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Tadashi Okudaira

Doctor of Education

Professor Tadashi Okudaira was born in a fishing village in the Donan region of Hokkaido prefecture, Japan, an area where he has continued to live and work. However, he did leave his native prefecture to attend Tohoku University at Sendai in Miyagi prefecture. He received his Bachelor of Science degree there in 1958 and a Master of Science degree two years later. Both of his degrees are in the field of Geography.

After graduation, Professor Okudaira moved to Hakodate, Hokkaido, the sister city to Halifax - to take a post as the geography teacher at Hokkaido Hakodate West Senior High School. In 1962, he shifted to university teaching by taking a post as Lecturer in Social Science at the Hakodate National College of Technology. His acceptance of a position at the Hokkaido University of Education at Hakodate in 1969 would affect not only his career but that of faculty and students at Saint Mary's University as well. He progressed through the academic ranks at his institution becoming a full professor in 1980. The Hokkaido University of Education is an institution with five campuses throughout the prefecture. Professor Okudaira served as a Councillor representing Hakodate on the University Council between the years 1989 and 1993. After this service, he took the position of Chairman of the International Exchange Committee. In this capacity, he had to coordinate academic (student and faculty) exchanges with universities in Australia and China, in addition to those with Canada (St. Mary's University and the University of Calgary). In 1994, he was appointed Dean of the Hakodate campus, a position that would be comparable to Chancellor of a college in the Canadian context. In all of his administration positions, Professor Okudaira has been a friend of St. Mary's. The faculty and student exchange program between our two universities has flourished with his work on it behalf. Saint Mary's University is building a fine reputation for Japanese studies and much of this success is directly attributable to Professor Okudaira's efforts; for that we are most grateful. A member of the second group of exchange students, Keiko Aoki, has returned to Saint Mary's this year for a two-year period as a Visiting Scholar assisting Dr. Harold McGee (Anthropology) in some of his research.

Professionally, Professor Okudaira has concentrated his research efforts on the geography, sociology and ethnology of rural communities of the Donan peninsula of Hokkaido. He has numerous publications in Japanese on such topics. Also, he has encouraged research in this area by scholars at Saint Mary's University and has joint publications with Dr. Hugh Millward (Geography) and Dr. Gene Barrett (Sociology). More broadly, his research is concerned with fishing communities worldwide and he has participated in research projects in Australia, Canada and the United States. His research grants are often term-based and have included contributions by Saint Mary's University professors from the disciplines of Anthropology, Geography, History, Marketing, Political Science, Religious Studies and Sociology. He has served on the Council of the Japanese Geographical Association (1987-1989) and as Chairman of the Hokkaido Geographical Association (1996-1998).

Although busy with his administrative and academic duties, he has found the time to work actively with the Hakodate-Halifax Friendship Association, which is concerned with the maintenance of the sister-city agreement. He is presently President of that Association. Furthermore, he is also currently the Chairman of Hokkaido Historical Towns Planning Committee, a post he has had since 1995. His wife, sons and two daughters have visited Halifax previously. One of his daughters, Namika, was a member of the exchange student program with Saint Mary's. He has been known to play a very good game of golf.