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International Alumni Focus: Dr. Hisashi Imai

International Alumni Focus: Dr. Hisashi Imai

Hisash ImaiOver the years, graduates of the Fogelman College of Business & Economics have taken positions all around the world. We are always delighted to hear of the accomplishments of our alumni, and will highlight some of these stories in various FCBE outlets.

One of the most successful members of this diaspora has been Dr. Hisashi Imai. He graduated in 1997, after writing an exemplary dissertation on Health Economics under the guidance of Dr. Cyril Chang. He then took a position as an Assistant Professor at Yamanashi Gakuin University, outside Tokyo, Japan. Since then he has earned a second PhD, in Social Epidemiology, from Yamanashi Gakuin University, and has advanced to being Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics. He is a prolific and influential researcher in the economics of epidemiology. Here, Hisashi describes his career path since he left the University of Memphis.

"Thirteen years have already passed since I left Memphis in 1997, with a Ph.D. degree in Business Administration (Economics Concentration) from the Fogelman College of Business & Economics. I became an Assistant Professor in April 1997 in the Department of Business Administration at the Yamanashi Gakuin University (YGU). YGU is located on the west side of Tokyo in the Yamanashi prefecture, where I was born and grew up.

I was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000 and Full Professor in 2006. Two additional events happened during 2006. First, I received a second doctoral degree, this one in medical science from the University of Yamanashi. My dissertation was in the area of social epidemiology and was titled, “Impact of Economic Factors on Mental Stress in Japan.”  Second, I was appointed Chairman of the Department in 2006.

Personally, I got married in 2000. My wife, Seung-Hee Lee, is Korean, and we have no children yet.

When I was in Memphis as a graduate student, I ran the Memphis Marathon three times. Since I came back to Japan, I have kept up my interest in this sport and participated in several marathon races. I have also enjoyed triathlon races since 2000. I usually compete in one or two triathlon races every year.

In 2003, I came back to the U.S. and stayed at the University of Oregon in Eugene with students from my University for about a month. In 2004, I went back to Oregon again; this time staying at Pacific University. I haven’t visited the U.S. in recent years, but have been to China quite often because we have students from China studying at our University each year. I hope to visit the University of Memphis in the near future."

If you wish to contact Dr. Imai, please feel free to do so at If you wish to share your international exploits, please contact John Amis ( – we would be delighted to hear from you.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12