During 2014-15, DePaul University (Chicago), the largest Catholic university in the United States and Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto), one of the first Japanese universities to promote international learning, engaged in an exchange dedicated to the legacy of the life of the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, an American of Japanese ancestry, public servant and political leader. Students from each institution traveled to the other for intensive visits focused on community engagement, public service, and building bridges of friendship between Japan and the United States. These exchange visits were carefully planned and framed to maximize experiential learning, to link DePaul and Ritsumeikan students, to take them out into the communities surrounding the universities, and to guide them in reflection and analysis of what they had learned.
This exchange was supported by the bi-national support from the Kakehashi Tomodachi Inouye Scholars (KTIS) program, a distinctive collaboration between the Japan Foundation Kakehashi and the U.S.-Japan Council Tomodachi initiatives.
What follows are several documents relating to this remarkable program.
- Description of the DePaul University visit to Ritsumeikan University (including student comments)
- Press release on the Ritsumeikan University visit to DePaul University
- Description of the Ritsumeikan University visit to DePaul University (including student comments)
Description of the DePaul University visit to Ritsumeikan University (including student comments)
DePaul University — Global Asian Studies
KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars 2014-2015
Curt Hansman, Ph.D., Faculty, History of Art and Architecture
Kathryn Ibata-Arens. Ph.D., Director, Global Asian Studies
The KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI INOUYE SCHOLARS (KTIS) program is a unique partnership between the Japan Foundation KAKEHASHI and U.S.-Japan Council TOMODACHI initiatives. KTIS offers the opportunity for participants to engage in people-to-people exchange while learning about the life of Senator Daniel K. Inouye and to embrace the lessons and legacy of the late senator’s life as an American of Japanese ancestry, public servant and political leader.
The group of DePaul University students selected to participate represents the breadth and diversity of our academic community. Academic excellence, demonstrated commitment to community service, leadership, and willingness to participate in the project through the academic year following our trip to Japan were primary criteria. Further, we also sought to balance the career interests and background of students as well as qualities such as openness, curiosity, and the ability to work cooperatively. Hence our group includes majors from many departments in several colleges of the university (political science, international studies, art, history, literature, animation, computer systems, business, etc.). We also sought a balance of those who had previously studied Japanese language and culture with those who were new to the study of Japan. This diversity of interests and talents proved critical to the success both pre-departure planning and the constitution and efficiency of student leadership teams responsible for research and reflections conducted throughout the Japan trip, including on our bus following each site visit.
Three themes guided our selection of site visits, pre-departure seminars, and approach when guests in Japan. First, we explored the ways in which ancient meets modern in Japanese society as evidenced in Japan’s vibrant artisinal, culinary and Buddhist and Shinto culture, especially in places like Kyoto. Second, we sought to expose our students to 21st Century trends in business, technology and political economy in Japan within a context of Asia as the new center of the global economy. Third, we engaged in volunteer community service inspired by our Vincentian tradition at DePaul and led ultimately by the legacy of Senator Inouye in civic leadership, advocacy for social justice, and lifelong public service.
As one student wrote in a post-trip reflection:
As a young man, Daniel Inouye experienced injustice and prejudice against American citizens of Japanese descent. His response was to choose service in the heroic 442nd Regiment. Inouye’s WWII wounds altered his career path; his sacrifice and his subsequent legacy as an advocate for public service and social justice affected many Americans perspectives on the Japanese people. Throughout his life he proved to the world that one person can cause change.
Our hosts at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto provided us with an opportunity to discuss current ideas in immigration and Japanese identity via an interactive presentation and academic workshop format. We enjoyed meeting students, faculty and staff of Ritsumeikan and learning about Ritsumeikan’s initiatives in global education and as a leading Japanese institution in forging international partnerships. The opportunity to interact more informally during the Welcome lunch and while touring Kinkakuji was truly delightful for our students and faculty alike. We are grateful to see that a number of our “RITS” student hosts were selected as KTIS to join us in Chicago from March 8th to 11th, 2015.
We saw mutual understanding as requiring investigation of often unfamiliar historical and deeply rooted cultural traditions of Japan as well as the ways in which these traditions have been both informed by and challenged in the global technological environment. Mutual understanding also required authentic interaction with the people of Japan. While incidental interactions inherent in travel were interesting and important, it was the opportunities for extended discussion with students and faculty at our partner institution, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, as well as meetings with young entrepreneurs and leaders in business and technology which had the most profound affect on students. Through these encounters, our students came to understand the TOMODACHI ideal. An American student from Hawaii of Chinese and Japanese heritage wrote:
In any context there was always a distinct idea that, “us” the Americans shared nothing in common with “them” the foreign Japanese, a group of people that lived totally alien lives. Participating in the KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program showed me just how broken that idea was, and allowed me to understand a TOMODACHI generation of leaders.
From the beginning of our participation we have emphasized the vision that the KTIS was not just an early summer trip to Japan, but rather the beginning of a commitment to bridges, friendship, and service. In our KTIS Journal Reflections, one student wrote:
The KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program is more than a chance to travel abroad; it is more than just another stamp on my passport. My experience as a TOMODACHI Scholar introduced me to an entirely new world ‒ one that builds connections where divisive walls once stood, and solutions through service where issues could seem unapproachable.
Since our return from Japan, De Paul students have continued to reflect upon and engage actively in planning for the visit of our partner institution. In honor of the legacy of Senator Inouye as well as the foundational values of De Paul University which include recognition of the dignity of each person, concern for and service to deprived members of society, and appreciation of education as a means of engagement, De Paul students have planned an exciting visit for Ritsumeikan KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars. These activities and events are centered on three themes: community service, the challenges of educating future generations of American and Japanese students to become globally competent citizens of the world, and experiencing multicultural Chicago through hands-on arts and cultural activities.
First, while visiting DePaul’s Lincoln Park Chicago campus, Ritsumeikan students will participate in community service activities in Chicago’s diverse ethnic enclaves including a Mexican-American neighborhood “Little Village” and on the north side, where generations of Japanese-Americans have called home.
Second, our Ritsumeikan guests will give presentations about Japan to audiences including in an interactive community workshop on “Identity, Immigration and Building Global Cultural Competencies in the 21st Century”. DePaul ‘s urban location, innovations in virtual international classrooms via its global online initiatives and leading curriculum in Global Asian Studies and other programs to build future generations of globally competent leaders make for an ideal partner in this and future exchange initiatives.
Third, Japanese students will participate in cultural and musical events highlighting multicultural Chicago and participate in hands on arts activities. For example, students will visit a cultural icon of Chicago, the Art Institute. Far from a mere museum tour, students will learn about American culture through a hands-on art activity. Our Community and Farewell Event will highlight the diversity of American music and dance culture.
These themes, each supporting the long-term goals of the bilateral U.S.-Japan partnership, of community service, global cultural competence and using arts and culture activities as a way to build bridges between peoples continue the vision and themes in keeping with the specific aims of KTIS as well as the general program goal of developing future global leaders. Our students have clearly embraced the spirit of the TOMODACHI generation as well as the legacy of Senator Inouye in their work preparing for visitors from Ritsumeikan University. Our experiences in Japan convinced our students collectively that the more opportunities students like them have for formal and informal interaction the more solid the foundation of mutual understanding shall become. Thus, our DePaul student scholars have re-arranged their schedules during the week prior to our final examination period, in March when our guests visit Chicago. Through leadership teams our students have planned the itinerary to provide extensive informal and informal opportunities for interaction during service, academic exchange, and highly interactive visits to cultural institutions introducing Chicago’s vibrant history and cultural and ethnic diversity.
Invariably DePaul students have described their KTIS experiences in Japan and upon their return as “life-changing”, “powerful” and “transformational”. They came to see and then seek out similarities while welcoming differences, to appreciate the historical depth of traditional Japanese culture, traditions and impact on the ways in which modern Japan functions in the world, and to see themselves as new leaders. Our students are eager to provide the framework in which our visitors from Ritsumeikan can share a likewise transformational experience.
Press release on the Ritsumeikan University visit to DePaul University
Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago
For Immediate Release: March 6, 2015
Building Bridges of Friendship: KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars come to DePaul
From March 4th to 14th, twenty-three students from Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, will travel across the Pacific to learn about the United States and build friendships in Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles as representatives of a select group of KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars. This program is carried out under the government of Japan’s KAKEHASHI Project. The KAKEHASHI Project is a youth exchange project between Japan, the United States and Canada that aims to Heighten interest in Japan and increase the number of overseas visitors to the country, as well as enhance international understanding of the nation’s strengths and attractiveness. The Inouye Scholar delegates will be hosted by DePaul University during their stay in Chicago from March 8th to 11th. Ritsumeikan University hosted DePaul students last year, when they went to Kyoto for the first half of the exchange program. In addition to Ritsumeikan, there are three other schools from Japan being hosted by different universities in other parts of
During their visit, the students will be partaking in a variety of events such as inter-cultural workshops with DePaul students, Art Institute tour and scavenger hunts at Chicago landmarks like Millennium Park, as well as community service including presentations and crafts with children in preschool to 7th-8th grade at Telpochcalli School in Little Village.Within the KAKEHASHI Project, these twenty-three students were chosen for the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars. The program was created in honor of the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who believed that the relationship between the United States and Japan was the most important bilateral relationship in the world. His commitment to public service, justice and U.S.-Japan cooperation inspired this program, which provides 200 American and Japanese university students the opportunity to develop a deeper mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and people. The participants will also learn about Senator Inouye and his contributions to his state, country, heritage and the U.S.-Japan relationship. The program aims to broaden the perspectives of global leaders who will carry the future of U.S.-Japan exchange.
There will be a KAKEHASHI TOMODACHI Inoue Scholars Community and Farewell Event on March 10th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, at DePaul University’s Loop Campus. If you wish to attend this event please RSVP at www.bit.ly/ktisjapan. We would like to extend an invitation to the press who may be interested in covering any of the events throughout the duration of the delegates’ stay in Chicago.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org , call (312)280-0427, or visit www.bit.ly/ktisjapan. If you would like to speak to a representative from DePaul, contact Dr. Kathryn Ibata- Arens at email@example.com.
Japan Information Center
737 North Michigan Avenue • Suite 1000 • Chicago • Illinois 60611 (312) 280-0430
Description of the Ritsumeikan University visit to DePaul University (including student comments)
Report on hosting the Ritsumeikan students, March 8-10th, 2015
Dr. Kathryn Ibata-Arens, Director, Global Asian Studies, DePaul University and project leader noted: “Our DePaul Kakehashi-Tomodachi Inouye Scholars are behind the success of our hosting of our Ritsumeikan University guests. Our student scholars led leadership teams for each of our hosting events in which we emphasized student-to-student interaction. These activities included our DePaul KTIS and more than one hundred additional DePaul students. On campus, our Inouye Scholars led workshops about Chicago’s multicultural identity and how our Inouye Scholars can continue to work together in the future to build global cultural competencies through the Tomodachi generation. Reflecting the Inouye legacy, we engaged in community service activities including with Chicago primary school children and at a Japanese American eldercare center. Our week concluded with a spectacular community and farewell event, featuring a keynote speech by Acting Japan Consul General Keiko Yanai as well as live jazz, vocal, poetry and breakdancing performances.”
Telpochcalli (Nahuatl for “house of youth”) is a small school dedicated to integrating the Mexican arts and culture.
Japan American Service Committee — http://www.jasc-chicago.org/
Comments from Ritsumeikan University students
“I learned most from interacting with the students from Telpochcalli School through their art program. I realized that when it comes to art, differences in race, gender, age, and languages mean very little.”
— Haruka TSUMORI
“At JASC, I could see how people are trying to preserve their Japanese American history and prosper in their community. My favorite part of it was communicating with elderly people at the day care service…. communication is not only about language. [One elderly participant] seemed to be really enjoying our conversation and hugged me with smiles.”
— Saki MATSUDA
“I am going to share my precious experience in this KAKEHASHI project with as many people as possible. Thank you very much!!!!”
— Sayaka MATSUMOTO
“I am so happy that I could make a lot of amazing friends at DePaul University. I also think sharing our experiences is important because we can be the ones who build KAKEHASHI bridges between other people in the U.S. and Japan. When I have a chance, I would like to share my experience and help other people to be a part of KAKEHASHI bridge builders as well as strengthen my connection by keeping in touch with people I met.”
— Kako KITAMURA
“I truly enjoyed having interaction with DePaul students and I will never forget these wonderful experiences at Chicago. I wish that we will be always connected.”
— Momoka MURAYAMA
“In my opinion, I learned the most from workshop with the DePaul students. This is because I was impressed with their high motivation and contribution to the class.”
— Akira DEGUCHI
“Thank you so much for welcoming us in Chicago. I cannot thank you enough for what all of you done for us. Not only the scavenger hunt, but also all activities and events planned by DePaul students and professors were wonderful. I am grateful to all of your kindness, and hard work for holding such a great events.”
— Mayu AOKI
“It was so pity that we had to say good-bye, but I believe we surely will meet again.
— Masahiro HAYASHI