Michael Burns received his B.A. in History and Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Kansas in 2019. As an undergraduate, he had the opportunity to study intensive language in Japan for a total of eight months, spending four in Nagoya and two months each in Kyoto and Hakodate. After graduating, he worked for two years as a coordinator for international relations in the international ski resort town of Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan. His work involved everything from translating local environmental ordinances to helping foreign residents navigate the immigration system, which was a unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of modern governmental bureaucracy.
Michael’s undergraduate thesis, which was about the construction and deployment of local history in Nagoya, inspired his enduring interest in early modern urban history. He plans to expand on this interest at Yale by exploring how social relationships shaped the development of urban space in early modern Japan. Although he is excited to return to school, Michael is admittedly almost equally as excited for the opportunity to attend metal concerts again. That is, whenever he can afford the tickets, of course.