Duncan Ryūken Williams

Duncan Ryūken Williams was born in Tokyo, Japan to a Japanese mother and British father. After growing up in Japan and England until age 17, he moved to the U.S. to attend college (Reed College) and graduate school (Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in Religion). Williams is currently Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures and the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture and former Chair of USC’s School of Religion. Previously, he held the Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at UC Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies for four years. He has also been ordained since 1993 as a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen tradition and served as the Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University from 1994-96. His latest book is American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War (Harvard University Press, 2019).

Updated July 2020

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Kizuna 2020: Bondade e solidariedade nikkeis durante a pandemia da COVID-19

The Karma of Becoming American

In the section under COVID-19 safety precautions, the Department of Homeland Security letter addressed to me mandated facemasks and banned guests for my newly re-scheduled naturalization ceremony. Given fears that the virus might serve as a pretext for a complete shutdown of immigration and naturalization, it was a huge relief to find out that the ceremony would take place at all. The original date for the ceremony had been scheduled for March 19, the very day that California governor Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

I had always imagined this conclusion of a long path towards citizenship would take place ...

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