Dr. Gary Mukai is Director of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE). Prior to joining SPICE in 1988, he was a teacher in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, and in California public schools for ten years.
Gary’s academic interests include curriculum and instruction, educational equity, and teacher professional development. He received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from U.C. Berkeley; a multiple subjects teaching credential from the Black, Asian, Chicano Urban Program, U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education; a master of arts in international comparative education from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education; and a doctorate of education from the Leadership in Educational Equity Program, U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education.
In addition to curricular publications for SPICE, Gary has also written for other publishers, including Newsweek, Calliope Magazine, Media & Methods: Education Products, Technologies & Programs for Schools and Universities, Social Studies Review, Asia Alive, Education About Asia, ACCESS Journal: Information on Global, International, and Foreign Language Education, San Jose Mercury News, and ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies; and organizations, including NBC New York, the Silk Road Project at Harvard University, the Japanese American National Memorial to Patriotism in Washington, DC, the Center for Asian American Media in San Francisco, the Laurasian Institution in Seattle, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and the Asia Society in New York.
He has developed teacher guides for films such as The Road to Beijing (a film on the Beijing Olympics narrated by Yo-Yo Ma and co-produced by SPICE and the Silk Road Project), Nuclear Tipping Point (a film developed by the Nuclear Security Project featuring former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, former Senator Sam Nunn, and former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell), Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo (an Academy Award-winning film about Japanese-American internment by Steven Okazaki), Doubles: Japan and America’s Intercultural Children (a film by Regge Life), A State of Mind (a film on North Korea by Daniel Gordon), Wings of Defeat (a film about kamikaze pilots by Risa Morimoto), Makiko’s New World (a film on life in Meiji Japan by David W. Plath), Diamonds in the Rough: Baseball and Japanese-American Internment (a film by Kerry Y. Nakagawa), Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties (a film about Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II by Gayle Yamada), Citizen Tanouye (a film about a Medal of Honor recipient during World War II by Robert Horsting), Mrs. Judo (a film about 10th degree black belt Keiko Fukuda by Yuriko Gamo Romer), and Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story (a film by Regge Life about a woman who lost her life in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami).
He has conducted numerous professional development seminars nationally (including extensive work with the Chicago Public Schools, Hawaii Department of Education, New York City Department of Education, and school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County) and internationally (including in China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey).
In 1997, Gary was the first regular recipient of the Franklin Buchanan Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, awarded annually to honor an outstanding curriculum publication on Asia at any educational level, elementary through university. In 2004, SPICE received the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese government for its promotion of Japanese studies in schools; and Gary received recognition from the Fresno County Office of Education, California, for his work with students of Fresno County. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese government for the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, especially in the field of education. At the invitation of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, San Francisco, Gary participated in the Republic of Korea-sponsored 2010 Revisit Korea Program, which commemorated the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. At the invitation of the Nanjing Foreign Languages School, China, he participated in an international educational forum in 2013 that commemorated the 50th anniversary of NFLS’s founding. In 2015 he received the Stanford Alumni Award from the Asian American Activities Center Advisory Board, and in 2017 he was awarded the Alumni Excellence in Education Award by the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Most recently, the government of Japan named him a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays.
He is an editorial board member of the journal, Education About Asia; advisory board member for Asian Educational Media Services, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; board member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association of Northern California; and selection committee member of the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award, U.S.–Japan Foundation.