and Scots, 1919-1971 (University of Manitoba Press, 2012) and co-edited Hiroshima-75: Nuclear Issues in Global Contexts (ibidem 2020). She has written articles about Japanese Canadian evacuation during World War II, focusing on the families who moved to Southern Alberta.

She holds a BA (Social Science) from Ritsumeikan University, an MA (Canadian Studies) from the University of Tsukuba, and an MA (History) and Ph.D (History) from the University of Alberta. She also attended the University of British Columbia in 1992-1993. As a graduate student, she received a Government of Canada Award and the Izaac Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, the most prestigious graduate award administered by the University of Alberta.

Aya Fujiwara is married to her husband, David R. Marples, and a mother of twin daughters, Akiko and Kaella.