Since 2016, SPICE has offered regional online courses to top high school students in Japan. The first regional course was offered to high school students in Tottori Prefecture. Since then, SPICE has increased its regional online course offerings to high school students in Hiroshima Prefecture, Kawasaki City, and Oita Prefecture. These courses present creative and innovative approaches to teaching Japanese high school students about U.S. society and culture and global themes.
All four courses recently finished their 2019–20 term. The course instructors were most pleased with the achievement of their students and thus had an exceedingly difficult time choosing only two honorees for each course. This article provides a brief overview of each course and the naming of the student honorees.
Given Hiroshima Prefecture’s historical ties with the United States, Stanford e-Hiroshima had special significance to the students and its Instructor Rylan Sekiguchi. Some of the course topics included Japanese immigration from Hiroshima to the United States, World War II, and the Honolulu-Hiroshima sister city relationship. Sekiguchi announced the honorees as follows:
Student Honoree: Ryoya Matsuyama
School: Hiroshima Prefectural Sera High School
Project Title: Ocean Acidification in Japan and the U.S.
Student Honoree: Karin Umeshita
School: Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima High School
Project Title: Survey of the Stanford Research Park as Industry-Academia Collaboration System
Kawasaki City is a large industrial city in the greater Tokyo area with a population of approximately 1.5 million, making it Japan’s sixth most populous city. It is one of Japan’s most ethnically diverse cities. Many Japanese multinational companies are based in Kawasaki. Thus, Stanford e-Kawasaki’s main themes of entrepreneurship and diversity were familiar to students in concept, yet unfamiliar to their academic experience. Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha announced the student honorees as follows:
Student Honoree: Shiori Makino
School: Tachibana High School
Project Title: Mindsets of Failure in American Comic Superheroes and Japanese Comic Superheroes
Student Honoree: Yuki Nakata
School: Kawasaki High School
Project Title: The Role of Languages in a Diverse Society: The Case of Having an Official Language in a Company
Oita Prefecture, known for its hot springs, is located in the mountainous island of Kyushu. Having lived and taught on Kyushu for three years, Stanford e-Oita Instructor Kasumi Yamashita felt at home with her students. The focus of the course was the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Yamashita announced the honorees as follows:
Student Honoree: Hozuki Mori
School: Hita High School
Project Title: Education for Students Who Can’t Go to School
Student Honoree: Ken White
School: Oita Uenogaoka High School
Project Title: Immigration in Oita
Tottori Prefecture is the least populous prefecture in Japan and is known for its seafood and nature, including its iconic sand dunes. The first kanji character of Tottori means “bird,” and Stanford e-Tottori Instructor Jonas Edman has helped his students gain a bird’s-eye view of U.S. society and culture with a focus on U.S.–Japan relations. Edman announced the honorees as follows:
Student Honoree: Mai Kageyama
School: Yonago Higashi High School
Project Title: Differences of Body Image Between Japan and the U.S.
Student Honoree: Yumeka Mizuno
School: Yonago Higashi High School
Project Title: Japanese Educational Issues and Their Solutions
The SPICE staff is looking forward to honoring these eight students at a ceremony at Stanford University on March 29, 2021. Each student will be given the opportunity to make a formal presentation in front of members of the Stanford community and the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco.
SPICE also offers online courses to U.S. high school students on Japan (Reischauer Scholars Program), China (China Scholars Program), and Korea (Sejong Korea Scholars Program), and online courses to Chinese high school students on the United States (Stanford e-China Program) and to Japanese high school students on the United States and U.S.–Japan relations (Stanford e-Japan).