Oct. 21, 2022

In Memoriam: Xiao Jie Yang, Faculty of Arts

Campus flag on Swann Mall lowered Oct. 21
Xiao Jie Yang

The Faculty of Arts is mourning the loss of Dr. Xiao Jie Yang, long-serving University of Calgary professor in the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Culture, who passed away on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, at the age of 63, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Born in Tianjin, China, Yang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese from Beijing University in 1982 and received his Doctor of Letters from Kyoto University in 1989, focused on classical Japanese literature.

He married the love of his life, E-Mei Wang, in 1988, and they immigrated to Canada in 1990 where Yang spent the next 32 years in education and research for the University of Calgary. His research focused on the modernizing and digitization of classical Japanese literature, Emakimono (painted handscrolls), and medieval military literature.

Yang made a huge impact at the University of Calgary, authoring several books and research papers and creating an international partnership with Japanese universities to create a cultural immersion program with UCalgary in 2005.

In 2014, he was the recipient of the Faculty of Arts Award for Leadership in Internationalization. In 2016, he was greatly honoured to receive the Order of the Rising Sun Award from the Government of Japan for furthering mutual understanding between Japan and Canada through his contributions to Japanese language studies.

Yang would not consider retirement, as he felt such immense joy from teaching his students, many of whom could share a story about how he made a positive and lasting impression in their life.

He had an amazing curiosity for life and enjoyed every moment with his infectious smile, calm nature, and bright optimism.

Yang will be lovingly remembered by his wife E-Mei, son Dylan (Janet and future grandson), daughter Catrin (Brandon), sister Qiujie, mother Xiuying, and father Wenxun. He will be dearly missed by his students, friends, and colleagues.

A Celebration of Life will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Chapel of The Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Calgary), on Friday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Mr. Yang’s service, streamed live on the day of the service.

Memorial tributes may be made directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, c/o Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 1331 - 29 Street N.W., Calgary, Alta., T2N 4N2 (1-866-412-4222.

In living memory of Xiao Jie Yang, a tree will be planted in the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 Centre Street North, Calgary.