Stanford e-Hiroshima was launched in 2019 with the support of the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education. It is one of SPICE’s regional programs in Japan.
In 2022–23, Stanford e-Hiroshima enrolled 29 students from 19 high schools across Hiroshima Prefecture. The lessons focused on several topics, including diversity, peace education, environmental issues, and entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley. Students Yoshino Dake and Haruka Koga performed at the highest levels in the course and were chosen as this year’s honorees.
SPICE held an online ceremony on August 7, 2023 to honor Dake and Koga. It began with opening comments by Yumiko Ishii, Advisor for Cultural and Educational Affairs at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. She stated,
I believe the future of Japan–U.S. relations is in the hands of the next generation like you [Yoshino Dake and Haruka Koga], and I hope that young leaders like you will continue to strengthen our countries’ friendship as we move forward. I hope that your study with the program has motivated you to consider an international career involving Japan and the U.S.
Ishii’s opening comments were followed by remarks by Mineko Kobayashi and Noriyo Hayashi, Teacher Consultants at the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education. They expressed appreciation for the opportunities that Stanford e-Hiroshima provides students to deepen their critical thinking skills, congratulations to Dake and Koga, and gratitude to course instructor Rylan Sekiguchi.
Sekiguchi followed by introducing his student honorees. He noted that Yoshino Dake is currently a third-year student at Hatsukaichi High School in the city of Hatsukaichi. She is interested in the legal field, and her dream is to help people as an international lawyer. He noted, “Yoshino’s final research project was extremely well researched and formatted, with an impressive list of references in both Japanese and English.” Dake followed by presenting her award-winning research project, titled “What Can Japan Learn from the History of Discrimination Against Immigrants in the U.S.?”
Following Dake’s presentation, Sekiguchi introduced Haruka Koga, who is currently a third-year student at Hiroshima High School. Koga hopes to work in a job related to international peace and equality. Sekiguchi commented, “Throughout the course, Haruka was extremely active on the online Discussion Boards, always sharing extensive, well-researched posts every lesson, to everyone’s benefit. Her participation made the course better for everyone.” Koga then presented her award-winning research project, titled “What We Can Do to Reduce Food Waste.” After their outstanding presentations, both Dake and Koga skillfully fielded questions from the audience, several of which focused on comparisons between U.S. and Japanese society and culture. What became obvious is how much they both came to learn about the importance of perspective-taking.
Throughout the ceremony, I was fully aware that the day prior to the ceremony (August 6th) marked the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In my closing comments, I noted that as a Japanese American with ancestral roots in Hiroshima, this time of the year is always very emotionally challenging for me. During World War II, I had relatives in both the United States and Hiroshima. Seeing the interaction between students and Board of Education staff from Hiroshima and SPICE/Stanford staff and guests from the United States made me feel very hopeful that our two countries will continue to join hands in both challenging as well as happy times and that the future of U.S.–Japan relations remains very bright. I agree with Yumiko Ishii that “the future of Japan–U.S. relations is in the hands of the next generation.” Fortunately, we have future leaders like Yoshino Dake and Haruka Koga at the forefront of the next generation.
SPICE is grateful to Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki for his vision and leadership and Superintendent Rie Hirakawa and High School Guidance Division Director Hiroyuki Ono for their support. SPICE extends its appreciation to Teacher Consultants Mineko Kobayashi and Noriyo Hayashi of the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education for their regular communication with Stanford e-Hiroshima Instructor Rylan Sekiguchi.