Zanesville High School Japanese Anime and Culture Club brings Together All Types of Students.
The Zanesville High School Japanese Anime and Culture Club (JACC) has become a home to students who previously identified as shy. “JACC is a good thing to help the kids that aren’t so social, that are just nervous. I have a really bad stutter, if this was me two years ago I wouldn’t be doing this interview,” said ZHS senior and JACC member Michael Campbell.
Christopher Miller, a history teacher at Zanesville High School founded JACC six years ago in 2011. Miller has been a fan of Japanese anime since he was young. “I’ve always liked Japanese anime so I guess that was kind of the start for me, even when I was little I watched things like Voltron and that kind of got me hooked,” said Christopher Miller.
When students came to Miller in 2011 and asked him to start the club he agreed under one condition, the club couldn’t focus solely on anime but also on Japanese culture.
JACC host many events throughout the year and has 40 members this school year. “We gave things like origami night where we do complete cultural things. What people get the misconception of in this school is that it’s (JACC) all about anime and nerd stuff,” said Campbell.
Aside from being an anime fan Miller is also a history buff and that’s one reason he wished JACC to study culture. “When I was in college I started taking more classes in East Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese history got my undergrad and that was very interesting to me,” said Miller.
After Miller received his undergrad he went on to get his masters degree in East Asian History from John Carroll University. Miller was interested in getting his doctorate degree so he applied for a teaching job in Japan through the JET program (Japanese Exchange and Teaching).
“I went to Detroit to interview and they must have liked me because they chose me to go and I taught English at a Japanese high school for three years,” said Miller.
Miller’s love for anime and experiences in Japan, give him the ability to lead JACC and share his passion. Campbell talked about how before joining the club he was shy and not very social but since joining things have changed.
“It’s just a good place for people to talk and mingle. No one’s going to make fun of you,” said Campbell.
This upcoming Summer JAAC is taking 15 students to Japan for nine days to first hand experience the culture.