Mary Murata

Senior Lecturer in Japanese

School of Languages & Linguistics


T: 01904 876685

profile image of tutor with their hands in their pockets turned to the front and smiling

BA (York), MA (Leeds)

I lived and worked in Japan from 1986, returning to the UK in 2000 having spent some 14 years in Japan. During my time there I established and managed a private English school and immersed myself in the language and culture – studying not only language but also tea ceremony, flower arrangement and history.

After completing my MA in 2004 I established my translation business, MHM Translation, specialising in Japanese to English translation. I also began teaching Japanese, working initially for York Adult and Community Education and, from 2006, here at York St. John. Working in both in the translation industry and academic world enables me to understand what employability skills students will need in the world of business.

At present I am responsible for the development and delivery of Japanese language modules of all levels, and also teach practical and business skills on the Translation in the Workplace module. I am actively involved in the university’s "widening participation" programme and regularly go to schools and colleges to give taster sessions etc.

Further Information


I teach Japanese language at all levels and on the Translation in the Workplace module on the following programmes:

  • Languages BA (Hons)
  • TESOL and Japanese BA (Hons)
  • Business Management and Language BA (Hons)
  • Languages programme

I also supervise Study Abroad Projects and Languages Research Projects.

Professional Activities

I work both as a translator and a language educator so my professional interests lie in both areas of applied languages.

I am involved in translation, translator training and CDP for professional translators.  I was on the team developing the MA Applied Linguistics: Translation (delivery from Sept 2015) here at YSJ but I also work closely with the wider translation community. I was the CPD coordinator for J-NET (Japanese Network of the ITI) for three years (2010 – 2013) and served on the committee organising the IJET conference hosted at YSJ in June 2015.

Member of the following professional organisations

  • Chartered Institute of Linguists
  • J-NET (Japanese network of the ITI)
  • YTI (Yorkshire Translators and Interpreters)
  • BATJ (British Association for Teaching Japanese)

External examiner for Leeds Beckett University (Nov 2015 – 18)

I regularly attend Japanese teaching workshops at the Japan Foundation in London. I am also active in the local Japanese community and run the York Japan Society.

Research & Impact

I am working on a collaborative project to research the language needs of students abroad, developing tailor-made materials and a Japanese language text book. My teaching is centred on building communicative skills and encouraging self-expression in the target language. The Study Abroad opportunity offered here is fantastic and I want students to have the best possible experience. The results of my research will prepare them better for life in Japan.

I am passionate about Japanese culture and intercultural understanding. My area of research is on questions of identity and ownership of culture in the international context. I am a founder member of Kaminari UK Taiko Drumming - North Yorkshire's only Japanese-style drumming group.

For four years I worked in collaboration with Paul (Oz) Hardwick and Amina Alyal (both of Leeds Trinity University) combining spoken word performance of tanka poetry with taiko drumming, we appeared at a number of literature festivals across the region. Since 2014, I have been involved with the Yokai Demon Drummers show (a side project of Kaminari UK’s Jared Hardwick) which draws on Japanese ghost stories and mythology for its influence.

I teach occasional taiko drumming workshops and organise the annual Three Counties Taiko drumming event, two days of workshops attended by taiko players from across the north of England. I have travelled all over the UK and to Japan to train with the top taiko players in the world and it is a great honour to be able to pass on the skills I have learnt.

Publications & Performances:


Murata, M. (2015) Angry Taiko J-Net Newsletter

Murata, M. (2014) Reflections on “Quo Vadis? Recent Developments in Intercultural Communication” BATJ newsletter

Murata. M. (2014) Taiko Boom – Japanese drumming in place and motion, by Shawn Bender – Review Japan Society Review

Murata, M. (2014) Using e-portfolios for Japanese beginners BATJ Journal no 15

Millar, L ed, (2013) Cloth and Memory {2} Salts Mill, (Japanese > English translations by M. Murata)

Millar L. (Curator) Transition and Influence (Japanese > English translations of webpages by M. Murata)



Collaborations with Paul (Oz) Hardwick and Amina Alyal (poetry) and Michael Graham (koto and shamisen)

Haiku and Taiko Oct 15th 2011 Clements Hall, York

Haiku and Taiko April 1st 2012 Clements Hall, York as part of York Literature Festival

Tanka and Taiko (poetry and drumming) October 12th 2012  Ilkley Play House as part of  Ilkley Literature Festival 

Tanka and Taiko March 16th 2013 Friargate Theatre York as part of York Literature Festival

Tanka and Taiko Sept 29th 2013 Wakefield Abbey as part of Wakefield Literature Festival,

Tanka and Taiko October 5th 2013 Ilkley Play House as part of Ilkley Literature Festival 2013

Kokoro March 29th 2014 The Chapel, York St John University as part of York Literature Festival


Yokai Demon Drummers performances

Yokai Demon Drummers is an atmospheric show drawing on Japanese ghost stories and mythology for its influence.

Fulford Arms, York, 8th Feb 2014

Resistance Gallery, London, 9th Feb 2014

10th UK Taiko festival, 5th July 2014

Claremont Rd Methodist Church, Wallasey as part of the Double Show Spectacular featuring Kaminari UK Taiko, 6thSeptember 2014

Sat 18th October 2014 as part of the Martial Arts Extravaganza, Bridlington Spa Theatre, Bridlington

Bumper, Hardman Street, Liverpool, 22nd Nov 2014

Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham as part of Yorkshire Cosplay, 4th April 2015

The Pullman, Sunderland as part of the Sunnycon Cosplay Event, 27th June 2015,

Milton Rooms, Malton as part of Matsuri featuring Kaminari UK Taiko, 26th Sept

Whitby Spa Pavilion, Whitby as part of the Bram Stoker Film Festival, 24th October 2015

Heron Theatre, Beetham, Cumbria as part of Matsuri featuring Kaminari UK Taiko, 21st Nov 2015


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