Four High School Teams Earn Trips to Japan through the Japan Wizards Competition

JASH President Ed Hawkins, JASH Chairman Dan Dinell, Hawaiian Airlines’ Vicki Nakata, JTB Hawaii’s Keiichi Tsujino and David Asunama, and JASH Director Jean Rolles pose with the four winning teams

This year, 135 students representing 24 schools from Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, and Maui competed in the 11th annual Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) held at Kapiolani Community College (KCC). This marks the third year that Hawaiian Airlines graciously served as overall sponsor. 

JASH President Edwin Hawkins welcomed the high school students and thanked Hawaiian Airlines and other major supporters – ABC Stores, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, JTB Hawaii, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

This year, 45 teams competed in two skill levels. The teams were tested on their knowledge of Japanese art, culture and tradition, food, geography, history, Japan-Hawaii ties, literature, politics and government, sports, contemporary Japan, and of course the Japanese language.

Students learn how to fold Origami with volunteers from the Hawaii Origami Club

The top three scoring teams in each of two levels were awarded plaques. In Level A, these were Iolani School (1st place), King Kekaulike High School (2nd place), and Waiakea High School (3rd place). The Level B winners were Iolani School (1st place), Maryknoll School (2nd place), and Kalani High School (3rd place). The top scoring public and private school of each level were awarded trips to Japan. These teams (three students and an advisor) will travel to Japan this summer to experience firsthand what they studied in the classroom and through independent research. This year’s Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship went to overall top scoring team Iolani School, Level B.

Volunteers teach students the Tea Ceremony

Between competition rounds, students were kept busy with the numerous activity stations in the Activity Center. These included origami by the Hawaii Origami Club, calligraphy, gyotaku fish printing by Prior 2 Pupu Productions, karuta, a tea ceremony demonstration, and Jeopardy to name a few. The Ken Yu Kai Kendo Club provided a kendo demonstration to start the Activities.

This year, Temple University of Japan was a major sponsor, donating the Japan Wizards Competition t-shirts worn by all students, advisors, and volunteers. JASH would like to thank all the donors and supporters, including Kapiolani Community College for the generous use of their facilities.