Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka


Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka, a Franco-Japanese from New York,  sees hope for Japan

Born of a French mother and Japanese father but raised in New York, Nathalie Leiko Ishizuka is of three cultures.  Today, due to the Japanese crisis, she desires to return to Japan and be with the Japanese people.  She, her husband, and her two young children (5 and 7) are hoping to make that possible as of September 2012.

Seishin Joshi Gakuin: A traditional Japan

At age 16, Nathalie enrolled as the first high school student from the United States to attend the all-Japanese traditional girl school, Seishin Joshi Gakuin.  There in the most traditional of Japanese schools, Leiko was initiated to the Japanese language, Japanese mythology, and Japanese brush painting during a four month exchange.

Mitsubishi Communications:  A Peek at Office Life

A following short summer internship at Mitsubishi Communications, gave her a peek into Japanese office life.  Like the Belgian author Amelie Nothomb in Stupeur and Tremblements Nathalie Ishizuka served tea in the morning, arrived early, and spent much of her day asking how she might be of use.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution :  Original Research

At age 22,  Nathalie Ishizuka wrote a 240 page Summa Cum Laude thesis at Amherst College on Article 9 of the 1946 Japanese Constitution.  She received the Doshisha Asian Studies Award and written praise from Colonel Charles Kades, one of the Constitution’s founding fathers.  Ishizuka was fortunate to benefit from Kades’ guidance as well as input from Professor Ray Moore, Professor Donald Robinson, Jim Sutherland, and Terusuke Terada.

Keio University: A Struggle with Language

Nathalie attended Keio for a six month exchange to better speak the language.

Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy: Psychology and International Affairs

While at the Fletcher School, Ishizuka wrote “Lessons from Preventive Health to Preventive Diplomacy,” winning an Eisaku Sato Memorial Essay Award.  Ishizuka was invited to the U.N. University in Tokyo.  During this time she also applied a hypothesis about how the affect fear influences economics and went to Berkeley for a year to work with Oliver Williamson (Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2009) to explore a paper she had presented at the Academy of Management.

Returning to Japan to be with the Japanese

Today at age 42, Nathalie Ishizuka wishes to return to Japan in a sign of solidarity with the Japanese people.  She hopes to work with writers, thinkers, artists, deciders and those who hold the Japanese traditions and spirit dear.

While Nathalie’s own father’s mentor, Dr. Taro Takemi, a long time President of the Japanese Medical Association, had once told her father, Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, “Not to return to Japan,” because the future was the West, Nathalie Ishizuka believes this is no longer true.  She and Dr. Paul Briot, a Belgian essayist, see great hope in Japan.

Nathalie Ishizuka

They will share their optimism with their Japanese friends in an article they wish to publish in Japanese print in the next few months.

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