RSP Frequently Asked Questions

RSP Frequently Asked Questions


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Q: What is the purpose of the Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP)?

A: The RSP was established by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) in 2003 to provide exemplary high school students across the U.S. with a comprehensive distance learning course on Japan and U.S.–Japan relations. The RSP enables students to develop a rich understanding of various aspects of Japanese culture, art, literature, history, economics, society, and politics and the historical and contemporary relationship between the United States and Japan. The course also emphasizes the importance of learning about both American and Japanese perspectives on historical and contemporary issues in U.S.–Japan relations.


Q: Who is eligible to apply to the RSP?

A: All current high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the United States are eligible to apply. Students are of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and range from those who have exhausted every possible opportunity to learn about Japan and want more, to those who have never had the opportunity to take a course on Japan but are intellectually curious about Japan and its culture. Many of the participants want to be challenged to a far greater extent than their high schools can provide.

Students who apply to the RSP should be self-motivated, genuinely interested in learning about Japan and U.S.–Japan relations, and excited about interacting with other high school students across the United States.


Q: How is the RSP coursework structured?

A: From February through June, students participate in an Internet-mediated course that provides a broad overview of Japanese history, literature, religion, art, politics, economics, education, and contemporary society, as well as U.S.–Japan relations. Top scholars and leading diplomats provide weekly lectures, and engage students in dialog via live Virtual Classroom (VC) sessions. Students complete reading materials, assignments, and a final research project that is printed in journal format and distributed to all students.


Q: What makes the RSP unique?

A: The college-level instruction provided by top scholars and diplomats is unparalleled in other distance learning courses for high school students. Among the distinguished lecturers for the course are Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese ambassador to the U.S.; Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to Japan; Dr. Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Ambassador Michael Armacost, former U.S. ambassador to Japan; Professor Daniel Okimoto, Political Science, Stanford University; and many other scholars from the United States and Japan. The Virtual Classroom sessions also provide students with the occasion to engage in live discourse with these preeminent scholars and diplomats. During the VCs, the discussion leaders often challenge students to engage higher-order thinking skills and to consider multiple perspectives. This unique opportunity to learn directly from such noted scholars is a distinctive element of the RSP.

The RSP also provides students with a chance to meet like-minded peers with an interest in Japan, U.S.–Japan relations, and/or global perspectives. As a student-centered course, a strong emphasis is placed on encouraging students to share and appreciate the diverse perspectives that each student brings to the RSP learning community.


Q: What are the technology requirements for participating in the RSP?

A: High speed Internet access, a Mac or PC computer, and a computer microphone.


Q: How much does it cost to participate in the RSP?

A: There will be a $500 tuition per student for books and the Stanford Continuing Studies credits. A limited number of full and partial need-based tuition waivers are available. For tuition-related questions and concerns, please contact Naomi Funahashi at


Q: How much time should students expect to dedicate to the RSP?

A: Students typically spend between 5–7 hours per week on the RSP. This time is spent completing the course readings and homework assignments, and participating in the discussion forums and Virtual Classroom sessions. The Virtual Classroom sessions take place on ten evenings throughout the course (schedule to be determined) at 6:00pm PST. This is to accommodate all students across the United States, from Hawai’i to New York.


Q: Do students need to know the Japanese language to participate in the RSP?

A: Students are not required to know the Japanese language to participate in the RSP.