Local High School Club Provides Home for All

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.

Christopher Miller IMG_5981

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.

Michael 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.

Professor Documents the World


Dr. Steven McGuire is a professor at Muskingum University who was asked by the school to teach a subject he had never even studied, anthropology.

“They needed the course taught and I always thought it was interesting stuff so when they hired me I asked if I could have a year to learn it because I like to learn about other societies and the little bit I had read seemed really interesting,” said McGuire.
McGuire, who was originally a sociology-based professor, found a new passion in anthropology. His love for anthropology soon stemmed out of the classroom and became a hobby.

McGuire has now traveled to multiple places including China, Northern Europe, Norway, and Costa Rica. Doing this he has combined his love for anthropology and the study of people with film making and started making his own documentaries and education based films.

He uses some of his films in his classes he teaches, one specifically being called A Day in the Life. “A Day in the Life took a lot of stories that interested me and that I used in one of my classes called Intro to American Society and put them together, there’s a lot of outsourcing in the world today, some people in Las Vegas wear adult diapers because they don’t want to be pulled back from their machine,” said McGuire.

McGuire’s office showcases some awards he has won for films. In 2013 he won an award at the Cinema Verde Film Festival.

The type of anthropology work Dr. McGuire typically deals with is known as cultural anthropology, which (according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary) typically deals with human culture especially with respect to social structure, language, law, politics, religion, magic, art, and technology.

Another film McGuire created focused on Costa Rica a country that has no army yet is still attacked. This film is called 1948 and Counting.

1948 and Counting won an international film award for the 2013 Cinema Verde Festival. Cinema Verde is a film festival with a mission to provide environmental education to the public through the arts according to cinemaverde.org. McGuire and his film won the “Peace Award” during the event.

By making films that have topics that teach and entertain them at the same time, McGuire has found a way to relate to his students. He’s currently finishing up a film about Clark Kent who is better known as Superman. “What if Clark Kent had psychological issues instead of always having an external enemy what about if he had internal demons like depression or abandonment,” said McGuire.

He’s planning on the film being about six minutes long and using lots of Superman comic strips.

McGuire believes that anthropology and his hobby of video making go hand in hand. “The travel helps and it gives me a lot to talk about it class,” said McGuire.

McGuire is also working on a film that’s about corporations. “I think unfair advantages and they treat people badly so I’m comparing them to psychopathic monsters some people have already done this I just think I’m doing it better but I’m comparing corporations to King Kong or Godzilla,” said McGuire.

Despite traveling to many places already McGuire still has been places he would like to visit one being Japan, Montreal and Quebec City.

McGuire discussed how he doesn’t just make films and do anthropology studies for his work but because he enjoys it.

He enjoys learning about the decline of community and many of his hobbies give him chances to learn more about this.

McGuire plans on attending Cuba for a convention this fall. “I just put in for a grant, I’m going to go in November for a conference and I want to go early and shoot some video there and that would be great to have for the anthropology class and also for another class called Social Change,” said McGuire.

McGuire offers classes every semester at Muskingum University.  Look under Steve McGuire on YouTube to find some of his films or on International Movie Data Base (IMDB.com).