All SPICE News News October 4, 2022

SPICE Recognizes Top Students of the 2021 Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan Programs

Congratulations to the summer 2021 and fall 2021 honorees.
Nahoko Okamoto, Mona Abe, Yamato Obinata, and Scott Watanuki with their instructors
Nahoko Okamoto, Mona Abe, Yamato Obinata, and Scott Watanuki with their instructors Maiko Tamagawa Bacha (second row, center), Irene Bryant (second row, right), SPICE Director Gary Mukai (bottom row, left), and Program Manager Junna Hagiwara (bottom row, right)

Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan is a partnership between SPICE and NPO e-Entrepreneurship, which is led by Yusuke “Ed” Matsuda and Junna Hagiwara. Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan enrolls exceptional high school students from Japan. Top Japanese and American scholars and entrepreneurs provide web-based lectures and engage students in live discussion sessions or “virtual classes” on topics like design thinking, health and welfare, agriculture, environment and energy, and education and technology. The course is offered in English and includes reading assignments, online lectures, discussion board posts, and research projects. Students who successfully complete the course receive a Certificate of Completion from SPICE, Stanford University.

On August 15, 2022, NPO e-Entrepreneurship’s Junna Hagiwara facilitated an online ceremony during which the top two students from the summer 2021 course and the top two students from the fall 2021 were honored. The honorees also gave presentations on their research papers. The honorees and the titles of their research paper topics are:

Summer 2021

  • Yamato Obinata, Shibuya Makuhari Senior High School, Chiba Prefecture; “School Truancy”
  • Scott Watanuki, Iolani High School, Hawaii; “A Cost-Effective Solution for Diagnosing Cataracts in Developing Countries”


Fall 2021

  • Mona Abe, Urawa Akenohoshi Girls’ Senior High School, Saitama Prefecture; “Eliminating Labor Exploitation: Taking an Individual Approach to Ethical Fashion”
  • Nahoko Okamoto, Kikuzato High School, Aichi Prefecture; “LGBTQ+ Inclusivity”


Following each presentation, each honoree fielded questions from an audience of teachers, fellow Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan students, and members of the SPICE/Stanford community. While listening to their presentations and the Q&A period, Hagiwara noted, “It became clear to me why these four students were chosen as the honorees by their instructors. Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan has the objective of empowering students with creative thinking and problem-solving skills with a focus on social innovation to solve global issues. This certainly came through each presentation during the ceremony.”

Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha stated the following about the summer 2021 course. “Throughout the course, the students learned to work together to build a solution for a problem, and I hope that this experience helped them realize that the more different ideas and perspectives they bring in, the more innovative they can be in problem-solving. Both Yamato and Scott not only demonstrated innovation but also excellent leadership in fostering teamwork and collaboration.”

Reflecting on the fall 2021 course, Instructor Irene Bryant noted, “As we navigated another year of the pandemic, I was impressed with how the students were able to empathize with their classmates and step up to help one another during challenging times. It was also great to see them apply new skills and improve how they approached each new topic as the course progressed. Mona and Nahoko, our fall honorees, showed exceptional leadership skills, and their ability to grasp the importance of empathy really showed in their work.”

The fall 2021 course was generously supported by Noriko & Norman Chen and Andrew & Mako Ogawa. The summer 2021 course was generously supported by the Water Dragon Foundation. Bryant, Bacha, and Hagiwara are grateful to Mitsuhito Ikeda, a senior at International Christian University, who contributed his time to both the fall and spring courses.

Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan is one of several online student programs offered by SPICE.

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