Lauren Klaasse

Lauren Klaasse Lauren is a Senior at the College of William and Mary, majoring in Government with a focus on East Asian affairs. Her interest in Japan unknowingly started with her introduction to Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and, later on like most every child of the 1990’s, Power Rangers. The corky Americanized Japanese export later influenced her to pursue achieving a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In middle school, it had transformed to a love of dubbed anime series like Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z along with their respective manga series. However, unlike many “otakus,” an interest in anime never really stuck and instead she took more of a liking to Japan’s video games exported to the states.

From a Government major standpoint, interest in Japan is nearly as political as it is cultural. With China becoming a dominate force in Asia, it is easy to ride off Japan as a “has been” power. Despite this, Japan remains a key ally to the United States and a cultural powerhouse that catches American interest on a daily basis; something China has yet to effectively achieve. She is fascinated as to how a nation that has seen better economic days can prove to be just as relevant today through soft power than it was in the 80’s.