Stanford e-Japan Instructor Waka Brown and I recently met in Tokyo with Mr. Tadashi Yanai, President of the Yanai Tadashi Foundation. The Yanai Tadashi Foundation is the current supporter of Stanford e-Japan, an online course about U.S. society and culture and U.S.–Japan relations that SPICE offers in English to high school students from throughout Japan. Stanford e-Japan is now in its fourth year, and one of its objectives is to encourage students in Japan to consider applying to U.S. universities after graduating high school.
This objective aligns with one of the goals of the Yanai Tadashi Foundation—that is, to provide scholarships to students in Japan seeking to study as undergraduates in the United States at select universities, including Stanford. Its website notes the following:
Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarship aims to provide promising young people with leadership potential the opportunity to study at world-class universities in the United States. The scholarship enables recipients to mix with an internationally diverse student body to cultivate their entrepreneurial skills and enhance their global perspective, encouraging their development as future drivers of a better society.
Brown has been encouraging some of her Stanford e-Japan students to consider applying to U.S. universities and the Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarship program. I recently spoke with Stanford University freshman Daisuke Masuda who is a Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarship recipient and asked him to share his thoughts on studying at Stanford. “I really wanted to study computer science and medical technology, and given that Stanford has strengths in both areas and is also at the center of Silicon Valley, I felt that Stanford was ideal for me. My current future goal is to use medical technology to solve social issues caused by aging societies.” He continued, “That said, I would not be here without Mr. Yanai’s generosity. I am also grateful to the other Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarship recipients across the country for being such a great community of learners. I highly recommend that high school students in Japan consider studying in the United States as undergraduates and applying for a Yanai Tadashi Foundation Scholarship. It is challenging but rewarding to study with brilliant students from all over the world.”
Also, while in Tokyo, Brown, Junichiro Hirata (Stanford e-Japan advisor), and I had the chance to meet with three Stanford e-Japan alumni. The Stanford e-Japan Program recognized Hikaru Suzuki and Haruki Kitagawa as two of the top students in the first Stanford e-Japan cohort in 2015. They are now attending the University of Tokyo and Keio University, respectively. Both remain engaged in U.S.–Japan relations and aspire to graduate studies at Stanford or another U.S. university. Jun Yamasaki, who was one of the top students of the fall 2017 Stanford e-Japan session, is currently a student at Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen Senior High School in Tokyo and plans to enroll at a U.S. university this fall.
Brown remarked, “It was very rewarding to witness the growth of the leadership skills of my former students and to listen to what they are doing and aspire to do in terms of promoting international mutual understanding. During my meeting with Mr. Yanai and his staff, I discovered that these are not only hallmarks of SPICE since its inception in 1976 but also of the Yanai Tadashi Foundation as well.”
Brown and I hope to see Suzuki, Kitagawa, Yamasaki, and many more Stanford e-Japan alumni as students at Stanford—like Masuda—someday. Mr. Yanai hopes that with the increasing numbers of Japanese students studying in the United States, the numbers of Japanese who enter fields like international business between the United States and Japan will also grow.