Jim is a native of northwestern Indiana who grew up on a farm. After a brief stint in journalism (Minneapolis Tribune), he spent his career teaching Japanese history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana Wesleyan University, and (for 30 years) Wittenberg University in Ohio. This spring, he also taught at Dartmouth, as a visiting professor. He moved to Chicago a year ago, on retiring from Wittenberg, to be near his Chicago children; he also has a son and daughter-in-law in Tokyo. In March of 2008 he joined Lake Steet Church.