In discussions of how Japan can harness Silicon Valley, and how Japan can accelerate its efforts to foster greater innovation and entrepreneurship, the endpoint is often “Japan’s education system needs to change.” However, the people discussing innovation, entrepreneurship, and harnessing Silicon Valley are rarely positioned to be able to take the next step and actively facilitate change. The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) has begun offering an interactive online learning program called Stanford e-Japan to high schools in Japan and plans to expand into the college level. Students not only learn content provided by Stanford scholars, but are also exposed to critical thinking, creative but structured intellectual inquiry, and formulating informed opinions about topics of great relevance to everyday life – all in English. SPICE and the Stanford Silicon Valley – New Japan Project are delighted to collaborate on building new relationships and content to directly begin influencing educational change in Japan. In this SV-NJ Public Forum series, SPICE director Gary Mukai and SV-NJ project leader Kenji Kushida will provide an overview of educational skills needed for the Japanese young people of today and tomorrow, and introduce the Stanford e-Japan program.
Dr. Gary Mukai is the director of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) at Stanford University. Prior to joining SPICE in 1988, he was a teacher in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, and in California public schools. Gary’s academic interests include curriculum and instruction, educational equity, and teacher professional development. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University. His curricular writings for U.S. schools include extensive work on Japan and the Japanese-American experience. In 2003, under his leadership, SPICE established the Reischauer Scholars Program, a distance-learning course on Japan and U.S.–Japan relations for high school students in the United States, and in 2015, SPICE launched Stanford e-Japan, a distance-learning course on the United States and U.S.–Japan relations for high school students in Japan. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese government for the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, especially in the field of education. In 2015, he was selected as the recipient of the Stanford Alumni Award by the Asian American Activities Center Advisory Board. He has been a long-time interviewer of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and member of the JET Alumni Association of Northern California board.
Kenji E. Kushida is a Japan Program Research Scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and an affiliated researcher at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. Kushida’s research interests are in the fields of comparative politics, political economy, and information technology. He has four streams of academic research and publication: political economy issues surrounding information technology such as Cloud Computing; institutional and governance structures of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster; political strategies of foreign multinational corporations in Japan; and Japan’s political economic transformation since the 1990s. Kushida has written two general audience books in Japanese, entitled Biculturalism and the Japanese: Beyond English Linguistic Capabilities (Chuko Shinsho, 2006) and International Schools, an Introduction (Fusosha, 2008). Kushida holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. His received his MA in East Asian studies and BAs in economics and East Asian studies, all from Stanford University.
4:15pm: Doors open 4:30pm-5:30pm: Talk and Discussion 5:30pm-6:00pm: Networking