Japan Matters

“Japan MATTERS for America, and America MATTERS for Japan

By I.Y.

 Grace Ruch (Project Assistant of East West Center)
Shanti Shoji (Vice President of Kizuna Across Cultures)
Yuuki Shinomiya (Executive Director of International Student Conferences, Inc.)
Kunihiro Shimoji (Former JASC participant)

Background Information
Grace Ruch is a Project Assistant at the East West Center in Washington, specializing in Japan, and US-Japan as well as broader US-Asia affairs. Ms. Ruch received her master’s degree in International Affairs with a focus on Conflict and Conflict Resolution, and Asia from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in 2011. In spring of 2010, she attended the Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies (GSAPS) at Waseda University in Tokyo as an exchange student. In 2008 she earned a BA in East Asian Languages and Culture from Michigan State University, concentrating on Japan, as well as the history and politics of Northeast Asia.

Shanti Shoji is the vice president of Kizuna Across Cultures (KAC). KAC is the organization committed to inspire the youth in Japan and the US to exchange their cultures and do collaborative language learning via an educational exchange website. Yuuki Shinomiya is the executive director of International Student Conferences, Inc. Kunihiro Shimoji is the former JASC (Japan American Student Conference) participant working on a project related to the comprehensive national security.

Our Experience
On our 8th day of our program, July 26th, we had a policy briefing on Japan-US Relations at the School Without Walls. We had five guests; Grace Ruch, Shanti Shoji, Yuuki Shinomiya, Kunihiro Shimoji, and Brandon Artis.

Ms. Ruch gave us a talk about Japan-US relationship by tracing back the history. Ms. Shoji introduced us the KAC, the educational website that allows US and Japan youths to learn the foreign languages and exchange cultures and Mr. Shinomiya introduced us lots of programs dealt with US-Japan relation. Mr. Artis told us experience living in Japan was very eye opening for him. After that, we had a time to go around and ask them further questions individually.

The Big ideas
The title is the quote from Grace Ruch, and we chose this quote as a title of this panel because we thought this idea was common in all three organizations. Since the quote is from Grace Ruch, I introduced about her first in detail.

We believe it is significant for US and Japan to strengthen their relationship in the 21st century and on, because our countries largely influence each other in a way of economy, politics and peace. Though, most of us were not sure which way to take and how we can get there. It was very thankful and helpful for us, who will be leading the 21st century, to have the guests from many organizations and to get a lot of information about US-Japan related program.