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Webinar recording: https://youtu.be/OuqgZCnXyo4 

When the U.S. government incarcerated over 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II (most of whom were U.S. citizens), Japanese Americans struggled to find a sense of normalcy behind the barbed wire. For some, this was achieved by playing baseball. 

Using baseball as a lens to explore the history of Japanese Americans and the U.S.–Japan relationship, this webinar offers K–12 educators a virtual tour of “Baseball’s Bridge to the Pacific,” a special exhibit currently on display at Dodger Stadium. The tour will be led by Kerry Yo Nakagawa, the founder and director of the Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP). The exhibit celebrates the 150th anniversary of U.S.–Japan diplomacy (1872–2022) and chronicles the introduction and development of baseball in Japan since the early 1870s. The exhibit’s photos, memorabilia, and artifacts offer a unique glimpse into key milestones of Japanese and Japanese Americans in baseball over the past 150 years. 

Join Nakagawa as he brings the legacy of Japanese Americans and baseball to life, live from Dodger Stadium! Attendees will receive a PDF of free curriculum materials on teaching about baseball and Japanese American incarceration, developed by SPICE and NBRP for high school and community college teachers.

This webinar is sponsored by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), the Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP), the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), and the USC U.S.-China Institute.

Kerry Yo Nakagawa is the author of "Through a Diamond: 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball." He is the founder and director of the non-profit Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP) and curator of “Diamonds in the Rough: Japanese Americans in Baseball,” an exhibition that was displayed at the Japanese American National Museum in 2000. He is also a consultant to the prestigious Baseball Hall of Fame tour entitled “Baseball in America” and an independent producer/filmmaker, actor, researcher, and writer.
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Naomi Funahashi

Online via Zoom.

Kerry Yo Nakagawa Founder and Director Nisei Baseball Research Project
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After the end of World War II, more than 45,000 young Japanese women married American GIs and came to the United States to embark upon new lives among strangers. The mother of Kathryn Tolbert, a former long-time journalist with The Washington Post, was one of them.

Kathryn noted, “I knew there was a story in my mother’s journey from war-time Japan to an upstate New York poultry farm. In order to tell it, I teamed up with journalists Lucy Craft and Karen Kasmauski, whose mothers were also Japanese war brides, to make a short documentary film through a mother-daughter lens. Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides was released in August 2015 and premiered on BBC World Television. To show the experiences of many more women like our mothers, I spent a year traveling the country to record interviews, funded by a Time Out grant from Vassar College, my alma mater.”

I knew there was a story in my mother’s journey from war-time Japan to an upstate New York poultry farm.
—Kathryn Tolbert, Co-Director, Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight

The Japanese War Brides Oral History Archive is the result of her interviews. The Oral History Archive documents an important chapter of U.S. immigration history that is largely unknown and usually left out of the broader Japanese American experience. In these oral histories, Japanese immigrant women reflect on their lives in postwar Japan, their journeys across the Pacific, and their experiences living in the United States.

SPICE developed five lessons for the Japanese War Brides Oral History Archive that suggest ways for teachers to engage their students with the broad themes that emerge from the individual experiences of Japanese war brides. The lessons are: (1) Setting the Context; (2) Japanese Immigration to the United States; (3) The Transmission of Culture; (4) Notions of Identity; and (5) Conflict and Its Analysis. SPICE also developed a teacher’s guide for the film, Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, that helps teachers set the context for the film and provides guided viewing activities and debriefing activities. The lessons and teacher’s guide can be found at the webpage below.

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SPICE continues to expand its regional programs for high school students in Japan. This year marked the launch of the Stanford e-Kobe program, which joins the previously established programs, Stanford e-Hiroshima, Stanford e-Kawasaki, Stanford e-Oita, and Stanford e-Tottori.

These online courses are a collaboration between SPICE and local government and school officials in Japan and challenge students to think critically about global themes related to U.S. society and culture and U.S.–Japan relations.

All five courses have now finished their 2021–2022 term. This summer, two top students from each program will present their final research projects and be honored at a virtual event hosted by SPICE, Stanford University. Congratulations to the ten honorees below on their excellent academic achievement!

Stanford e-Hiroshima (Instructor Rylan Sekiguchi)

Student Honoree: Minori Imai
School: Hiroshima Prefectural Kuremitsuta High School
Project Title: All Lives Are Important

Student Honoree: Yui Miyake
School: Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima High School
Project Title: U.S. Prison System: How the Country’s History of Racial Inequality Drives the High Rate of Incarceration in America

Stanford e-Kawasaki (Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha)

Student Honoree: Sayaka Kiyotomo
School: Kawasaki High School
Project Title: How Can We Improve Junior and Senior High School English Education in Japan?

Student Honoree: Anne Fukushima
School: Tachibana High School
Project Title: How Are Invisible Disorders Accepted in the United States and Japan?

Stanford e-Kobe (Instructor Alison Harsch)

Student Honoree: Nonoha Toji
School: Kobe University Secondary School
Project Title: How to Foster Entrepreneurship in School Days: Between U.S. and Japan

Student Honoree: Cullen Hiroki Morita
School: Kobe Municipal Fukiai High School
Project Title: The Different Work-Life Balance in Japan and America

Stanford e-Oita (Instructor Kasumi Yamashita)

Student Honoree: Rina Imai
School: Usa High School
Project Title: Learn About War and Peace Through the Naval Air Base Bunkers in Oita

Student Honoree: Yuki Nojiri
School: Hofu High School
Project Title: I Want to Live in the Second House of the Three Little Pigs

Stanford e-Tottori (Instructor Jonas Edman)

Student Honoree: Sakurako Kano
School: Tottori Keiai High School
Project Title: Being Proactive

Student Honoree: Yuki Yamane
School: Tottori Nishi High School
Project Title: The Effect of Collectivism and Individualism on Education

The SPICE staff is looking forward to honoring these ten students in a virtual ceremony on August 9, 2022 (August 10 in Japan). Each student will be given the opportunity to make a formal presentation to members of the Stanford community, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, and the Japanese community in the San Francisco Bay Area.


SPICE also offers online courses to U.S. high school students on Japan (Reischauer Scholars Program), China (China Scholars Program), and Korea (Sejong Korea Scholars Program), and online courses to Chinese high school students on the United States (Stanford e-China) and to Japanese high school students on the United States and U.S.–Japan relations (Stanford e-Japan).

To stay informed of SPICE news, join our email list and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Congratulations to the ten student honorees from Hiroshima Prefecture, Kawasaki City, Kobe City, Oita Prefecture, and Tottori Prefecture.

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Gary Mukai
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Mayor Norihiko Fukuda of Kawasaki City—the sixth most populous city in Japan—spoke during the closing ceremony of Stanford e-Kawasaki on March 29, 2022. The ceremony marked the end of the third-year offering of Stanford e-Kawasaki, which is taught by Instructor Maiko Tamagawa Bacha. Nineteen students representing Kawasaki High School and Tachibana High School successfully completed the course and each received a certificate from Mayor Fukuda as Bacha announced each student’s name.

Stanford e-Kawasaki focuses on two themes, entrepreneurship and diversity. In Mayor Fukuda’s comments to students, he noted that with people coming from across and outside of Japan to Kawasaki, the city has developed to become a city of 1.54 million people and one of the most diverse cities in Japan. Given this, Fukuda underscored the importance of having students value diversity, and stated, “I want young people in Kawasaki to appreciate this core value.” He continued,

I also want students to foster entrepreneurial mindsets as they pursue their future careers… With the English and critical-thinking skills that they have gained in this program, they have taken off from a starting line to make their way into the world.

This year’s course featured a diverse group of speakers, including a panel of Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program alumni who spoke about diversity in the United States. The panelists included Jeffrey Fleischman, Cerell Rivera, and Kai Wiesner-Hanks, who spoke on topics such as ethnic diversity, gender equality and identity, religious diversity, and cultural diversity. Bacha is a former Advisor for Educational Affairs at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and one of her major responsibilities was overseeing the JET Program. She commented, “It was particularly gratifying for me to provide a platform for JET alumni to continue to offer their support to students in Japan.” Other sessions were led by Dr. Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu who addressed the central question, “What is diversity?,” and also discussed diversity issues in Japan, and Stanford graduate student Alinea Tucker, who spoke on “Black Lives Matter.”

In the area of entrepreneurship, Miwa Seki, General Partner, M Power Partners, provided perspectives as an investor, and Sukemasa Kabayama, Founder and CEO of Uplift Labs, shared his journey as an entrepreneur in Japan and in the United States.

A highlight of the closing ceremony was the announcement of the two honorees of Stanford e-Kawasaki. They are Sayaka Kiyotomo from Kawasaki High School and Anne Fukushima from Tachibana High School.

Reflecting on the three years of teaching the course, Bacha noted, “Since the inception of Stanford e-Kawasaki, Mayor Fukuda’s unwavering commitment has without a doubt contributed greatly to the success of the course. The students and I have always felt his support.” After the ceremony, Mayor Fukuda brought the students to one of his meeting rooms and engaged them in informal discussions. His formal and informal comments were very inspirational to the students.

I am most grateful to Mayor Norihiko Fukuda for his vision and for making this course possible. I would also like to express my appreciation to Mr. Nihei and Mr. Katsurayama from the Kawasaki Board of Education; and Mr. Abe, Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Kawato, and especially Mr. Inoue from Kawasaki City for their unwavering support. Importantly, I would like to express my appreciation to Principal Iwaki and his staff of Kawasaki High School and Principal Takai and his staff from Tachibana High School for their engagement with Stanford e-Kawasaki. An article in Japanese about the closing ceremony that was published by Kawasaki City can be found here.

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Maiko Tamagawa Bacha

Instructor, Stanford e-Kawasaki
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Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 “as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. Seeking to understand this dynamic, he recognized the historical Silk Road as a model for cultural collaboration—for the exchange of ideas, tradition, and innovation across borders. In a groundbreaking experiment, he brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom: a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.”[1] The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education has been collaborating with Silkroad since 2002.

On April 6, 2022, Silkroad will be performing at Stanford University. Silkroad Ensemble: Home Within will feature Syrian-born clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh and Syrian Armenian visual artist Kevork Mourad. Azmeh’s and Mourad’s bios on the Silkroad website read in part:

Hailed as a “virtuoso, intensely soulful” by The New York Times and “spellbinding” by The New Yorker. Syrian-born, Brooklyn-based genre-bending composer and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh has been touring the globe with great acclaim as a soloist, composer and improviser… He is a graduate of The Juilliard School, the Damascus High Institute of Music, and Damascus University’s School of Electrical Engineering. Kinan holds a doctorate in music from the City University of New York.

Kevork Mourad was born in Kamechli, Syria. Of Armenian origin, he received an MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and now lives and works in New York. His past and current projects include the Cirène project with members of Brooklyn Rider at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the multimedia play Lost Spring (2015) with Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian, at the MuCEM, Gilgamesh (2003) and Home Within (2013) with Kinan Azmeh in Damascus and at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others…

In 2016, SPICE developed a study guide to accompany Art in a Time of Crisis, a conversation between Kinan Azmeh and Yo-Yo Ma about what it means to create art in the face of crisis and violence at home. The interview and study guide are recommended for music, social studies, and language arts courses at the high school level and above. Please note that neither the interview nor study guide delves into the specifics of the Syrian uprising in March 2011 and the Syrian Civil War.

The focusing questions in the study guide are:

  • What is the meaning of “crisis”?
  • What are some examples of times of crisis?
  • What are some ways to deal with crisis?
  • What role can art play during times of crisis?
  • What can an individual do to help facilitate change?
     

Silkroad Ensemble Musicians Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Haruka Fujii (percussion), and Kinan Azmeh (clarinet)
Silkroad Ensemble Musicians Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Haruka Fujii (percussion), and Kinan Azmeh (clarinet); photo courtesy Silkroad

I believe that comments from Kinan Azmeh and Yo-Yo Ma can inspire youth to consider the importance of these questions in their lives and the relevance of these questions to the events unfolding in the world today and to consider art as a form of soft power. I admire how they seek to empower and offer youth hope. During a segment of the interview, Yo-Yo Ma asks,

… I think [Leonard] Bernstein was once asked, ‘What do you do in the face of violence?’ I think his response was that you just continue to create even more passionately. Would you agree with that?

Kinan Azmeh replied, “Absolutely. But... the first thing on your mind is not ‘Let me create beauty.’ I think creating beauty or whatever moves people [is] the side effect of you being passionately involved in doing what you’re doing.” After students view the interview, I wonder how they might reply to Yo-Yo Ma’s question.

 

[1] Silkroad; https://www.silkroad.org/about [access date: March 22, 2022]

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Stanford e-Fukuoka is an online course that SPICE offers to high school students in Fukuoka Prefecture. Taught by Kasumi Yamashita, Stanford e-Fukuoka was launched this year with the support of the Fukuoka Prefectural Government and the U.S. Consulate Fukuoka. SPICE is grateful to Governor Seitaro Hattori and Principal Officer John C. Taylor for their vision and leadership. SPICE is grateful to Yuki Kondo-Shah, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate Fukuoka for her initiative and dedication to make this course a reality. SPICE is also appreciative of Chie Inuzuka, Director, Fukuoka American Center, who serves as a liaison between Fukuoka and SPICE for her unwavering support.

The Japanese proverb, 見ぬが花 (minu ga hana) or “Not seeing is a flower,” is sometimes translated as “Reality is never as good as one’s imagination.” This proverb crossed my mind during the lead-up to the opening ceremony for Stanford e-Fukuoka because the synergy leading up to the opening ceremony seemed almost too ideal.

Since 2019, Yuki Kondo-Shah has served as a guest speaker for SPICE’s Stanford e-Japan, a national online course for Japanese high school students that is supported by the Yanai Tadashi Foundation. When Kondo-Shah and I spoke a year ago about the possibility of launching Stanford e-Fukuoka, we spoke not only about Fukuoka as a breeding ground of new startups and innovation with ties to Silicon Valley, but also about the fact that many thousands of early immigrants to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries trace their roots to the prefecture—thus, establishing a unique historical link between Fukuoka and the Japanese American community.

As Kondo-Shah and I spoke about the possibility of launching Stanford e-Fukuoka, my colleague, Kasumi Yamashita, was the instructor whom I had in mind from the outset. Yamashita had been on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Fukuoka Prefecture for several years and I knew of her strong emotional ties to the prefecture. Once the course was approved by Governor Seitaro Hattori, Yamashita immediately accepted the position as instructor.

The opening ceremony was held on March 4, 2022 and moderated by Kondo Shah, and three dignitaries made welcoming remarks. First, Governor Hattori stated, “As Governor of Fukuoka, I take on the challenge set before me to foster the next generation of Fukuoka’s leaders who can compete in the global marketplace and be called upon by the international community. To ensure Fukuoka’s engagement in the global arena, we must gain multicultural competence and exchange ideas with people of diverse backgrounds. We must nurture our students to become global citizens.”

Second, Principal Officer Taylor noted the vision to make Fukuoka “an international hub” and how Stanford e-Fukuoka students “will become young leaders who will contribute to the growth and internationalization of the city… I believe that this Stanford program is a wonderful investment of your time and a way to gain those important skills.”

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Ambassador Rahm Emanuel; courtesy U.S. Embassy Tokyo

Third, Ambassador Emanuel expressed that “Throughout the last two and a half years, many of you have faced incredible challenges. But, here you are today, taking advantage of this exceptional international exchange program with one of America’s greatest universities that’s known worldwide… Through this program, you will learn about how important the United States and Japan are to each other. My hope is that you become future leaders to bridge our countries and build bridges of friendship.”

Following these comments, Yamashita shared fond remembrances of her JET Program years in Fukuoka and as she mentioned the schools with which she worked, one could see many nodding heads and smiles among the 30 students. She mapped out her vision for Stanford e-Fukuoka. This was followed by each student sharing his or her ambitions with the course and these prompted nodding heads and smiles among the adults in attendance.

In reality, seeing the ceremony unfold turned out to be even better than I had imagined. The proverb, “Not seeing is a flower,” was disproven on this occasion. In fact, taking part in the ceremony was like seeing 30 cherry blossoms begin to bloom—just as cherry blossom season begins in Fukuoka. With Yamashita’s mentorship and the continued support of the Fukuoka Prefectural Government and U.S. Consulate Fukuoka, I trust that each one will fully bloom during the course itself.

Kasumi Yamashita

Kasumi Yamashita

Instructor, Stanford e-Fukuoka and Stanford e-Oita
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Introduction to Issues in International Security is a collaboration between the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE). Four CISAC scholars are featured in accessible video lectures that aim to introduce high school students to issues in international security and increase awareness of career opportunities available in the field. Free discussion guides, developed by SPICE, are available for all of the lectures in this series.

The CISAC scholars and descriptions of their lectures are listed below.

Professor Crenshaw explores some fundamental issues about terrorism, such as why people resort to terror, the political goals of terrorism, and the importance of understanding the complex web of relationships among terrorist organizations.

The Honorable Gottemoeller discusses the difference between national and international security. She takes a close look at the nuclear weapons program of North Korea and highlights the possible danger that North Korea’s nuclear weapons could pose to the world, as well as different ways to mitigate this risk.

Professor Naimark discusses the difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide. He highlights key historical events that have taken place around the world and discusses the “Responsibility to Protect” and how it has shaped the way the international community responds to such atrocities.

Dr. Palmer discusses how biological threats shape our world—different types of threats and what we can do to prevent and to prepare for them.

An online symposium for high school students from four high schools is being planned for May 2022. They will have the opportunity to meet with one or two of the CISAC scholars to discuss issues in international security and careers in the field of international security. The online symposium is part of CISAC’s and SPICE’s DEI-focused efforts. In the 2022–23 academic year, CISAC and SPICE will invite high school teachers, who introduce the curriculum series, to recommend students to a second online symposium.

For more information about the curriculum series and the 2022–23 symposium, contact Irene Bryant at irene3@stanford.edu.

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Irene Bryant

Instructor, Stanford e-Entrepreneurship Japan
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A new video curriculum series is released.

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Stanford e-Kobe is an online course for high school students in Kobe City, Japan. Launched in fall 2021, it is offered by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) in collaboration with the Kobe City Government. The Instructor of Stanford e-Kobe is Alison Harsch. One of the key themes of the course is diversity and Hinako Saldi Sato focused her talk on women’s empowerment. SPICE is grateful to Mayor Kizo Hisamoto for his vision and leadership, and to Superintendent Jun Nagata, Board of Education, for his unwavering support. SPICE also greatly appreciates Toshihiro Nishiyama, Board of Education member, and Satoshi Kawasaki and Akito Ojiro, Kobe City staff, who serve as liaisons between SPICE and the Kobe City Government.

Hinako Saldi Sato is musician, educator, marketer, and community leader with a passion to create opportunities and platforms for people around the world to connect and learn through music. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Hinako gained recognition as a performer with internationally acclaimed acts such as Women of the World, a collective of innovative musicians from across the globe. Between 2016 and 2019, Hinako helped to manage the Boston chapter of Women in Music, which is dedicated to fostering equality in the music industry through the support and advancement of women. In January 2019, Hinako launched Women in Music’s first chapter in Japan, in hopes of contributing to creating a platform that would serve to advance and elevate women’s roles and voices in the music industry. Hinako now works as the marketing lead at the Tokyo-based Ableton KK, the Asia Pacific (APAC) division of the German music software/hardware company.

Hinako shared four reflections on her life experiences that clearly resonated in the 26 students in Stanford e-Kobe and especially among the girls.

  • Hinako grew up in an environment where most musicians were male, and she was often the only girl in the room.
  • She was fortunate to have been offered multiple opportunities to study and excel in her career—thanks to schools, organizations, and communities that cared about diversity, equity, and inclusion (including being the recipient of both merit-based and need-based scholarships).
  • She has witnessed so many women in her life who are struggling or are at disadvantages because of gender roles, gender bias, and other gender-based inequality.
  • She didn’t have a role model or someone who was like her until she went to the United States for high school and this reinforced her desire to advocate for greater representation among girls and women.


These four reflections continue to shape her mission in life in multiple ways. As a musician, she has performed with Women of the World, which showcases four different singers from the United States, India, Italy, and Japan. Currently, Women of the World performs in 37 different languages, and Hinako noted that “it’s like you’re in a musical journey around the world.” In teaching, her philosophy is that education is a lot about “leading out” or reinforcing in people what potential they have and what they already know. As a community leader, she has organized groups such as Boston Joshikai, which has the goal of forming a sisterhood among Japanese women residents as a way to build their social capital. Boston Joshikai helps to fight the “scarcity mindset” that sometimes arises when one is a minority in a foreign country. As a public speaker at events such as the International Women in Business Conference 2018, she strives to encourage women to think beyond borders. Finally, at Ableton KK, an important focus of her work is about lowering barriers for people to enter the world of music-making through the use of music technology tools, especially in the education sector.

There are many examples of how music can be used to empower not just women, but also certain minority groups.

During the question-and-answer period, student Hinata Ogawa asked, “Can music contribute to women’s empowerment in some way?” Sato replied, “Yes, absolutely. Actually, at Women in Music in Japan we wrote an article about the history of feminism in the music industry, in which we were just touching upon this topic for the Japanese music scene. When you listen to Japanese pop music, for example, the lyrics are mostly about heterosexual relationships like romantic relationships right? But in the U.S., you see a lot of music that talks about female empowerment like Beyonce’s ‘Run the World’ or you know like Sara Bareilles’ ‘Brave.’… There are many examples of how music can be used to empower not just women, but also certain minority groups. And in Japan, if you check out female rappers like hip hop scene, they are speaking out, talking about feminism in the form of rap and it’s quite exciting… like Daimon Yayoi.”

Other student questions and comments focused on the importance of expanding one’s circle or community; the importance of improving child care systems to help women in the workplace and to provide childcare leave systems for fathers; addressing stereotypes of women and the importance of mindset; and addressing gender bias in schools. Instructor Harsch commented, “Listening to the questions and comments by my students made me realize what a great role model Hinako is to them and other youth in Japan who have the good fortune to cross paths with her. Hinako was the final lecturer for this year’s class and I can’t think of a more ideal lecturer given the way that she engaged them to critically think about gender-related issues and self-empowerment.”

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Be Kobe monument in Kobe, Japan


Observing the class on women’s empowerment helped me realize that Stanford e-Kobe is empowering students to aspire to “BE KOBE,” the city’s civil pride message to gather the idea that what makes Kobe attractive is the citizens who are proud to take on new challenges. The BE KOBE Monument[1] was installed in the Meriken Park to commemorate the 150th anniversary of opening the Port of KOBE in 2017. I am very confident that the Stanford e-Kobe students will carry the spirit of BE KOBE into their very bright futures.


[1] Photo courtesy Kobe City Government.

 

Alison Keiko Harsch

Alison Keiko Harsch

Instructor, Stanford e-Kobe
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image of port on the left and image of mayor on right
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Empowering Japanese women through community building

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Kouji Yamada
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Kouji Yamada (MBA, Harvard), former Visiting Lecturer, Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, is an advisor to Stanford e-Hiroshima. His parents, Ryuji and Nanako, are supporters of Stanford e-Hiroshima, which is an online course that SPICE offers to high school students in Hiroshima. Taught by Rylan Sekiguchi, Stanford e-Hiroshima was launched in 2019 with the support of the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education. SPICE is grateful to Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki for his vision and leadership and Superintendent Rie Hirakawa for her unwavering support.

Ryuji Yamada adjusts the window shades to savor the view that grows elusive to his aging eyes. If you gaze towards Diamond Head from the Yamadas’ condominium, kite surfers glide in and out of your perspective in some random Brownian motion; their paths, pace, and direction seem chaotic. They all share the same wind, waves, and current, but the skill of the rider to look ahead and channel the energies around them sends them on very different and wonderful journeys. 

“I was just 14 living in Hiroshima and still a minor when the bomb dropped. My brother was only one year older but considered an adult and was sent on work detail for defense preparations. He had to walk through ground zero to come home. My father had a meeting at City Hall, but the ferry was cancelled. We all survived, but the blast sent us in very different directions.

“They rebuilt the community with their personality, spirit, and bare hands, but I was pushed inward to my studies. I needed to comprehend the natural force that had wrought so much destruction.

“In the sixties, foreign exchange was scarce, and I was one of the first scientists that the Japanese government sponsored to do research abroad. At Cornell, Robert Wilson guided my career and brought me along to establish what became Fermilab in 1967. We built Fermilab as an oasis of fundamental research in the Illinois prairie. We thought that the pursuit of knowledge would unite us. Wilson’s famous defense in April 1969 of Fermilab to Congress seems even more relevant today.

‘Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country, but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to help make it worth defending.’”[1]


Nanako Yamada also grew up in Hiroshima, but her greatest challenges were still ahead of her. “In the ’70s, there were few role models for women in building identity outside of the home in middle America. But when it became apparent that our second child was uncontrollable in his adolescent years, I decided to lead by example and went back to school to rekindle my love for learning. At Northern Illinois University, Helen Merritt guided me through a career in art history, and we authored several books together.

“Our specialty was kuchie woodblock prints from the late 19th to early 20th century. They offered a glimpse into a culture in flux. Western influences disrupting Japanese culture after Commodore Perry’s black ships forced the opening of Japan.

“What to accept, what to reject. What to cherish and what to disavow. Even when you think you stand still, you are always changing, and hopefully growing. Captured in the woodblocks is a narrative. Some cautionary, some celebratory, but all are educational if your eye and mind are willing to engage.

“When we heard about the SPICE program for Hiroshima, we were honored to stand by the Hiroshima Board of Education and continue the legacy of exploration and learning. Technology allows the new generation to not only be buffeted by social media but to also make profound connections to community, both near and far. Hopefully the students can find their own Robert Wilsons and Helen Merritts. We were blessed to make these relations, but we would have never found them without exploring and engaging. We didn’t have a grand plan, but we never stopped looking. We look forward to seeing what wonderful things they will find.”


Stanford e-Hiroshima is one of SPICE’s local student programs in Japan.

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[1] Fermilab; https://history.fnal.gov/historical/people/wilson_testimony.html [access date: February 5, 2022].

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Stanford e-Hiroshima, SPICE’s Newest Online Course for High School Students: Sharing Cranes Across the Pacific

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Ryuji and Nanako Yamada share reflections on their lives in Hiroshima and their American mentors.

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Rylan Sekiguchi has been selected as a cohort fellow for the Movers and Shakas program (M&S)—an initiative to attract remote workers, especially returning kamaʻāina (Hawaiʻi residents), to create a more innovative, resilient, and sustainable Hawaiʻi. The rationale for the establishment of M&S is based on the following.

“Brain drain” is an enduring challenge for Hawaiʻi as we lose key talent and family members to economic opportunities on the continent. M&S focuses on “brain gain” to grow and diversify Hawaiʻi’s economy so that local folks can come home and never have to leave in the first place.

A recent article, “Hawaiʻi’s Population Drain Outpaces Most States—Again,” in Honolulu Civil Beat features comments by M&S Director Nicole Lim. In the article, she notes, “The overall goal is really brain gain. How to tie people into Hawaiʻi for the good of Hawaiʻi.”

Selected from thousands of applicants, Sekiguchi is one of 50 in the second M&S cohort contributing to the community through volunteer projects and developing personal and professional relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Sekiguchi is working primarily with the PA‘I Foundation, which is led by Executive Director Vicky Holt Takamine, a respected kumu hula (master teacher of hula), well-known Native Hawaiian advocate, and valuable proponent of M&S in the local community.

The Movers and Shakas program is based on three key pillars.

  • Learn: Cultural education helps cohort fellows understand the historical and current context of Hawaiʻi, allowing them to build stronger personal relationships and connect more deeply with Hawaiʻi.
  • Contribute: Volunteering allows cohort fellows to contribute their unique professional skillsets and experiences to local nonprofits and startups while learning about Hawaiʻi from community leaders in a reciprocal relationship.
  • Connect: Community building centers around the two-way sharing of knowledge, ideas, and culture to foster strong bonds between individuals, within the cohort, with volunteer partner orgs, and with the general public.
     

Following a recent visit to the Bishop Museum, designated as the Hawaiʻi State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Sekiguchi reflected on his experience. “Though I was born and raised in Hawaiʻi, it wasn’t until I moved to the continent as a student at Stanford University that I began to truly recognize my connection to this place. After being away for 19 years, M&S has been an incredibly meaningful experience for me and an extraordinary opportunity to reconnect with Hawaiʻi. It’s also been inspiring to connect with my M&S cohort mates, many of whom also have personal connections to the state. Someday, I hope to connect my SPICE work more closely with the M&S community.”

rylan sekiguchi

Rylan Sekiguchi

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