Announcing Stanford e-Oita, a New Online Course for High School Students in Oita Prefecture, Japan

Visitors from Oita Prefecture visit Stanford for the opening ceremony of the Stanford e-Oita online course for high school students. Visitors from Oita Prefecture visit Stanford for the opening ceremony of the Stanford e-Oita online course for high school students. Governor Katsusada Hirose (center with beige jacket) with Mrs. Hirose and Ambassador Michael Armacost to her right.

SPICE is proud to announce a new partnership with Oita Prefecture in Japan to develop an online course for high school students in Oita Prefecture. The new program, called Stanford e-Oita, will launch in the fall of 2019 and will introduce Japanese high school students to U.S. culture and society. The students will also have an opportunity to improve their English language skills, as the course will be conducted entirely in English.

To commemorate the new online course and partnership between Stanford University and Oita Prefecture, SPICE hosted a ceremony on Stanford campus last week with Oita Governor Katsusada Hirose and a large contingent of Japanese businessmen and government workers from Oita Prefecture, including representatives from the Development Bank of Japan and Japan Semiconductor. Also in attendance was Dr. Michael Armacost, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and an old friend of Governor Hirose.

“I am so honored to be here at the ceremony with my old schoolmate Ambassador Armacost,” commented Governor Hirose during his formal remarks. “I also extend my sincere gratitude to SPICE Director Dr. Mukai for your generous and continued support on this. It is a dream for our students to be able to take classes from Stanford University even in Oita, a regional city in Japan. I hope the agreement this time will be a great opportunity for students of both countries to learn from each other.”

Planning for the Stanford e-Oita online course is still at an early stage, but the main course topics are now being decided. Dr. Mukai moderated a discussion on possible topics for the new course, and several of those in attendance enthusiastically contributed suggestions for consideration. The SPICE staff shared their experiences teaching other online courses such as Stanford e-Japan, Stanford e-Tottori, Stanford e-Hiroshima, and the Reischauer Scholars Program (a course on Japan for U.S. high school students). Oita Prefectural Board of Education’s Keisuke Toyoda, who oversees the Stanford e-Oita online course, also offered his high-priority topics for the program, which includes entrepreneurship, Japan–U.S. relations, region-to-region partnerships, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Several others offered their suggestions, as well.

Ambassador Armacost also made formal remarks, commenting especially on the strong and natural modern partnership between the United States and Japan, but also how U.S.–Japan relations at the governmental level have evolved over time to become a more balanced relationship.

“Back in my days—in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s—the United States used to approach U.S.–Japan relations with a kind of instructional mindset. ‘How can we teach Japan to be more like us?’ I always disagreed with that approach,” shared Ambassador Armacost. “Nowadays, it seems to be much better—a more reciprocal mindset. ‘What can we learn from each other to build a better future?’”

Fittingly, it is in that same spirit of mutual respect, reciprocity, and hope for the future that SPICE and Oita Prefecture launch our new Stanford–Oita partnership and online course.

“I have a lot of expectations for the future,” commented Governor Hirose. “Thank you so much.”

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Stanford e-Oita is one of several regional online courses that SPICE offers to high school students in other countries. In addition, SPICE offers national online courses to high school students in Japan (Stanford e-Japan) and China (Stanford e-China).