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Student of the Month: Tomoko Kida

Tomoko Kida (she/her) is a second-year M.T.S. student at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Tomoko holds M.A. with an Old Testament focus (Lamentations) from Tokyo Christian University, Japan. Tomoko is originally from Japan. Her passion for collective trauma healing came from two experiences: she served in disaster relief work for the triple disaster (earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear power plant accidents) in her hometown, Fukushima, and has been involved in the Northeast Asia Reconciliation Initiative of Duke Center for Reconciliation since 2020. She also facilitated a public elementary school partnership between Japan and South Korea as a teacher for five years in Japan and the Zakar (Hebrew: remember) study group, which focused on Japanese Church history during WWII and its consequences at Tokyo Christian University.


What are you studying and why? How do you imagine yourself using that in your call?

My focus is collective trauma healing. Through the M.T.S. program at Duke Divinity School, I have learned about trauma and holistic health care through Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative courses. Interdisciplinary study, which is necessary to address trauma, will be beneficial to me because interdisciplinary is a key to contextualizing Western theories to Japanese contexts. I have also learned the Conflict Transformation and Restorative circle models of healing through the Center for Reconciliation courses. This academic expertise in peacebuilding is integral for my work in Japan, where retributive justice is more acceptable to the Japanese culture than holistic restoration. In the short term, I am pursuing a Ph.D., and in the long term, I aim to provide a faith-based collective trauma education in Japan. I hope to collaborate with Asian countries, have strong international connections, and work for minorities in Japan and the world.


What has been your biggest learning experiences?

Duke gave me two significant learning experiences. First, I noticed that arts––embodiment (The Word Became Flesh) and practice–– are necessary for commemoration and trauma care through taking Theology and The Arts Initiative courses. Because trauma happens not only in the mind but also in the body, both the traumatized individual person and their community need embodied practices in their recovery journey. Second, through having conversations with a Latina clinical nutritionist, trauma healing affirmed my cultural background, which has been influenced by Chinese herbal medicine. Regaining agency is a core of trauma healing, and it is also a core nature of Chinese herbal medicine that empowers human self-healing power. Herbal medicine supports the holistic health balance and harmonical association with each organ. This idea is not just indigenous but also supports my trauma studies.


What has your experience been with PANAAWTM?

I attended the PANAAWTM conference in San Diego in 2022. Encountering various and abundant Asian Christian women scholars, leaders, and students encouraged me very much. I am grateful for warm and cheerful conversations and friendship with them.


What brings you hope and joy?

I love to hike, and I love music; I play the piano and ukulele, and like to sing while I play. I am rejuvenated by walking around in beautiful nature and love to relax by enjoying music. Any kind of creative activity like painting, crafting, or cooking gives me a space to reflect on my journey and long for hope. Listening to others’ stories and learning about different cultures and histories by having regional foods, listening to friends’ stories, and visiting museums are my joy.


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