In 2015, SPICE launched Stanford e-Japan, an online course for high school students in Japan. Two key objectives of the course were to introduce the students to U.S.–Japan relations and to also encourage the students to consider studying in the United States. Since then, many Stanford e-Japan alumni have spent time studying at U.S. colleges as exchange students for a year and on summer programs, and several as four-year undergraduates.
One of the challenges for international students to enroll in college in the United States is the cost of tuition. To encourage more Japanese students to consider applying to U.S. universities as full-time undergraduates, Mr. Tadashi Yanai—through the Yanai Tadashi Foundation—has offered competitive four-year scholarships to Japanese high school students who enter top colleges in the United States. Several Stanford e-Japan alumni have received the prestigious and very generous scholarships.
This year, four Stanford e-Japan alumni are recipients of the Yanai Tadashi Scholarships. The Yanai Scholars are scheduled to begin their undergraduate studies in the United States from this fall. They are:
- Yuki Hayashita (Shiba High School, Tokyo): Brown University
- Ryotaro Homma (Kaisei Academy, Tokyo): Yale University
- Hugo Ichioka (Zushi Kaisei High School, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture): Williams College
- Riki Shimizu (Nada High School, Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture): Duke University
Riki Shimizu, who was a student in the fall 2018 Stanford e-Japan course, noted, “Stanford e-Japan was one of the most instructive programs in high school. Back then I did not have enough English ability to fully express my thoughts, but I think it somewhat improved through the courses to the level that I could consider U.S. colleges as an option. Without attending e-Japan, I wouldn’t be able to go to Duke…” Shimizu’s Stanford e-Japan Instructor Waka Brown commented, “I am touched that Riki credits my course for providing him with the inspiration to apply to universities in the United States.” She continued, “The fact that Riki will be going to Duke University, Yuki to Brown University, and Ryotaro to Yale University is exceedingly rewarding to me as one of their former teachers.”
Stanford e-Japan is also generously supported by the Yanai Tadashi Foundation. Stanford e-Japan Instructor Meiko Kotani, who taught the fall 2019 Stanford e-Japan course, is hopeful that more Japanese students will consider applying to U.S. colleges in the future. Upon hearing that her student, Hugo Ichioka, was accepted into Williams College, she stated, “The excitement that was conveyed from his email, which alerted me to the news that he had become a Yanai Scholar, made me reflect upon the importance of working with young students and encouraging them to think ‘outside of the box’ and to apply to universities outside of Japan… during one of my online classes, I had my students meet with high school students in the United States who were enrolled in SPICE’s Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP) and this seemed to have prompted many to consider studying in the United States.”
This type of meaningful exchange between Japanese students and American students has become significant in the college life of Yanai Scholar Daisuke Masuda, a rising junior at Stanford University. When asked what advice he would give to the new Yanai Scholars, Masuda commented, “Interacting with people with diverse backgrounds has always been an integral part of my college life in the United States. The more you know about their culture, the better you can appreciate why they do what they do. I would encourage you to get to know your peers from around the world and learn various approaches to learning, careers, and life in general.”
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 an online course to Chinese high school students on the United States (Stanford e-China Program).