On March 29, 2021, a virtual award ceremony was held to recognize the 2020 honorees of SPICE’s regional programs in Japan. These students performed at the highest levels in their courses as determined by Stanford e-Hiroshima Instructor Rylan Sekiguchi, Stanford e-Kawasaki Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha, Stanford e-Oita Instructor Kasumi Yamashita, and Stanford e-Tottori Instructor Jonas Edman.
Yumiko Ishii, Advisor for Cultural and Educational Affairs, Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, made opening remarks that encouraged the honorees to critically consider lessons learned in their youth. She noted, “One thing that I believe we all have in common regardless of time, place, or the way we study is that whatever we learn when we are young will have a big impact on your life and future. It may be hard for you to understand this right now. However, as you get older, you will come to realize it’s true.” She also encouraged them to continue their studies and to work “to promote mutual understanding, cooperation, and friendship between Japan and the United States and the world.”
Ishii’s encouraging remarks were followed by introductions of the student honorees by their instructors Sekiguchi, Bacha, Yamashita, and Edman. The honorees then gave research presentations focused on a wide range of topics including Japanese educational issues, the role of languages in diverse societies, students who cannot physically attend school, immigration, industry-academic collaboration, mindsets and failure, ocean acidification, and the differences of body image in Japan and the United States. Each honoree was recognized with a plaque.
Professor Rie Kijima (PhD, Stanford ’13) of the University of Toronto commented, “It was an honor to participate in the awards ceremony for SPICE’s regional programs in Japan. The honorees from Hiroshima, Kawasaki, Oita, and Tottori are bright, eager, and motivated students from Japan.” Kijima has attended many SPICE ceremonies and she noted that this year, “many students employed a comparative lens in their presentations. Examples include the comparative analysis of the entrepreneurial ecosystem between Japan and Silicon Valley, a critical analysis of immigration policies in Japan and European nations, and perceptions of diversity as represented in body images in the U.S. and Japan. This particular analytical approach requires a high degree of critical thinking skills. It was truly wonderful to see their presentations!”
The SPICE instructors would like to express their gratitude to their key contacts—in particular Rie Hirakawa and Rika Ryuoh (Hiroshima), Tsuyoshi Inoue and Hisashi Katsurayama (Kawasaki), Keisuke Toyoda and Hironori Sano (Oita), and Hitoshi Yamamoto and Takuya Fukushima (Tottori). They would also like to thank Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, Kawasaki Mayor Norihiko Fukuda, Oita Governor Katsusada Hirose, and Tottori Governor Shinji Hirai for their continued support of these regional programs.