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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Alanna Crotty ‘23 discusses Japanese art passion

Through taking Asian studies courses, Alanna Crotty ’23 has found her passion for Japanese art. (Photo courtesy of Alanna Crotty ’23)

What first began as an interest in K-pop, anime and manga has become a field of study for Alanna Crotty ‘23. Now, Crotty is the first Lafayette student to graduate with a National Honors Society recognition in Japanese Studies.

Before deciding on her major, Crotty found that she was drawn to Japanese art styles found in manga and anime. 

“I jumped from major to major a lot because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I also transferred here,” Crotty said. “I started taking Japanese, and I was like, ‘this is fun, I can roll with this.’”

When Crotty was introduced to traditional Asian art in her classes, she discovered her interest blooming. 

“She was very shy at the beginning. And she was not very talkative or personal from the beginning anyway, but she attended class regularly, and she participated,” professor of Asian studies and language and literary studies Naoko Ikegami said. “She’s just been a good student so far.”

However, Crotty found that there weren’t many classes that related to what she wanted to study.

“There’s not a lot of classes on Japanese … besides the language and a few art classes, but most of them are just kind of general,” Crotty said. “There’s not a lot of specific Japanese classes.”

Ikegami echoed Crotty’s sentiments on a lack of specified Japanese classes in the Asian studies program. 

“I don’t know how many people know that Lafayette has a Japanese program, because we are not a big program at all. But constantly, we have a student who wants to learn Japanese, especially these days, the students who are interested in anime or manga or cosplay,” Ikegami said. “It’s difficult to continue as a Japanese [student], but I don’t know, it’s really up to the enrollment. However, we don’t have that kind of [effect] on the enrollment. Sometimes it’s very big or sometimes very low.”

Crotty continues to study Japanese art by following Japanese artists on social media.

“I follow a lot of Japanese artists on Instagram and Twitter. I also watch a lot of YouTube videos of Japanese artists … and their techniques. I was introduced to a couple of Japanese artists in the classes that Lafayette does offer, particularly Professor Furniss’ classes and some books that she’s recommended, and looked into them more on my own as I was very interested in them. Learning about one artist kind of set off a chain reaction of other artists who either inspired or were inspired by their work or the more traditional schools of Japanese painting,” Crotty wrote in a follow-up email.

However, after college, Crotty is not sure if she wants to pursue her study of Japanese art further or other endeavors.

“I might go to law school. It could be anything, I don’t know. I also want to go abroad and either teach English or do something like that,” Crotty said.

Ikegami encouraged students like Crotty to consider teaching English in countries such as Asia, Japan and China.

“I really recommend all kinds of other students, if you go to study abroad, go to the place where you haven’t been and then if you have strong guts and courage … go to the place where there’s a different type of the language, a different type of the culture there. You can learn a lot,” Ikegami said.

Despite her uncertainty regarding her future studies, Crotty, along with Ikegami, hopes Lafayette will offer more courses that allow students to dive deep into their academic interests.

“Asian studies kind of seems like a major that you don’t know what to do with. I still don’t know what I want to do with it,” Crotty said. “But if you’re interested in something, you should try and dive into that as much as you can, and you’ll find something you can do about it.”

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About the Contributor
Kristen Vincent
Kristen Vincent, Assistant Culture Editor

Kristen Vincent ‘26 is an English Major and a Government and Law Minor. Aside from writing and editing for the newspaper, she is an EXCEL scholar, Writing Associate, LEO, and Secretary of the English Club. When she is not critiquing the latest biopic about a musician with a legendary past, she can be found working on her latest poem or rustling through the bargain bin at your local record store.

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