Dr. Kazumi Shigesako, a professor of English at Hijiyama University in Hiroshima, Japan, was selected to be the recipient of the annual BioKyowa Visiting Japanese Scholar award.
BioKyowa, Inc., an international company with a manufacturing plant in Cape Girardeau, sponsors a trip to Southeast each year for the awardee to study at the Center for Faulkner Studies.
Shigesako is the author of several entries in "A Reader's Encyclopedia of William Faulkner," a book that was published by the William Faulkner Society of Japan. Shigesako also gave a lecture on campus called "Counterpoint as a Unifying Principle: Faulkner's 'The Wild Palms' and Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Technique."
"BioKyowa Scholars spend a week or ten days here typically, and they can use our Brodsky collection for research," said Dr. Robert Hamblin, a professor of English at Southeast and the director of the Center for Faulkner Studies. "Sometimes they visit classes or give a lecture."
The Brodsky collection in the Center for Faulkner Studies is a collection of materials donated to Southeast by Louis Daniel Brodsky.
The collection makes Southeast one of the four largest repositories of Faulkner's work in the world, according to Hamblin.
"The existence of our center and the visits by scholars, it's all because of the Brodsky collection," Hamblin said.
"It includes a lot of first edition Faulkner novels," said Dr. Christopher Rieger, a professor of English at Southeast and Assistant Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies. "A lot of them are signed by Faulkner. Those are the most valuable things because they have a lot of value to collectors."
The collection also includes letters written to and from Faulkner, poetry Faulkner wrote before becoming a novelist, handwritten manuscripts and early editions of short stories and novels. There is also a collection of film scripts Faulkner worked on as a screenwriter in Hollywood and a large collection of photographs of Faulkner and his family.
"Scholars come here to do research," Hamblin said. "I ask them to do a lecture, but the other things they do are optional. I try to give them as much time as they need in our research collection because that's what they're really here for."
According to Hamblin, there are about 200 members of the William Faulkner Society of Japan, which is more members than the American society.
"There is a great interest in Faulkner in Japan," Hamblin said. "He visited Japan in 1955, and when he visited he became very popular. The Japanese admire his work.
"He was very polite. He was the kind of person the Japanese respect. I think Faulkner's personality impressed them. They liked him, they liked his work, and so since that time there has been a great interest, even then but certainly since then, in Faulkner's work in Japan."
When selecting the year's BioKyowa scholar, staff from the center receive help from the William Faulkner Society of Japan in distinguishing between potential scholars for the award.
"The officers of the William Faulkner Society of Japan identify candidates that could benefit from coming here," Hamblin said. "They recommend scholars to us and then we make the selection. That society is a great aid to us."