Shari Joy Berman

Shari Joy Berman is an associate professor at Hirosaki University. Hired to inaugurate an English language learning center, she immediately began a medical course there in 2012. In addition to medical and nursing students, the non-credit course has attracted Hirosaki University Hospital doctors as well as visiting international medical students and professionals. Additionally, she has been teaching a major course for freshmen in the university’s Medical Department since 2013. Shari has lived in Japan on and off since the age of 9 and has been active in teaching adults and university students in Japan and the U.S. for four decades. She was president of Tokyo JALT for three years and National Program Chair for two.

She began teaching doctors at Kudanzaka Hospital in 1982 and has been involved in translating/editing medical papers and presentations since that time. She most recently completed a translation of the Japan standards for hemorrhoid treatment with the guidance of a doctor she has been teaching since 1994. In the summer of 2016 she created a short, intensive English course for a group of nursing undergraduates, graduate students, professors, university hospital nursing staff and administrators involved in a study tour of simulations at the John A. Burns School of Medicine of University Hawaii.


In between her time in Tokyo and the move to Hirosaki, she spent more than a decade on the Big Island of Hawaii (Holualoa, above Kona). She was involved in disaster crisis counseling, teaching Japanese and raising high-needs foster children during that time. She served for five years as president of the Kona Beth Shalom congregation. Chanting Torah is one of her hobbies. She officiated at more than a dozen B’nei Mitzvah (Bar/Bat Mitzvah) for both teens and adults. She returned to Kona as a cantorial soloist in 2013 and a lay rabbi to conduct High Holy Day services in 2014 and 2015. While she would never discount the spiritual nourishment aspects, she is most interested in the connection to her roots and preserving/studying a minority culture.


*Photo taken in Shari's yard in Holualoa next to perhaps the world’s only peace pole in English, Hawaiian, Hebrew and Japanese.