Education
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Kana Yoshioka
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The following is a guest article written by Kana Yoshioka, PhD student at the University of Tokyo. Yoshioka enrolled in a course at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Education called “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education,” which was co-taught by SPICE Director Dr. Gary Mukai and former CASEER Director Dr. Hideto Fukudome. SPICE will feature several student reflections on the course in 2023.

I am a first-year doctoral student at the University of Tokyo studying Japanese higher education. I took “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education” offered in fall 2022. We discussed important topics such as teacher professional development, multiple intelligences, and culturally relevant curriculum. In addition to offering lectures, SPICE Director Gary Mukai also invited several guest speakers to our class. One of the most impressive lectures was by Kathryn Tolbert, who spoke about a documentary film called Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, which she co-directed with Lucy Craft and Karen Kasmauski.

The term “Japanese war brides” is defined as the women who married American soldiers and immigrated to the United States after World War Ⅱ. More than 45,000 Japanese brides went to the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s; however, such history, including Japanese immigration history to the United States, is rarely taught in Japanese schools. There is only a brief introduction to the history of Japanese immigrants to Brazil in junior high school history classes and geography textbooks. Naturally enough, I had never learned anything about the history of “Japanese war brides” in school. However, I believe that studying the history of immigration is important and should be taught in schools to broaden students’ perspectives and have them grasp the diversity of the world.

This course gave me a precious opportunity to rethink schools in Japan.

Therefore, as part of my coursework in “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education,” I decided to develop a lesson plan on Japanese war brides for Japanese junior high school history classes. I began by reviewing the descriptions of Japanese immigration in as many Japanese junior high school history and geography textbooks as possible. In addition, I viewed Japanese War Brides: An Oral History Archive, collected by Kathryn Tolbert, and reviewed serialized newspaper articles from 1987 about Japanese war brides in order to help determine which oral histories might capture students’ interest. From those many stories, I chose two stories to recommend to Japanese junior high schools. The first included a reference to the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, and the second included the topic of racism in the United States. I thought that these two stories would be important because I feel that it is important for students to grasp the journey of Japanese women within the larger historical context of World War II and the post-war period.

In one class period, my lesson can help to familiarize students with what happened to the Japanese war brides. Also, I suggest that teachers pose the following fundamental questions to their students.

  • What did you learn about the Japanese war brides in the United States?
  • How do you feel about the stories?
  • Do you have any relatives who immigrated to another country?
     

I recommend the “Think-Pair-Share” pedagogical strategy as a useful way for having the students think about these questions. First, students think about the questions for a few minutes, and then in pairs, share their opinions with one another. I also recommend the third question, “Do you have any relatives who immigrated to another country?,” as homework since it is important for each student to discuss the topic with his/her family.

This course gave me a precious opportunity to rethink schools in Japan. I strongly felt that we should study more about the history of immigrants like “Japanese war brides.”

Reference:
Sirouzu, T., & Eguchi, Y. (1987, January 3 - February 15). “Kokusai Kekkon America no Sensō Hanayometachi” [International Marriage: Japanese war brides in the United States]. A morning edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo.

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Reflections on Culturally Relevant Curriculum and Identity

A SPICE/CASEER Graduate School of Education course at the University of Tokyo was offered in fall 2022.
Reflections on Culturally Relevant Curriculum and Identity
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Reflections on the SPICE and the Center for Advanced School Education & Evidence-Based Research (CASEER) course that was offered at the University of Tokyo in fall 2022.

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Yuting Luo
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The following is a guest article written by Yuting Luo, graduate student at the University of Tokyo. Luo enrolled in a course at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Education called “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education,” which was co-taught by SPICE Director Dr. Gary Mukai and former CASEER Director Dr. Hideto Fukudome. SPICE will feature several student reflections on the course in 2023.

Can you imagine hearing for the first time that your ancestors had contributed significantly to another country’s development? For me, as a native of China who lived in the country for more than 20 years and now as a student in Japan, it was a unique cultural experience to hear from Gary Mukai about Chinese immigration to the United States and their significant contributions to the United States.

I never imagined that my ancestors had worked in the United States as railroad workers on the Transcontinental Railroad. It was a history I had never learned from a Chinese textbook. The following words from Mukai impressed me the most: “I think that the history of Chinese railroad workers and their contribution to the United States should be known more widely not only in the United States but also in China.”

In the first class of “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education,” Mukai introduced the topic of “culturally relevant curriculum” and I realized that culturally relevant curriculum for Chinese Americans can help to create emotional connections between them and their ancestral homeland, China. Similarly, I began to think about the relationship between Japan and China, and have since thought of this question: In order to help build a more amicable relationship between the two countries, what types of culturally relevant curriculum could be offered to Chinese studying in Japan and Japanese studying in China?

While learning history in one’s own country is crucial, it is also important to see one’s own country through other countries’ lenses.

I was born and raised in Shenzhen, China, in the 1990s. My beautiful hometown, Shenzhen, benefited from the Reform and Opening-Up Policy and developed rapidly. Due to the location of Shenzhen, which connects mainland China with Hong Kong, more and more Japanese companies began to establish themselves in this city in order to access low-cost labor. Yet, despite this social context, it was not until I entered junior high school that I began to directly learn about Japan. Unfortunately, the only means I had to learn about Japan was from my history teacher.

After entering high school, my encounter with Japanese literature, including Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era, led me to develop a positive interest in the country of Japan. Later, wanting to read original books on my own, I enrolled in the Japanese language department of Shenzhen University. I worked hard on my Japanese language studies and learned more about Japan through the Japanese language. The more I studied Japanese and learned about Japan objectively, the more I fell in love with Japanese culture. Of course, I love my country, China, too. I began to feel some connection to Japanese identity inside of me, and I realized that I could feel some empathy for the Japanese. It wasn’t immediately clear what this empathetic connection was specifically. However, I could only say that Japanese literature prompted me to feel a connection to Japanese identity, even though I am not Japanese.

I sometimes feel uncomfortable with this connection and sometimes wonder how I would feel if I had been introduced to curriculum in secondary schools that introduced the fluidity of identity and also the importance of considering diverse perspectives. While learning history in one’s own country is crucial, it is also important to see one’s own country through other countries’ lenses. In particular, a historical perspective that respects mutual recognition may improve one’s self-esteem and world outlook. Moreover, from a broader perspective, recognizing each other’s contributions can also lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the world. From my perspective, one’s identity cannot be fixed merely based on the place of birth or one’s skin color. In an increasingly global and diverse world, one’s identity is becoming more fluid and constantly switching, and will keep switching.

As Immanuel Kant mentioned in Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, “It is never too late to become reasonable and wise; but if the knowledge comes late, there is always more difficulty in starting a reform.” Likewise, it is never too late for me to be more inclusive and wiser. Therefore, I will continue contributing to a more diverse and inclusive world by studying international comparative education.

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Reflections on the SPICE/CASEER Course at the University of Tokyo

SPICE and the Center for Advanced School Education & Evidence-Based Research (CASEER) at the University of Tokyo offered a fall 2022 Graduate School of Education course.
Reflections on the SPICE/CASEER Course at the University of Tokyo
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A SPICE/CASEER Graduate School of Education course at the University of Tokyo was offered in fall 2022.

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Alison Keiko Harsch
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Launched in summer 2022, Stanford e-Sendai Ikuei is a collaborative course between the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School. The program offers Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School students the opportunity to develop their English and critical thinking skills while examining their roles on a global scale. Stanford e-Sendai Ikuei is one of SPICE’s local student programs in Japan.

On October 28, I had the privilege of travelling to Sendai, Japan to attend the closing ceremony for the 2022 inaugural class of Stanford e-Sendai Ikuei. The trip was a precious opportunity to meet the students in-person for the first time, after five months of learning together over Zoom. While there, I considered the educational journey the students had taken that led up to this moment of accomplishment.

Stanford e-Sendai Ikuei was designed to challenge students to examine the world from new perspectives as they consider their own role on the global stage. To this end, the class was structured into three main topics: diversity, global citizenship, and entrepreneurship.

For the first topic, students examined diversity through the framework of the United States’ history of immigration and richly diverse population. Guided by guest speakers, the class engaged in thoughtful conversations on why stereotypes take root and how biases grow through systemic oppression. Students analyzed the work done by change makers and activists in the pursuit of inclusion and equity. Finally, students were able to reflect on the concept of identity and contemplate what their unique perspectives bring to the table.

In the second section of the program, students applied their self-reflections and understanding of diversity to discussions on what it means to be a global citizen. Lessons focused on establishing a general understanding of global issues and international collaboration and encouraged students to consider the global issues they hold important. Invited guest speakers generously shared their personal journeys of finding their passions to exemplify how the students might engage with global issues on a local and grassroots scale.

Hearing the inaugural class’s conviction and sense of growth, I am grateful to have been a part of their education as young leaders, and I look forward to seeing where their curiosity takes them next.

After feeling a bit overwhelmed by the weight of the world, students were eager to understand how to make these problems approachable. In our final unit on entrepreneurship, the class explored how Silicon Valley entrepreneurs applied a growth mindset—which normalizes and embraces failure to achieve success—to stay innovative and reach for new solutions. Students practiced their own innovation skills through Design Thinking and learned how to collaborate as a team to create stronger ideas. Lastly, the students considered how to take care of their mental health and well-being as they pursue their goals through practicing mindfulness and finding supports.

The program culminated in a final research project where students had the opportunity to take a turn in the instructor’s seat and teach the class about the issues that sparked their passion and curiosity. With a 3–5 minute presentation written and delivered in English, students challenged themselves to apply the communication skills, analysis, and self-reflection they had practiced throughout the course. They rose to the challenge with determination and compassion.

During the in-person closing ceremony, students came up one by one to share their reflections and lessons learned. Many of their statements echoed a similar tune—a confession of a nervous and intimidated mindset at the outset of the program, a desire to push themselves in order to broaden their skills and perspectives, and a goal to continue their learning journeys with empathy as their guide. Hearing the inaugural class’s conviction and sense of growth, I am grateful to have been a part of their education as young leaders, and I look forward to seeing where their curiosity takes them next.

I am enormously grateful to all of the Stanford e-Sendai Ikuei guest speakers for their shared knowledge, experience, and mentorship:

  • Esther Priscilla Ebuehi, Birth Equity Analyst, Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies
  • Kenji Harsch, Associate Clinical Social Worker, Fred Finch Youth & Family Services
  • Makiko Hirata, Professional Pianist and SPICE Instructor
  • Rebecca Jennison, Professor, Kyoto Seika University
  • Sukemasa Kabeyama, Co-Founder and CEO, Uplift Labs
  • Gary Mukai, Director, SPICE
  • Jennifer Teeter, Lecturer, Kyoto Seika University
  • Samanta Vásquez, Social Worker, Office of Refugee Resettlement
  • Sam Yee, Senior Program Coordinator, GPI US, and the GPI US Design Team
     

I would like to give a special thank you to Principal Takehiko Katoh, the Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School staff, and my partner coordinator at Sendai Ikuei Gakuen Rina Imagawa for their endless support and assistance to make this course possible.

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

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Stanford e-Sendai Ikuei introduces students to the topics of diversity, global citizenship, and entrepreneurship.

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Elizabeth Plasencia
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The following is a guest article written by Elizabeth Plasencia, graduate student at UCLA who studied at the University of Tokyo in fall 2022. Plasencia enrolled in a course at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Education called “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education,” which was co-taught by SPICE Director Dr. Gary Mukai and former CASEER Director Dr. Hideto Fukudome. SPICE will feature several student reflections on the course in 2023.

I am a second-year Master of Public Policy student at UCLA and studied abroad at the University of Tokyo during fall semester 2022 as an exchange student. I was born in Jalostotitlán, Jalisco, Mexico and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Since my admission to UCLA, I wanted to gain a global perspective during my graduate studies. I decided to challenge myself both culturally and intellectually while embracing a spectrum of commerce, creativity, and community in Japan—beyond the fabric of red, white, and blue.

As part of my research in policy studies, I decided to enroll in the SPICE-CASEER course, “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education,” specifically to learn about educational policy, especially in the areas of ethnic studies and the multi-dimensional purposes of critical pedagogies in the classroom. The SPICE-CASEER course expanded my learning experience through the lens of my classmates’ perspectives, which greatly helped to broaden my interest and appreciation in educational policy and advocacy for educational equity. In addition, for my course research project, I decided not to limit my coursework and research to one specific policy interest. Since my broad interest lies at the intersection of ethnic studies, immigration, and education policy, I decided to explore this intersection through students at the University of Tokyo. I became culturally aware of students’ academic journeys through social and economic factors in their home countries. These stories were derived from interviews of students from Japan, China, Singapore, Mexico, Ecuador, Iran, India, and Saudi Arabia who represented a broad range of disciplines including engineering, education, and policy studies.

Reflecting on my life and the SPICE-CASEER course, I have come to realize that the fabric of diversity and inclusion starts in the classroom and translates into the workplace and that this fabric is shaped by culture.

Understanding global citizenship is the starting point needed to sharpen one’s toolbox to prepare for the workforce, and taking courses such as this one allowed me the opportunity to study at a research institution such as the University of Tokyo as an international policy novice.

My experiences abroad allowed me to experience a transformative journey of personal development; become flexible and adaptable; witness identities transcend into classrooms from all corners of the world; and embrace a multi-dimensional perspective within policy studies. I learned that public policy reaches a different level of sophistication when pertaining to societal goals and global citizenship through policy makers, researchers, teachers, and students.

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SPICE and the Center for Advanced School Education & Evidence-Based Research (CASEER) at the University of Tokyo offered a fall 2022 Graduate School of Education course.

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Yoyo Chang
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Stanford e-China endowed me with a lifelong thinking-into-action mindset—Design Thinking. Over the ten weeks of the course, Stanford e-China (SeC) exposed our class of students to cutting-edge technologies touching many corners of global society: health tech, green tech, finance tech, artificial intelligence, and on and on. Sitting in front of our small display screens, we travelled miles and miles from different Chinese cities to meet at the door of Silicon Valley. Along this academically rigorous journey, the Design Thinking mindset braced our flight. At the same time, a spirit of collaboration pushed us further and higher, aided by the inspiring, personal stories of experts in various tech fields.

From friendly classmates to amiable instructors to prestigious professors, every individual in our SeC family was full of friendliness and insight, the key to the unceasing flow of energy that perpetuated the whole course. The program’s encouraging theme accentuated the spirit of “coopetition” between the world’s two tech giants: the United States and China. The reading materials that instructor Carey Moncaster helpfully provided strengthened my global awareness, delving into interesting U.S.–China “coopetitive” innovations in, for example, industrial (semiconductor chains) and green (renewable energy resources) technologies.

Another memorable takeaway was the spirit of the whole cohort. The class never ran out of questions and discussions. Each student being intellectually curious, we hit on meaningful questions that unveiled greater nuances about the topics; our patient and enthusiastic instructors and professors always provided rich explanations, juicing up the content with animated examples and demonstrations. Every one of us, students and teachers, was sincere and passionate about sharing personal perspectives and learning from each other. Without a doubt, the learning atmosphere of SeC boosted my confidence and engagement in academic discussions and highlighted the value of a cooperative, communicative classroom.

As a young girl who sometimes becomes directionless about the vast future waiting ahead, Design Thinking empowers me with confidence and control over my life.

Yet another high spot of the program was the exciting collaboration between our cohort and students from another course, the China Scholars Program (CSP). Before the collaboration session, it was intriguing to learn how Stanford supported students across the United States to probe into the Chinese cultural, social, and political contexts. Distanced miles apart over the Pacific Ocean, it was a golden opportunity for us, both American and Chinese students, to work together, cross-culturally, on the global issue of environmental sustainability. Despite the significant cultural gaps, it was inspirational and warming to find existing bonds among us: we have the unanimous aim as global citizens to protect Mother Planet and promote a spirit of collaboration. In fact, the clashes and exchanges of perspectives resulting from our social and cultural gaps fruitfully added to the diversity and progression of our ideas.

It was remarkable to see the universality of Design Thinking through the collaboration. On the one hand, the SeC cohort systematically studied and applied the different steps of Design Thinking, specifically in the scope of technological innovations. On the other hand, the CSP students closely examined the contemporary Chinese contexts, making it easy for American students to empathize with the Chinese group. Together, we devised different sustainable legislations and products, for example, pipe filter masks to reduce vehicle exhaust and fintech applications to manage crowds of people at recreation sites. The experience itself magnified the power and significance of empathy, an essential step of Design Thinking, in every problem’s solution.

At the end of the course, it was an honor that my final StressOFF project (which aims to reduce Chinese teenagers’ academic stress through a virtual assistant application) got acknowledged and helped identify me as one of the course’s honorees! The journey did not end there. Genuinely concerned about Chinese high school students’ academic anxiety, I assembled a couple of schoolmates who were also interested in the topic. Together, we entered and won a neuroscience business pitching competition with our PANHUG business proposal, a hugging machine product with multi-dimensional soothing functions. But the greater importance of Design Thinking came to me later.

Near the end of the course, Ms. Moncaster brought us the book Designing Your Life, by two Stanford professors, which added a new dimension to my understanding of the Design Thinking mindset. Design Thinking can be applied to more than technological innovations or the launching of business projects. It relates to undergraduate majors, work opportunities, health routines, and relationship management. Just as technological innovations integrate into every corner of society, Design Thinking lives in every corner of life. It was such a blessing for me to join Stanford e-China and plant a Design Thinking seed.

Design Thinking is the compass of life. It is a lifelong, human-centered mindset. As a young girl who sometimes becomes directionless about the vast future waiting ahead, Design Thinking empowers me with confidence and control over my life. It pushes me to actively feel and think, empathizing and formulating what I sincerely want to pursue. Design Thinking impels us to act.

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The following article is a guest post written by Yoyo Chang, an alumna and honoree of the Spring 2021 Stanford e-China Program. Currently, Yoyo is a junior at Shenzhen College of International Education in China.

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Gary Mukai
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The roots of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) date back to the establishment of the Bay Area China Education Project (BAYCEP), Stanford University, in 1973. BAYCEP was initially a joint project with the University of California, Berkeley, and was developed out of concern for how China was being taught in schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the mid- to late 1970s, three other parallel projects were developed: Teaching Japan in the Schools (TJS), Proyecto REAL: Recursos Educacionales de América Latina, and the Africa Project. Together with BAYCEP, these projects became the nucleus of SPICE, which was established in 1976. The founding director of BAYCEP and SPICE was David Grossman.

As BAYCEP extended its work with teachers beyond the San Francisco Bay Area, its name was changed to the China Project. In the 1980s, TJS became the Japan Project and Proyecto REAL became the Latin America Project. In 1983, the International Security and Arms Control (ISAAC) Project was added as SPICE’s first non-area-specific project. Finally, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, two other projects were added to SPICE: The Western Europe Project and the Eastern Europe & Soviet Union Project.

Today, though SPICE is no longer comprised of area- or topic-focused projects, SPICE remains committed to making Stanford scholarship on global issues accessible to K–12 and community college educators and teachers. SPICE’s work emphasizes many of the key thematic foci of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, such as governance, security, global health, energy, and international development. For nearly five decades, SPICE has engaged scholars at Stanford University in making Stanford scholarship accessible to young students.

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David Grossman

On November 12, 2022, staff from the early years of SPICE gathered in San Jose, California, to celebrate Grossman’s 80th birthday. Grossman reflected, “that evening was truly one of the highlights of my life and an emotional high. The warmth and camaraderie were exceptional, and I felt the affection and respect deeply. I mark this occasion as a signature moment in my 80 years. Add something about the approaching 50-year anniversary since the founding of BAYCEP.”

The past BAYCEP and SPICE Directors are David Grossman, BAYCEP/SPICE Founding Director, 1973–1987; Judith Wooster, SPICE Director, 1988–90; and Jane Boston, SPICE Director, 1990–97. Grossman was my academic advisor at Stanford in 1980 and I joined SPICE in 1988 and I have had the honor of serving as SPICE Director since 1999. SPICE staff (past and present) and I feel an indebtedness to Grossman for his vision with BAYCEP and SPICE.

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The roots of SPICE date back to 1973.

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Applications are now open for the Virtual East Asia Seminar for High School Teachers, a free teacher professional development opportunity for high school educators in California who wish to enhance their teaching of East Asia. Offered by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), this seminar will select 20 teachers to participate in five virtual sessions from January to May 2023.

The application form is now live at https://forms.gle/nDcCTFTWTHTnpZPi7. The deadline to apply is January 13, 2023.

High school teachers in California are eligible to apply. Selected teachers will strengthen their content knowledge of East Asia by learning from experts in a series of private virtual seminars via Zoom on the following Tuesdays, 4:00 to 5:30pm Pacific Time: January 31, February 28, March 21, April 18, and May 16. Throughout the program, participants will explore and examine various aspects of East Asia, U.S.–Asia relations, and the Asian diaspora in the United States. 

To help support their teaching of East Asia in the classroom, participants will receive extensive teaching resources and an opportunity to engage in discussions about content and pedagogy. Teachers who attend the five Zoom sessions, complete pre-assigned readings, and participate in group discussions will receive a $300 professional stipend, and will be eligible to receive three quarter credits (3 units) from Stanford Continuing Studies.

“We are thrilled to be offering our virtual seminar series on East Asia to high school teachers again in 2023,” remarked Naomi Funahashi, Manager of Teacher Professional Development at SPICE. “We look forward to engaging teachers with content lectures, small group discussions, and curricular resources on East Asia and the diversity of the Asian American experience. Hopefully this will create an opportunity for sharing new perspectives and pedagogical approaches in an online community of like-minded, passionate educators from throughout California.”

For more information about the Virtual SPICE/NCTA East Asia Seminar for High School Teachers, visit the program webpage. To apply, submit the online application by January 13, 2023.

To be notified of other professional development opportunities, join SPICE’s email list and follow SPICE on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

12/14/22 EDIT: Eligibility guidelines have been updated. This program was originally intended for a national audience. However, SPICE was asked to only recruit from California.

 

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High school teachers in California are eligible to apply.

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Gary Mukai
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In 2019 at the suggestion and with the support of Hiroshima Prefectural Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, SPICE launched the Stanford-Hiroshima Collaborative Program on Entrepreneurship (SHCPE), an online course for MBA students that was conceptualized in consultation with the Hiroshima Business and Management School at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima. Yuzaki is an MBA graduate of Stanford Graduate School of Business and has been unwavering in his commitment to encouraging collaboration between Hiroshima Prefecture and Stanford University.

During the week of November 14, 2022, SHCPE Instructors Mariko Yang-Yoshihara and Meiko Kotani welcomed HBMS faculty members Yasuo Tsuchimoto and Narumi Yoshikawa and SHCPE alumni and students to Stanford University. Among the many activities of the week, Yang-Yoshihara and Kotani organized a session that focused on “Comparing the Entrepreneurial Mindset in the U.S. and Japan” that featured student Kai Kaplinsky and comments from Japanese business leaders Toshiko Tassone, Tatsuki Tomita, and Maki Kaplinsky; and a lecture on “Regenerative Medicine for Heart Failure” by cardiologist faculty member Phillip Yang, Stanford University School of Medicine. Also, Tsuchimoto and Yoshikawa organized tours to Google and Cisco and a talk with Japanese entrepreneur Shun Maki.

In addition to Silicon Valley-focused sessions and tours, I led a session called “Before Silicon Valley” that focused on early Japanese immigrants and their contributions to agriculture in Santa Clara County as a way to provide some historical context for the visitors’ understanding of what is now known as Silicon Valley. My grandparents, who were immigrants to the United States from Hiroshima, were migrant farmworkers and sharecroppers in Santa Clara County as well as in many other counties in California before and after World War II.

In all of the years that I have been a part of Japanese visits to the greater Bay Area, I have never accompanied visitors to a farm as a way to provide an appreciation for the historical context of what is now known as Silicon Valley.

Yang-Yoshihara and Kotani decided to provide the students and alumni a glimpse into what such contributions to agriculture were like by arranging a visit to Hikari Farms in Watsonville, California. Hikari Farms is an organic greenhouse business that specializes in Asian vegetables. The students were treated to a lecture by Janet Nagamine of Hikari Farms. Janet, who concurrently works as a medical doctor, informed the students and alumni that her father Akira came to the United States in 1956 with only $24.32. He eventually founded A. Nagamine Nursery, which specialized in flowers in 1967, in Watsonville. With the decline of the flower industry in the United States, Akira began to grow vegetables. Janet explained that the recently renamed Hikari Farms is a way for her to connect with her Japanese heritage and to also honor her parents’ decades-long dedication to farming.

During her lecture, Janet explained that she sells not only organic vegetables but also a philosophy about the positive health effects of consuming organic foods. With a father and mother who are 97 and 101 respectively, and the fact that Janet is a medical doctor, her philosophy seemed to resonate among the students and alumni.

In their closing reflections at the end of the week, several of the students and alumni expressed gratitude for the visit to Hikari Farms and to the Nagamines. In all of the years that I have been a part of Japanese visits to the greater Bay Area, I have never accompanied visitors to a farm as a way to provide an appreciation for the historical context of what is now known as Silicon Valley. I am also grateful to the Nagamines as the tour of their farm was like a journey back to my childhood as an agricultural worker.

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SPICE/Stanford and Hiroshima

Collaboration between SPICE and Hiroshima continues to grow.
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Students and staff of the 2019 Stanford-Hiroshima Collaborative Program on Entrepreneurship (SHCPE)
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Stanford-Hiroshima Collaborative Program on Entrepreneurship: Reflections

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Stanford e-Hiroshima is an online course for high school students created by SPICE and Hiroshima Prefecture
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Stanford e-Hiroshima, SPICE’s Newest Online Course for High School Students: Sharing Cranes Across the Pacific

Stanford e-Hiroshima, SPICE’s Newest Online Course for High School Students: Sharing Cranes Across the Pacific
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Students and alumni of HBMS visit Stanford, Silicon Valley, and Hikari Farms.

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Hideto Fukudome
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The following is a guest article written by Professor Hideto Fukudome, Graduate School of Education, the University of Tokyo. Fukudome was also the Director of the Center for Advanced School Education & Evidence-Based Research (CASEER) at the Graduate School of Education until March 2022.

I invited Dr. Gary Mukai, SPICE Director, to the University of Tokyo as an invitational fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). JSPS accepted our collaborative research plan, “Enhancement of U.S.–Japan Cultural Exchange Based on International and Cross-Cultural Education” and Gary stayed at the University of Tokyo from late September to mid-November 2022.

CASEER has been working with SPICE since the fall of 2021 to promote research exchange through the “SPICE/Stanford-UTokyo Partnership Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education and Global Citizenship.” During the Autumn 2022 semester, Gary and I taught a course at the Graduate School of Education called “Introduction to International and Cross-Cultural Education.” These are great learning opportunities for UTokyo students and for me as well.

I enjoyed spending time with Gary daily and learning many things from him. I am a higher education scholar and have studied American colleges and universities from a comparative and historical perspectives. American universities are unique in many ways. In particular, the diversity of missions and objectives of higher education institutions and the corresponding diversity of educational offerings and approaches can provide tremendous insight into American higher education. On the other hand, I also understand that diversity in the United States involves complicated issues that are closely related to the history of the country’s origins and its challenging social problems. The United States has a social structure that requires people to respect diversity at all times. However, despite the complex issues, I can say without a doubt that respect for diversity has shaped the vitality of the United States as a country and of American higher learning.

 

Diversity is multidimensional, and a comprehensive understanding of diversity is not straightforward. However, there is no doubt that a willingness to focus on and consider diversity will help us to be more flexible and cultivate a multifaceted perspective.

I studied in the United States for the first time in 1999. One of the things that impressed me the most was that consideration for people with disabilities was widespread in universities and every corner of society. More than 20 years have passed since then, and I believe that what diversity means in the United States has changed dramatically. In Japan, until recently, people scarcely mentioned the word “diversity” in society. Many Japanese have perceived Japan as a monolithic country in terms of language, culture, and so on, though this is not valid. Japanese society is undoubtedly becoming more diverse. At the same time, there has been a growing awareness, albeit belatedly, that diversity, which people should have taken into consideration, has been largely overlooked in the mindset of Japanese people.

The University of Tokyo is considered the most competitive university in Japan in terms of admission. Many students come from elite private high schools in metropolitan areas. There has been little diversity in the composition of students and faculty. One of the serious issues is that the percentage of female undergraduates has only recently exceeded 20 percent. This situation is surprising given the current state of universities around the world. However, for a long time in Japan, women were not required to have high academic credentials, and various “cooling” functions were in place before they got into college.

However, the University of Tokyo has recently begun a serious effort to increase diversity and inclusion. I believe this move is significant for the future of Japanese universities and society. The School of Education is also working to promote this movement. For many years, Japanese education has focused on academic achievement in a narrow sense as an indicator for evaluating students. However, I have come to realize that by looking at the diversity of human beings, we can capture a wide range of individual characteristics. Among other things, I have come to understand this since I met Gary several years ago, and we have discussed many things. Through stories grounded in Gary’s upbringing as a third-generation Japanese American and the interactions with SPICE people, I have developed a greater appreciation for cultural diversity.

Diversity is multidimensional, and a comprehensive understanding of diversity is not straightforward. However, there is no doubt that a willingness to focus on and consider diversity will help us to be more flexible and cultivate a multifaceted perspective. In this sense, I believe applying and extending what I have learned in our classes with Gary to my teaching and research is essential.

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gate to University of Tokyo
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Stanford e-Japan: A Turning Point in My Life

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Stanford e-Japan: A Turning Point in My Life
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Collaboration between the Graduate School of Education, the University of Tokyo and SPICE/Stanford offers opportunities to discuss education and diversity.

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Noah Kurima
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I feel it on my 3-minute walk to campus. At times, it is subtle; the quiet yet furious pace of students late for classes in Building 11. At times, it is pretentious; the Shinjuku laughter of the working men and women in their blue suits, escaping their offices for a night of ramen, beer, and karaoke. It is the pulse of the greatest city on Earth. It is the beat of life that I now see, feel, and hear every day in the heart of Tokyo as a freshman at Waseda University.

Where I grew up, there was a beach. My friends and I often spent time there, especially when the pandemic hit Southern California. It was our getaway from the outside world, a sanctuary of calm instilled by the rolling of waves and the bobbing of dolphins. But it was also a haven to find inspiration in the unrelenting freedom of the seabirds, simple creatures finding the courage to spread their wings and trust in the fortunes of the winds to soar above us all.

Driven by this inspiration, I applied to the Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP), knowing the improbability of being accepted into a competitive program at Stanford University. I did not have perfect grades nor the brand name of a famous high school. What I did have was the courage to spread my wings and trust in the fortunes of the winds. I had a story to tell, and unbelievably, RSP Instructor Naomi Funahashi chose to listen.

By far, RSP was my favorite class during high school. I cannot clearly articulate why—it was a confluence of fascinating content, thought-provoking classmates, captivating guest speakers, and our inspiring professor and guide.

The course was essentially a retelling of my family’s past, beginning with Amaterasu emerging from darkness to losses in battle during the Genpei War. More relevant and recent to the personal connections and experiences of my own parents, we studied about the Zainichi Koreans and incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. RSP was my history… as well as my future, as it turns out.

RSP ignited the realization of my deep, hidden connections to Japan. Six months after RSP concluded, I successfully applied to four Japanese universities and chose to study International Relations at Waseda University. I spread my wings as broadly as I could, and the winds took me from the quiet San Diego suburb of Carlsbad (think of Mitsuha’s Itomori) to the maze of skyscrapers and shrines that is downtown Tokyo.

It is funny how one seemingly insignificant decision—for me, having the courage to apply to RSP—can change the course of one’s life. It was in RSP that I began to hear the steady pulse of my homeland beckoning my return. It was RSP that gave me the courage to spread my wings. And it was because of RSP that I now find myself breathing in, savoring and experiencing the energy and adventure that is the lifeblood of my new home, the capital city of Japan: Tokyo.

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The Missing Fragments of My Japanese Identity

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Finding My Place in the RSP & the U.S.–Japan Relationship

The following reflection is a guest post written by Kristine Pashin, an alumna of the Reischauer Scholars Program, which will begin accepting student applications on September 6, 2021.
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Brandon Cho at Todaiji Temple, Nara
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A Journey Through Time: The RSP as a Gateway from the Past to My Future

The following reflection is a guest post written by Brandon Cho, an alumnus of the Reischauer Scholars Program.
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The following reflection is a guest post written by Noah Kurima, a 2021 alumnus of the Reischauer Scholars Program.

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