Thomas Mason Jr. is a specialist in international education, Chinese and Japanese language pedagogy, and social-entrepreneurship. Mr. Mason is a cum-laude graduate of Cornell University’s Department of Asian Studies where as an undergraduate he concentrated on Japanese studies and anthropology (particularly ethnographic studies and urban anthropology).  His honors thesis, entitled “Japanese Society and Trains”, was a study of the train’s influence on Japanese culture from Meiji to the late twentieth century.  As an undergraduate he completed Cornell’s FALCON (Full-year Asian Language CONcentration) program in Japanese and later served as a teaching assistant and program coordinator.

As a graduate student his main interest was Chinese and Japanese pedagogy.  His affiliation with FALCON and Cornell’s Japanese Teacher Training Workshop has been an essential element in his study of Japanese pedagogy.  Mr. Mason also worked in the Cornell East Asia Program and as an administrator in the Department of Asian Studies.

Mr. Mason, who speaks Japanese and Chinese, taught high school in Massachusetts for several months before becoming a high school teacher in Japan where he was given his own homeroom — a rare position for a foreigner to attain. He later went on to hold the rank of assistant professor at Bunsei University of Art where he taught for four years before taking a leave from academia to enrich his understanding of greater Asia by immersing himself in Chinese culture and society. While at Bunsei University Mr. Mason was a participant-observer in the intense campaign to re-elect Michiko Ueno, the only sitting LDP female in Tochigi, to her Senate seat. She won and is now a member of the national Diet in Tokyo. It is thought that Mr. Mason is the only foreigner in recent history to have been actively included in a key political figure’s center circle during an election.

In 2008 Mr. Mason was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Taiwanese government to study at National Taiwan University. He now resides in Shanghai.

From 2003 Mr. Mason has been Executive Director of the Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange (ALLEX), a non-profit organization that establishes and enhances Chinese and Japanese language programs at universities throughout the United States.

Mr. Mason’s hobbies are studying Chinese and Japanese, cycling, photography, and learning the names of NHK announcers (Japan’s national broadcasting network). When he is not in the air above the Pacific, he spends his time between Lunenburg, MA,  and Shanghai, China.

ALLEX Foundation

Thomas Mason Jr. is President and Executive Director of the ALLEX Foundation. For more information on this non-profit organization, please visit www.allex.org.