JAPAN WIZARDS COMPETITION
The Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) is a challenging, fun-filled academic team competition that tests high school students on different aspects of Japan. It is open to Hawaii’s high school students who are studying Japanese or have an interest in Japan and they compete as members of three-person teams representing their schools. It goes beyond language and asks students about their knowledge of Japanese art and culture, daily life and customs, economy, food, geography, history, politics and government, religion, U.S./Hawaii-Japan ties and more.
The students who participate in this competition develop life-long skills in research, teamwork, personal responsibility, and experience working under pressure. The JWC also seeks to stimulate students’ continuing study of Japan and the important U.S.-Japan relationship with a focus on understanding different cultures and people with different perspectives, and encourage them to become the next generation of Nichibei (U.S.-Japan) leaders.
The Japan Wizards Competition is not just a stressful quiz bowl!
Each year, four top-scoring teams, two private and two public, are awarded trips to Japan to experience in real life what they studied for the competition. It also features fun, creative and informative components including Activity Center, College Fair, and Video Awards.
Prior to the competition, each registered team is invited to create a short video on a topic related to Japan for a chance to win prizes and earn bonus points towards the total points which determine the Japan trip winners. Between competition rounds, students are kept busy at Activity Center, where they can gain hands-on experience in Japanese arts and cultural activities, such as origami, gyotaku fish printing, hanafuda, fukuwarai, chopsticks game, manga drawing and many more. Students are also provided opportunities to explore higher education options in Japan and Hawaii by JASH corporate members and supporting institutions.
ABOUT THE 21st JAPAN WIZARDS COMPETITION
More information for our 21st Japan Wizards Competition will be available in Fall 2023!
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 2023. 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 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 January 31, 2024. 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 Hawaiian Airlines, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, Freeman Foundation, Kosasa Foundation, and the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.
WHAT ABOUT NEIGHBOR ISLAND PARTICIPANTS?
JASH has 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.
HOW TO REGISTER YOUR TEAM(S)
Registration will open Fall 2023.
All teams will be accepted based on time of receipt of registration. A school may enter up to two teams, one at each level, and one filler team for either level. Please see the registration packet for further details, competition rules, and important dates.
Registration packets may be mailed (postmarked), faxed, emailed, or submitted digitally to JASH by the registration deadline. This includes Consent Forms for each team member and advisor.
DOWNLOADS & IMPORTANT LINKS
Add up to 20 points to your competition score! Each time is asked to create a short video that shows all three students on camera (talking/music optional). The topic of the video, details on submission, and rubric will be emailed to each registered team advisor later this fall. Please see the Registration Packet for additional details.
Please contact Cindy directly at email@example.com or 808-524-4450 if you have any questions about the Japan Wizards Competition.
A total of four top scoring teams will be awarded a trip to Japan in the summer to experience in real life what they studied in preparation for the competition and what they learned in the classroom. Each winning team must create their own itinerary, incorporating a one-day educational visit that JASH arranges, which is hosted by our colleagues and partners in Japan, including America-Japan Society of Tama Tokyo; Ehime Prefectural International Center; International Christian University; Nagaoka International Exchange Association; Temple University Japan Campus; Tokai University; U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, etc.
Feedback from Past JWC Trip Winners
“I feel so lucky that I was able to meet so many people, all the way from Ehime to Tokyo. Not once had I ever imagined going on such an exciting and life-changing trip whilst sharing once-in-a-lifetime memories with my Wizards team. My passion for the Japanese language has grown to new heights and I plan on returning back to Japan once my speaking, reading, and writing have improved.”
- Jessica Matsuda from Hawaii Baptist Academy
(2019 JWC, Dr. Michael Leineweber Trip Award Winner)
In Fukuoka, the team visited the U.S. Consulate to meet with Principal Officer Joy Sakurai, who informed them of the importance of U.S. and Japan ties.
"This day was a great reminder of how important it is to hold a strong relationship with Japan and that you do not need to be an incredible person to start. These ties can begin with something as simple as having a chat over dinner with locals about your own personal lifestyles, which I find incredibly valuable.”
- Phoebe-Kate Bancaco from H.P Baldwin High School
(2019 JWC, Level B Public Second-Place Winner)
Recalling their cultural exchange visit to Tokai University Yoyogi Campus,
“we could understand one another and speak our thoughts. We learned about their business, their lifestyle in college, and ate Japanese food… I feel that this learning is necessary to improve our bonds with Japan.”
- April Murakami from Kapaa High School
(2019 JWC, Level B Public First-Place Winner)
The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) is looking for enthusiastic volunteers (college-aged or older) interested in working with us to make our Japan Wizards Competition a success.
You do not have to be a JWC alumni, nor do you have to be fluent in Japanese.
Volunteers will receive training at our mandatory Volunteer Orientation (date for 2024 TBA).
All volunteers will receive a JWC t-shirt and other goodies. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided.
More information about signing up to be a volunteer will be released as we start preparing for our 2024 program.
“I feel better connected to my culture/ancestry and also have made so many connections within my knowledge of Japanese things. It was really fulfilling to see how so many topics and ideas overlap in the big picture. I also had a chance to get to know and befriend some amazing girls (my teammates) who share the same passion for Japan’s culture! The memories I made from this entire experience have been more than worthwhile!”
“I learned a lot that I most certainly would not have known or bothered to look for, and found motivation to push myself studying Japanese.”
“Being able to compete in the Japan Wizards Competition gave my team a chance to go to Japan. The trip to Japan sounded very fun for my team, and working hard towards that goal was very beneficial. It felt rewarding! It not only taught me Japanese culture and history, it also helped to improve on my everyday life skills. I learned how to be a better leader, student, teammate and friend. I especially learned how to adapt to new situations during this year’s competition."
“I was motivated to learn more about Japan’s language, culture and traditions through this competition. Last year my team participated in the JWC, but we didn’t win. Our loss made me very motivated to try again and work harder towards our goal."
“I was really happy to have had the opportunity to participate in this challenge in spite of the pandemic, even if my team did not win. I really learned (not just memorized) a lot about Japanese culture and history, and I’m sure that this information will help me when I finally get to go to Japan.”
“JWC helps students value learning, improves research skills, helps them with time management and strengthen determination and effort, reading/listening carefully, to name a few. It is amazing how the students gain knowledge about Japan that most people get in college courses or from living in Japan.”
“The competition is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and study together. They develop teamwork and cooperation, practice responsibility and leadership, and have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the competition.”
“It’s an excellent opportunity to know how students in other schools are doing. Comparing their knowledge to their peers is essential and beneficial to increase their motivation to study harder.”
“I was glad to see the happiness and enthusiasm from the students. This in itself was beneficial to see students working hard to become global citizens.”
“I always learn new things about Japan from the questions! Also, I get inspired and motivated to study or work hard after seeing all these students.”
“It was very inspiring to see all the students at the competition, and was nice to know all the supporting and caring volunteers and staff at JASH to motivate students to study Japanese.”