JASH Japan Wizards Competition Sends Five Teams to Japan in Summer 2017

On February 25, 2017, 126 students representing 25 high schools from Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai participated in the 14th Annual Japan-America Society of Hawaii’s (JASH) Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) at Kapiolani Community College. Teams were comprised of three students each, with a total of 42 teams competing.  The 42 teams competed in one of two levels, A or B, depending on the Japanese language class they were enrolled in at their respective high school. Students 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. Four winning teams are awarded trips to Japan at the end of the event.

At the conclusion of the JWC, the annual Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship, given by JASH Board Member Ms. Ina Tateuchi in honor of her late husband, Atsuhiko Tateuchi, who was a strong supporter of JASH and the Japan Wizards Competition, 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.

Mid-Pacific Level A team wins the Atsuhiko Tateuchi Memorial Award for Outstanding Scholarship

JASH awarded Japan trips to the top scoring public and private school teams in each level.  Level A: Mid-Pacific and Kapolei High School and Level B: Punahou School and Moanalua High School.  Additionally, Island Pacific Academy Level A was randomly selected to receive the Dr. Leineweber Trip Award, thanks to the generous donation from JASH Board Member and Educational Committee Chair Ms. Jean Rolles.  This award is named after her friend and former JASH Board member, Dr. Michael Leineweber, who passed away in 2014.

The Japan Wizards Competition title sponsor, Hawaiian Airlines, sponsored the winning teams’ airfare to Japan. Students and their advisor travelled to Japan this summer to experience firsthand what they studied in the classroom and through independent research. Each team created their own itinerary, incorporating an educational program visit that JASH arranged 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.

Punahou students Lauren Kim and Jessie Zhan learn the basics of calligraphy at Matsuyama Minami High School

The first team to visit Japan was Punahou School from June 2 – 10, 2017. The students traveled to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Ehime.  They were able to experience both the historical and modern sides of Japan by visiting places ranging from Matsuyama Castle in Ehime to Shibuya in Tokyo. While in Ehime, the team participated in a JASH-organized educational program at the Ehime Prefectural International Center (EPIC) and a tour around Matsuyama city by EPIC interns from Hawaii. In addition, the students attended an exchange program at Matsuyama Minami High School where they were able to get a taste of student life in Japan by listening in on an English class, learning calligraphy, and talking with Japanese students. “This experience made me realize how close Japan and America, more specifically, Hawaii and Ehime’s relationships are,” said Lauren Kim.

Mid-Pacific team meets with Principal Officer Joy Sakurai (second from left) at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka

Mid-Pacific was the next to embark on their adventure to Japan. From June 3 – 9, 2017, the team visited not only big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, but also unique places like Hagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Fukuoka. As team member Vincent Ooi wrote in his trip report, “I was glad to get a first-hand look at the different styles and traditions of the Japanese people.” In Hagi, the students saw historical sites such as the Shoin Shrine, Hagi Castle, and Shoka Sonuuku.  Afterwards, the team headed to Fukuoka and visited the American Consulate on a tour arranged by JASH. There, they met with Principal Officer Joy Sakurai and learned about her important diplomatic role and received a tour of the building and her residence. Kody Kimoto discovered “how the Consulate General helps out Americans in Japan, Japanese get to America, and host diplomatic parties.”  He noted that, “it was interesting to see how small functions, like parties, can affect U.S.-Japan relations, and how the Consulate General official’s houses need to be made in order to host these functions.”

Students from Island Pacific Academy show off their water color designs

The next to leave Honolulu were the winners of the Dr. Leineweber Trip Award: Island Pacific Academy. The team spent one week in Japan from June 14 – 20, 2017 and explored many modern sites such as Akihabara, Shibuya, and Harajuku and also several historical sites in and around Kyoto and Nara.  JASH arranged a tour for the team at Temple University Japan, where they were greeted with warm hospitality by the staff and students there.   Following their time in Tokyo, the team then traveled to Kyoto, where they visited famous sites such as the Fushimi-Inari Shrine and the Manga Museum.  One memorable event in Kyoto was having dinner at the home of their teacher’s host family.  While they were eating, a watercolor artist painted their faces. Mia Chapman said, “The paintings were amazing and I could not stop smiling that night. I loved going there for dinner and I wish I could go again.” Their last few days were spent in Nara and Osaka, before heading back to Tokyo.

Kapolei High School students meet with University students at Tokai University Shonan Campus

The fourth team to head to Japan was Kapolei High School. The team began their one week trip, June 15 – 24, 2017, in Kyoto, visiting the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji. Their next stop was in Hiroshima, where they visited Itsukushima shrine and Genbaku Domu (Peace Park and Museum), and for Haley Burford, “being exposed to this environment really opened [her] eyes to the truth that neither country blames the other for what happened and that they are working towards peace together.”  They then took the shinkansen to Tokyo where they stayed with a host family and enjoyed visiting numerous popular sites such as Tokyo Sky Tree, Asakusa and Akihabara.  In Tokyo, the team participated in a JASH sponsored educational visit at Tokai University Shonan Campus. There, they met with Chancellor Kiyoshi Yamada and Vice Chancellor Naoto Yoshikawa, received a campus tour, performed Hula for local students, and spent time with the students at the International Café.  Speaking with the students at the Tokai University Shonan Campus, Leah Peralta came to the “realization that in future endeavors speaking English won’t be enough when everyone in the world will most likely be bilingual.”

The team from Moanalua High School enjoyed a delicious dinner of fish from the Akigawa River hosted by America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo.

The students from Moanalua High School were the last to embark on their adventure, spending two weeks starting on July 5 – 19, 2017 visiting different areas of Japan.  At the beginning of their trip, the team had the privilege of spending two days with Mr. Shoichi Suzuki, President of the America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo.  Together, they toured the Edo-Tokyo Museum, went to an onsen, and then traveled to the Tama area of Tokyo where they enjoyed eating fish from the Akigawa River, learned how to make traditional Japanese paper, and toured a shoyu factory.   Student Tyler Spruill commented, “my favorite thing about varying cultures is being able to try different foods, so it was a wonderful time.”  Following their visit to Tama Tokyo, the students spent some time near Tokyo, visiting various theme parks in the region.  They then headed north to Fukushima Prefecture, where they had the chance to visit two schools:  Iwaki Kaisei and Sakuragaoka high schools. The trip to Fukushima allowed them to see the daily life and schedule of a Japanese high school student.

JASH would like to thank our overall sponsor, Hawaiian Airlines, for coordinating and donating the four winning teams’ flight arrangements, as well as our other major supporters – ABC Stores, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Freeman Foundation, Friends of Hawaii Charities, Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, JTB Hawaii, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, Temple University Japan, and Ms. Jean Rolles – for continuing to motivate students in Hawaii to study about Japan, its fascinating culture, and the U.S. – Japan relationship. Kody Kimoto of Mid-Pacific said, “after this experience (of traveling to Japan), I was truly able to appreciate the importance of U.S.- Japan relations.”

Because of the generous support of our donors and supporters, 15 students were able to have life-changing experiences and the immeasurable opportunity to learn about the country firsthand. Jessie Zhan from Punahou School describes her dreamlike journey, “words cannot express how grateful I am for this trip of a lifetime with my close friends at my number one traveling destination – Japan. I don’t know when I’ll get to revisit, but the bits and pieces of surprises that Japan brought me, along with the everlasting sparks during this trip, were not to be forgotten.”

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
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JASH Japan Wizards Competition

Registration is NOW CLOSED for the JASH Japan Wizards Competition, which will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Kapiolani Community College.

WHAT IS JAPAN WIZARDS?
Japan Wizards Competition is a challenging, fun-filled academic team competition for Hawaii’s high school students that tests students’ general knowledge of Japan and Japan-related fields.  The competition is sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization with the mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of the United States and Japan through the unique and special perspective of Hawaii.

WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE?
Japan Wizards is a great opportunity for students to team up with friends and classmates, learn about Japan, compete with peers from other Hawaii schools, and have a chance to experience the Japanese society and culture first-hand!  The Japan-America Society of Hawaii will send four teams – the top scoring public school teams and the top scoring private school teams for Levels A and B – on a trip to Japan in the summer of 2017.  A fifth team will also be selected to win a trip to Japan if they are picked as the recipient of the Dr. Michael Leineweber trip award.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There is NO CHARGE to participate in the Japan Wizards Competition, however a $100 penalty fee will be charged if the entire team drops out after February 1, 2017.  Schools will also be responsible to reimburse JASH for any direct expenses (such as airfare) incurred by the withdrawal.  Generous support for this Competition is provided by organizations such as Friends of Hawaii Charities, JTB Hawaii, and the Tateuchi Foundation.

WHAT ABOUT NEIGHBOR ISLAND PARTICIPANTS?
JASH hopes to have a limited number of round-trip tickets to and from Honolulu for the Competition (ground transportation not included).  Please indicate on the registration form whether your school needs airline tickets in order to participate in the competition, and complete all requested information on the registration form.

Please contact JASH directly at ebarrera@jashawaii.org or 808-524-4450 if you have any questions about the Japan Wizards Competition.

Click HERE for information on how to become a volunteer.

Five Teams Visit Japan This Summer through the JASH Japan Wizards Competition

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This summer, JASH gave five teams the opportunity to travel to Japan and experience first-hand the country and culture they had studied in preparation for the 2016 Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition (JWC) hosted by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH). The JWC in February gathered 28 high schools to compete in two categories, levels A and B, depending on Japanese language proficiency. The four winning teams of the JWC—Iolani School Levels A and B, Kauai High School Level B, and Leilehua High School Level A—received free trips to Japan for themselves and their advisors. In addition, this year, a generous donation from JASH Board Member and Educational Committee Chair Jean Rolles gave one additional team the chance to go to Japan: Island Pacific Academy Level A. This prize, named the Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award after Ms. Rolles’ fellow JASH Board member and friend who passed away in 2014, was awarded at random to one team from the top 20 scoring teams with over 100 points.  Thanks to Hawaiian Airlines, who sponsored the winning teams’ air fare to Japan, students and their advisors explored a variety of landmarks in Japan while traveling through the regions of Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai, Chubu, Chugoku and Shikoku.

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Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award Recipients- Island Pacific Academy

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IPA Level A in shock after receiving the Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award!

This summer, JASH gave five teams from Iolani School, Kauai High School, Leilehua High School, and Island Pacific Academy (IPA) the opportunity to travel to Japan and experience first-hand the country and culture they had studied in preparation for the 2016 Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition (JWC) hosted by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH). The JWC in February gathered 28 high schools to compete in groups of three in two categories, levels A and B, depending on their Japanese language level. The four winning teams of the JWC—Iolani School Levels A and B, Kauai High School Level B, and Leilehua High School Level A—received free trips to Japan for themselves and their advisors.

In addition, this year, a generous donation from JASH Board Member and Educational Committee Chair Jean Rolles gave one additional team the chance to go to Japan: Island Pacific Academy Level A. This prize, named the Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award after Ms. Rolles’ fellow JASH Board member and friend who passed away in 2014, was awarded at random to one team from the top 20 scoring teams with over 100 points.

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JWC Team From Iolani School Visits Matsuyama City

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JASH Japan Wizards Competition winners from Iolani School visited the city of Matsuyama on June 10, 2016. The students met with Ehime Prefectural International Center (EPIC) staff Noriko Omori and EPIC interns Yu and Jake. Together they enjoyed authentic Japanese food and tea at Funaya restaurant. After lunch, they strolled through Dogo Hot Spring Shopping Mall and climbed Matsuyama Castle. Although the students’ stay was brief, they were able to enjoy every bit of what Ehime had to offer them.Read More

Congratulations to the Winners of the 12th Annual JASH Japan Wizards Competition

JASH President Lenny Yajima with JASH Chair Daniel Dinell, JASH Directors David Asanuma, Sal Miwa, and Howard Hamamoto, JTB Hawaii’s Akio Hoshino, and the winning teams

Congratulations to the 129 students who represented 29 high schools on Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai at the 12th Annual Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at Kapiolani Community College (KCC)! The 44 student 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. We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s competition: Read More

2014 Japan Wizards Competition Winners Venture to Japan

Iolani JWC Level A team members make yakisoba with local high school students in Nagaoka

This past summer, four teams from Iolani School, Kalani High School and King Kekaulike High School traveled to Japan to experience all they had studied after winning the 2014 Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) hosted by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) in February. Student winners and their team advisors explored various landmarks and regions of Japan, utilizing the cultural knowledge and Japanese language skills they had acquired from the competition. King Kekaulike High School student winner Maya Ooki encapsulated the sentiments of all Japan trip winners: “The trip I’ve just recently taken to Japan has been one of the best opportunities I have ever had to broaden my mind and see the world from a different point of view! … Everywhere I went, I was surrounded by a completely different world, and I learned so much from my short time visiting. I’m very grateful to have [had] this opportunity and to have met the people I’ve seen.” Read More

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. Read More