Senior lecturer’s office reflects Japanese culture

Baylor professor implements Japanese culture into their office. Photo courtesy of Junna Miyazaki

Junna Miyazaki | Reporter

Senior lecturer Yuko Prefume teaches multiple Japanese-related courses at Baylor, including introductory, elementary and intermediate Japanese, Japanese conversation and composition, Japanese civilization and more.

Prefume said that people barely experience Japanese culture in Waco and that she wants students to be exposed to Japanese culture in her office. She also said she has used this office for more than 10 years. Inside, there are many Japanese items from people Prefume has interacted with.

When stepping into Prefume’s office in Draper, her transparent door is filled with Japanese posters and brochures, including ones of the Japanese traditional dance “Yosakoi” and a form of Japanese drama “Kabuki.”

“It was a lot going on,” Waco junior Michael Landis said. “There are books and folders everywhere and a lot of posters.”

In Prefume’s office, there is a banner reading, “Welcome to come in” in Japanese. There is also a 2020 Tokyo Olympics banner.

When entering Prefume’s sanctuary, there is a curtain with an owl, with a phonetic equivalent of the word translated into Japanese. The Japanese word for owl means “without hardship.”

On a wall of Prefume’s office, there are the words “Baylor University” written in Japanese on Japanese calligraphy paper.

Prefume said that she loves fireworks and that fireworks enhance a positive mood. This is exemplified further with a hanging curtain decorated with fireworks hanging within her corner of the world.

On an office shelf, there is a Japanese postcard portraying the new year in Tokyo and Mount Fuji behind Tokyo Tower. Behind Mount Fuji, the first sunrise of the year is portrayed with a red color, representing the Japanese flag.

In the back of her desk, there are three diplomas from Baylor and several awards put in frames, including a Baylor University doctorate of education, an outstanding teaching award and an American Association of Teachers of Japanese award.

Within her office, there are numerous letters from previous students and people she’s met in her life, including a card with a drawing of Baylor’s first Japanese instructor, Yoshihiko Mukoyama.

Prefume said that she was born the year Mukoyama started teaching Japanese and that she feels a connection to him.

The card reads, “I hope that everyone will be blessed with a good and happy life, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most” in Japanese.

In her career, Prefume has mentored a total of 46 students since 2007 to participate in Japanese speech contests. One student won first place at the J.LIVE Talk National Speech Contest at George Washington University; she gifted Prefume the photo of both of them together.

Prefume said many students have come and confided in her about their worries. All these students had some trouble but were still trying their best to study with their university life.

”My door is open whenever you want to chat,” Prefume said.