X. Jie Yang

Professor, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary


Professor Yang is a two-time recipient of the Japan Foundation fellowship. He first went to Kyoto in 1996; his second fellowship took him to Rikkyo University, Tokyo, in 2007/08. His time in Japan had long-lasting influences on his career and his family.

The research during my first fellowship in 1996 was on Japanese medieval picture scrolls, particularly those now reserved outside of Japan. I was able to concentrate on the Spencer Collection (New York Public Library), and traced back the content of a few titles to specific classical works, generating two journal articles on the scroll “Goetsu Monogatari” (A Tale of Go and Etsu). The research during my second fellowship in 2007 was on a specific title, “Gosanne Kassen Ekotoba” (A Scroll of The Later Three Years’ War). I was able to approach this classical title from a number of different angles, and published a total of 6 journal articles, including one in the journal Bungaku (Iwanami Shoten, 2009) on features of a scroll as an unique medium.

During the first stay in Japan in 1996, I was with my family, including two children in the age 6 and 4. Both of them were enrolled in a kindergarten and had a wonderful experience. Later both became serious students of Japanese language and culture during their time in university. As for my second fellowship in Tokyo, I was able to conduct my research internationally, specifically traveled to other countries each with a group of Japanese scholars, to Seoul, Korea in Nov. 2007 and to Dublin, Ireland in March 2008.

An accomplished and well-established figure in Japanese Studies in Canada, Professor Yang has been the recipient of a number of other prestigious grants and research fellowships. In the 2016 Spring Conferment of Decoration on Foreign nationals, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, in recognition of his “contributions to Japanese language education and promotion of Japan-related studies, enabling further mutual understanding between Japan and Canada.”

The Japan Foundation Fellowship helped me to establish a wide network with scholars in Japan across different research fields, further to build up a solid foundation for conducting research on medieval picture scrolls in Canada. The two fellowship each led me to further accomplish two Visiting Research Scholarship at the Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, during May 1999 – April 2000 and May 2011- April 2012.

I have also received a Publishing Grant and a Conference Grant both from the Japan Foundation, Toronto in 1998 and 2002. The formal supported my publication, “kanaCLASSIC –An Electronic Guide to Learning Classical Japanese kana Writing” (IMJS, Columbia University Press, UTI, 1998), and the later assisted an international conference, “Historical Consciousness, Historiography, and Modern Japanese Values”, jointed with International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Oct. 2002.