Getting to know… Nobuko Yamazaki


A series introducing the Visiting Scholars & Fellows in residence at HYI this year

Nobuko Yamazaki (Research Fellow, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University)
HYI African History and Cultures Training Program Visiting Scholar, 2022-23
“Revisiting African frontier: Diversity of carrier choices in remote/marginalized area in northern Uganda caused by improvement of road and railway infrastructure”

What got you interested in your research topic?

In addition to many conversations with people, I highlight three things that brought me to African Studies. I could trace it back to a question raised by some gaps between pictures of beautiful landscapes and frightful images of armed conflicts shown in broadcasting and classrooms. Books about nature in the continent, African societies, and cultures written by senior graduates of high school also nurtured my curiosity. Then my first trip to Rwanda in 2011 made me realize that what I know is that I know nothing or little at best. All these experiences and the people I met in South Sudan, Uganda, and other places I visited encouraged me to see the wider world while embracing life.

Outside of work, where can we find you?

I like watching movies (mainly comedy and drama) and visiting museums. I enjoyed films at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts and live performances at the local theatres and halls. Walking, jogging, and hiking in the community were also cheerful. Staying in Cambridge brought me outdoors, and it turned out to be a refreshing experience. It was also fascinating to participate in the East Africa Trip during my stay at Yenching Institute although it was part of the work of the training program in African History and Cultures. The trip gave me good insights, and I also thank the Center for African Studies for this arrangement!!

What would you want to do most as a career if you were not in academia?

Once, I dreamt of working as a proofreader in Japanese at a publishing company or as one of the film crew, although I had had no special training yet. What makes me excited is to learn about behind-the-scenes. I respect all personnel engaged in arduous but beautiful moments to create touching and inspiring “stories” at someone’s different life stages with the authors/directors.

Read Dr. Yamazaki’s bio on our website.

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