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2018 JWC



Winning teams of the 15th annual Japan Wizards Competition

Congratulations to the 135 students who represented 27 high schools from Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai at the 15th Annual JASH Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition (JWC) on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Kapiolani Community College! Teams were comprised of three students each, with a total of 45 teams competing. The 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.

Level A 1st place and Tateuchi Memorial Award winner: Hawaii Baptist Academy

Level A 2nd place: Iolani School Level A 3rd place: King Kekaulike High School

Level B 1st place: St. Andrew’s School Level B 2nd place: Mililani High School Level B 3rd place: King Kekaulike High School

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: Hawaii Baptist Academy (private) and King Kekaulike High School (public)

Level B: St. Andrew’s School (private) and Mililani High School (public)

In addition, JASH Board member and Youth Education Committee 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: Maui Preparatory Academy, Level A.

King Kekaulike High School (Level B), was also awarded a trip to Japan donated by a retired public school teacher, who chooses to remain anonymous. The donor expressed how her former students benefited from the JASH Japan Wizards Competition and requested that a second public school from Level B travel to Japan.

These six 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. The students will experience firsthand what they have studied in the classroom and through independent research. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Gannenmono,(the first group of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii) winning teams will also have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Emigration to Hawaii in Yamaguchi prefecture while in Japan.

This year, students were also invited to create a video that illustrates how the Gannenmono began to build a bridge of friendship between Japan and Hawaii and how can they (the students) be a bridge between Japan and Hawaii. The videos captured the pioneering spirit of the Gannenmono as well as illustrated the students’ appreciation of the important Japan-Hawaii/U.S. relationship.

Consul General Ito welcomes students to the Japan Wizards Competition

JASH received a total of 35 video entries that were shown at the JWC. 13 of those were selected as "finalists" of which four were given top awards in the following categories:

Most Creative: King Kekaulike HS Level A

Most Inspirational: Hilo HS Level A

Best depiction of the Gannenmono theme: Hawaii Baptist Academy Level A

Best depiction of the JASH theme - how to 'Be a Bridge': Iolani Level A

Video award winners stand with JASH President Reyna Kaneko

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, hanafuda, the chopsticks game and other fun activities.

Participants test their skills with chopsticks; students play the ohajiki game; a team member tries to make the face of fukuwarai; students fold their creations in origami

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

JASH President Reyna Kaneko announces the winners during the Tateuchi Awards Ceremony

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 80+ volunteers representing the International Friendship and Cultural Association, 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.

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