14th Annual JASH Japan Wizards Competition

2nd group shot of winners with VIPs

Winning teams of the 14th annual Japan Wizards Competition

Congratulations to the 126 students who represented 25 high schools from Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai at the 14th Annual Japan-America Society of Hawaii Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Kapiolani Community College! Teams were comprised of three students each, with a total of 42 teams competing. The 42 student teams were tested on their knowledge of various Japan-related topics such as art, culture and tradition, food, geography, history,  Japan-Hawaii ties, literature, politics and government, sports, contemporary Japan, and of course language.

Students were divided into two levels: Level A or Level B, depending on their current Japanese language level. Level A students are enrolled in Japanese I or II and Level B students are enrolled in Japanese III or IV.

We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s competition:
Level A 1st place: Mid-Pacific

Level A 2nd place: Kapolei High School
Level A 3rd place: Maryknoll School


Level B 1st place: Punahou School
Level B 2nd place: Moanalua High School
Level B 3rd place: Maui Prepatory Academy

The Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship, given by JASH Director Ina Tateuchi,  was awarded to the overall top scoring team in the competition, Mid-Pacific, Level A team. This team received a total of 240 points out of a possible 300 points at the competition.

JASH awarded Japan trips to the top scoring public and private school teams in each level. We are pleased to announce the JWC Japan trip winners:

Level A: Mid-Pacific Institute (private) and Kapolei High School (public)

Level B: Punahou School (private) and Moanalua High School (public)

In addition, JASH Board member and Educational Committee (K-12) Chair Jean E. Rolles sponsored a fifth award for a trip to Japan in honor of her friend and fellow JASH Board member, Dr. Michael Leineweber, who passed away in 2014. Dr. Leineweber was a loyal supporter of JASH who strongly believed in the educational programs that JASH conducts, especially those programs that encouraged exchanges between people from Japan and Hawaii. In his memory, Ms. Rolles sponsored a team chosen through a random drawing during the JWC awards ceremony. To be qualified for this drawing, the team must have scored at least 100 points and be in the top 20 scoring teams at the competition. The four teams who had already won Japan trips were not eligible for this drawing.

The winner of the Dr. Michael Leineweber award was: Island Pacific Academy, Level A

These five teams of three students and an advisor will travel to Japan this summer to experience firsthand what they studied in the classroom and through independent research. JASH will also arrange educational programs hosted by our colleagues in Japan: Temple University Japan; Tokai University; America-Japan Society of Tama-Tokyo, American Consulate in Fukuoka; and Ehime Prefectural International Center.

Between competition rounds, students were kept busy with numerous activity stations in the Activity Center. These included calligraphy, gyotaku fish printing by Prior 2 Pupu Productions, karuta, origami by Hawaii Origami Club, Jeopardy, fukuwarai, Pictionary, and other fun activities.


Students are taught the basics of hanafuda in the Activity Center


Students play Fukuwarai in the JWC Activity Center

Thank you to our overall JWC sponsor Hawaiian Airlines and other major supporters – ABC Stores, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Freeman Foundation, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, JTB Hawaii, Temple University Japan, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and Jean Rolles – who through the JWC encourage high school students to study Japan and the many fascinating topics associated with it.

JASH would also like to thank all the contributors who provided prizes, snacks, and other donations that assisted with the competition. Mahalo also to the 60+ volunteers representing the JET Alumni Association of Hawaii, UH Manoa, KCC, Hawaii Tokai International College, and American Savings Bank to name a few, that helped to run the JWC. Without their tremendous support, the competition would not have been possible. Finally, our gratitude goes to the President, Chancellor, and staff of Kapiolani Community College for the generous use of their facilities and for their support of the JASH Japan Wizards Competition.