Faculty Profile: Conrad Zagory

As a Japanese exchange student and new addition to the Record Staff I had the pleasure to interview the new adjunct for Japanese, Professor Conrad Zagory. Zagory, or Konrad for Antiochians, lived in Japan for twenty years and hence speaks Japanese fluently, including the dialect of Kochi Prefecture and I can tell you that’s pretty cool.
He was first introduced to the language as a student at Antioch College when he spent his exchange year at Waseda University, one of the most famous universities in Japan, from 1967 to 1968. His stay in Japan sparked an interest in the language and by the time he left he was able to understand basic Japanese. After returning to America he entered Stanford University where he majored in Asian languages and acquired his Ph.D. He later learned more about the Japanese language and literature.
When he went back again in 1972 he took intensive Japanese lectures in Tokyo before moving to Kochi Prefector in the south of Japan to teach English full time at the Koshi Medical school. There he fell in love with the culture of Japanese traditional pottery called Odo-yaki, he said.
Unsurprisingly he fell in love with a Japanese woman and got married in 1980. His first baby girl, Aya was born soon after in 1982 followed by Ninsei in 1985.
As an alumnus living in town he has a soft spot for the college. So when Antioch struggled to find a Japanese professor for 2007, he gladly accepted the offer to teach. “I am heart sick about the possibility of the college closing. If it does suspend operations, I do not think it will re-open. And if it does, I do not think it will be anything like the Antioch we know,” he said sadly.
In my short time here I got to share Zagory’s love for Antioch and I hope my experience here will be as precious as his in Japan. Chatting with Professor Zagory was engaging, and he has a lot of knowledge to share. So I suggest the next time you run into him in the hallway you talk with him, whether you are interested in Japan or not.