Stanford Alumni Weekend (October 24–27, 2019) Feature: Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki & SPICE’s Dr. Mariko Yoshihara Yang and a New Online Course for MBA Students in Japan

California-Japan Governors’ Symposium education panel, Stanford University California-Japan Governors’ Symposium Panelists (left to right): Dr. Mariko Yoshihara Yang, Dr. Rie Kijima, Okayama Governor Ryuta Ibaragi, Oita Governor Katsusada Hirose, Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki. Rylan Sekiguchi

Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki (MBA, 1995) and Dr. Mariko Yoshihara Yang (MA, 1995, PhD, 2000) participated on an education-focused panel at Stanford University on August 26, 2019. The panel was part of the California-Japan Governors’ Symposium that was co-hosted by the U.S.-Japan Council and the Silicon Valley Japan Platform, which is co-chaired by Professor Emeritus Daniel Okimoto, founding director of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. One of the objectives of the education panel was to encourage educational collaborations between Japan and California.

Keeping many of the key discussion points from the education panel in mind, Yang recently conceptualized and launched a SPICE online course for MBA students at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima (PUH) and other universities in Hiroshima. The course is called the Stanford-Hiroshima Collaborative Program on Entrepreneurship (SHCPE) and is offered under the leadership of Professor Katsue Edo, Hiroshima Business and Management School (HBMS), PUH.

Yuzaki shaped the rationale for the course. Yuzaki stated, “We are now facing times when it is critical to design a new social system for accelerating the growth of Hiroshima Prefecture. In this environment, the government of Hiroshima is promoting various plans for enhancing a creative region and developing the economy and society of Hiroshima.” This sentiment has prompted Yuzaki to stay in close touch with his Stanford mentor, Okimoto, and involved with the Silicon Valley Japan Platform. Yuzaki continued, “To achieve this goal, challenging students through education is one of the most important issues in Hiroshima. The Stanford-Hiroshima Collaborative Program on Entrepreneurship established by the HBMS at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima and SPICE will deliver a very valuable program which offers knowledge and wisdom of the practitioners of business in Silicon Valley, which is an intense area of innovation near Stanford University. It will also foster entrepreneurship and management for the next generation of leaders, who will contribute to the further development of Hiroshima and Japan.”

SHCPE Instructor Yang has noted that the course “provides a unique opportunity for the MBA students in Hiroshima to connect and interact with Japanese entrepreneurs, professionals, and scholars of Silicon Valley in a virtual setting. SHCPE’s speaker lineup includes Stanford scholars as well as founders of a software startup, a social networking organization, and an educational non-profit as well as venture capitalists, a legal expert, and a policy advisor. Together with these guests, the students explore and analyze Silicon Valley’s ecosystem and think critically about entrepreneurial competencies.”


Dr. Yang with MBA students at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima. Dr. Yang (on screen) with MBA students at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima.

Dr. Yang (on screen) with MBA students at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima. Photo credit: Kazue Hiura, PUH.    


In November, Yang will be visiting Hiroshima to meet with Yuzaki as well as PUH President Ken-ichi Nakamura. Yang will have the chance to share her initial assessment of the course with Yuzaki and Nakamura, who has emphasized the importance of inviting lecturers from universities outside of Japan to work with PUH’s MBA students in order to underscore the importance of adding global perspectives to the curriculum. Nakamura has stated, “For the students to step forward into the globalizing world, they must feel and experience the real challenges of an increasingly interdependent world and this course is providing exactly that.” Yang will also be offering the final SHCPE class in person and will meet her students in person for the first time.

SHCPE is an example of “Engagement beyond our university,” which is one of the four key areas in Stanford’s long-range plan and a timely topic of consideration during the upcoming Stanford Alumni Weekend. Yang has noted, “SHCPE utilizes knowledge and methodologies developed at Stanford University. In the first session, students were introduced to techniques and mindset of Design Thinking by interviewing, ideating, and prototyping for their partners. Through the eight-week course, the students will not only acquire new knowledge on Silicon Valley’s ecosystem, but also challenges themselves to hone their analytical skills, nurture entrepreneurial creativity, and develop a Growth Mindset.” This resonated in Nakamura who reflected, “The Stanford-Hiroshima Collaborative Program on Entrepreneurship was developed to be an opportunity for our students to learn the ways of thinking taught by the innovators of Silicon Valley and Stanford University. We are confident that this will be an exciting program which will contribute not only to promote academic research but also to promote business practices in Hiroshima.”

As SPICE continues to strive to make Stanford scholarship accessible to students not only in the United States but also in other countries, SPICE looks forward to continuing its partnership with PUH and other universities in Hiroshima for many years to come, and building upon lessons learned from the inaugural SHCPE course. Yuzaki and Yang crossed paths during their graduate school years at Stanford and Yang reflected that “despite the passage of many years since the completion of our programs, it has been very much an honor to reconnect and work with fellow Stanford alumnus Governor Yuzaki to improve U.S.–Japan relations through educational channels across the Pacific… and I would be remiss to not say that the reconnection would not have been possible without the vision of my academic advisor and mentor, Professor Okimoto.”

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