Matthew Wilson, 50, is the newly appointed dean of Temple University Japan Campus (TUJ). He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but was drawn to a career in international law centered around Japan after first visiting the country as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1989. He attended TUJ’s law program and was its director until 2009. After a decade of academic leadership back in the U.S., he has returned to his alma mater. Wilson is also widely published on the subject of the Japanese legal system.

1. How did you first get interested in Japan? Growing up, I had no interest in anything international. In fact I tried to stay away from it. Then right before I turned 19, I volunteered to do missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My brother ended up in Minnesota, my sister in Texas and I was sent to Japan — Hokkaido, in fact. I instantaneously fell in love with the culture and knew I wanted to find a way to combine my interest in law with my interest in Japan.

2. Has the country changed much? The past 11 years have been my longest time away from Japan. The biggest change is just the astonishing growth and change. It’s amazing going around Tokyo and saying, “Huh, well that wasn’t there.”