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Japan Day 2013: honoring Reischauer scholars


Left to right: Kaylyn Cheape and Brittany Schulte

The Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) honored three of the top students of the 2013 Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP) and celebrated the tenth anniversary of the RSP at a Japan Day event at Stanford University on August 9, 2013. The three 2013 RSP Japan Day honorees—David Chao, Kaylyn Cheape, and Brittany Schulte—offered research presentations on a variety of Japan-related topics. The event also included inspiring presentations by 12 Japanese high school and college students from BEYOND Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization for students from the Tohoku region of Japan who are overcoming the adversities of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Japan Day featured welcoming comments by Gary Mukai, SPICE Director, and opening remarks on youth and the future of Japan and U.S.–Japan relations by Acting Consul General Nobuhiro Watanabe, Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. Acting Consul General Watanabe noted, “I am impressed by the students’ keen insight on Japan and Japan–U.S. relations. They are the ones to shoulder this relationship in the coming years and months, and we are very much looking forward to the day when these students will engage in furthering our two countries’ strong ties.”

Naomi Funahashi, the RSP Manager and Instructor, gave an overview of the RSP to the Japan Day audience of over 50 people. Named in honor of former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reischauer, a leading educator and noted scholar of Japanese history and culture, the RSP is an online course on Japan and U.S.–Japan relations that is offered annually to 25–30 high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors across the United States.

David ChaoDavid Chao (junior, The Thacher School; Ojai, CA), Kaylyn Cheape (senior, Leilehua High School; Wahiawa, HI) and Brittany Schulte (junior, Pinewood School; Los Altos, CA) were recognized for their coursework and exceptional research essays. They presented their research which focused on the following topics, respectively: the role of mass media in shaping public opinion in China and Japan, the dual crises of Japan’s aging population and shifting priorities of the Japanese healthcare system, and how the uniquely Japanese concern with mastery and perfection has played a role in guiding Japan’s economic success.

SPICE was honored to also welcome four RSP alumni to the Japan Day event: Joey Burnett (RSP 2006), Sekhar Paladugu (RSP 2007), Amy Ishiguro (RSP 2011), and Aryo Sorayya (RSP 2012). Their presence offered a reminder of the significant and lasting impact of the RSP on its students.

Commemorating a decade of developing future leaders, the RSP presents a creative and innovative approach to teaching high school students about Japan and U.S–Japan relations. The program provides American students with unique opportunities to interact with diplomats and top scholars affiliated with Stanford University, the University of Tokyo, the University of Hawaii, and other institutions through online lectures and discussions, and introduces both American and Japanese perspectives on many historical and contemporary issues. The RSPhonorees, the RSP alumni, and the visiting students from Japan enjoyed several opportunities throughout the day to engage in meaningful exchanges about their respective countries and the U.S.–Japan relationship. Both the RSP and BEYOND Tomorrow aim to cultivate future leaders, and Japan Day afforded a unique opportunity for dialog and possible collaboration between American and Japanese youth. Importantly, SPICE also presented a plaque to Professor Emeritus Daniel I. Okimoto, Stanford University, in honor of his support of the RSP since before its inception in 2003.

The distinguished RSP advisory committee members (Professor Emeritus Nisuke Ando, Doshisha University; Ambassador Michael H. Armacost, Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, Stanford University; Professor Phillip Lipscy, Stanford University, Professor Emeritus Daniel I. Okimoto, Stanford University) were all in attendance.

The RSP is currently funded by a generous three-year grant from the Center for Global Partnership, the Japan Foundation, and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.

The RSP will be accepting applications for the 2014 program in September and October 2013. For more information about the RSP, visit or contact Naomi Funahashi RSP Manager and Instructor, at