Student Spotlight

The Student Spotlight focuses on notable activities and achievements by current students, as well as graduates.

October 23, 2019

KGU Students Conduct Trash Cleanup Project in Bali, Indonesia

On October 6, 16 students enrolled in the Asian Tourism Development course offered by the School of Economics participated in “Bali Recycle 2019” at the beaches and roads near the popular Beachwalk Shopping Center. A total of 339 people, consisting of students from Udanaya University and other local universities, local elementary school students, media members and others, participated in the cleanup and collected a total of 201.2 kg of trash.

Bali Recycle 2019, organized in conjunction with Udanaya University, aims to beautify the island’s beaches and have local residents understand the importance of sorting trash. Last year, the cleanup project was mainly carried out by students from the seminar of Professor Kyosuke Kurita of the School of Economics. Prof. Kurita’s seminar students continued the tradition this year, and planned and organized the cleanup project. This year, the group was able to successfully secure the cooperation of even more local businesses than last year, and original “Bali Recycle 2019” T-shirts from the popular Bali Tees brand, as well as garbage bags from Avani that are made without plastic, were distributed to the participants.

The cleanup began at 7 AM. The elementary school students who participated took care of the beach, while the adults took care of the roads. The children competed to pick up trash, and the participants enjoyed themselves while enthusiastically cleaning up the roads. Before the actual Bali Recycle 2019 cleanups, the School of Economics students and Udanaya University students visited local elementary schools and taught the children about topics like “the garbage problem of Bali and the world,” and “how to protect the environment.” The classes inspired some elementary school students to participate in the cleanups. Prof. Kurita plans to continue the Bali Recycle program and school visits next year, as well.

The aim of the Asian Tourism Development program is for students to contribute to the sustainable development of Bali, as well as the development of its tourism industry, and work to actively solve problems while they are on the island. They gather information from more than a thousand tourists over the course of a month, and assist Japanese teachers in local schools, intern at hotels and airline agencies, among other activities, and also make reports about their surveys and internship results.

August 4, 2019

KGU Students Organize the First-Ever Kendama Tournament in Nepal

Ayaka Komori and Yui Hokaku (both third-year students in the School of Policy Studies) were dispatched to Nepal through the one-semester international volunteer program offered by the Center for International Education and Cooperation. In the program, students teach children in private schools about the Japanese language, Japanese culture and other subjects. They organized the first-ever kendama tournament to actually be held in Nepal, and over 80 elementary school students joined.

This event was organized in collaboration with the Club of World Citizens (CWC) and the Nepal Kendama Network. The tournament consisted of three events: a kendama race, a moshikame (flipping the ball back and forth across the top and side) challenge, and a trick competition. Tamotsu Kubota, representative for the Global Kendama Network, put on an impressive kendama show and organized workshops, in addition to a moshikame challenge that anyone could join. The event was a rousing success, and was even covered by local media.

In Nepal, physical education is not included as part of the holistic curriculum, and children often do not have spaces, facilities and equipment at their schools to exercise. For that reason, there is concern about children’s low levels of physical fitness. Erika Yamada (a third-year student in the School of International Studies) and Rica Nagashima (a fourth-year student in the School of Policy Studies), who were stationed in the same area before Hokaku, started to teach students kendama, which can be done in small spaces. By obtaining the cooperation of the elementary schools, they were able to turn it into a project. Komori and Hokaku linked up with their predecessors, and were able to make the first-ever Nepal kendama tournament a reality.

March 20, 2019

KGU UN Youth Volunteers Recount their Experiences at a Report Session

On March 19th, 17 students who were dispatched to work in developing countries as UN Youth Volunteers for roughly five months (from September 2018) reported on their activities, and what they learned at their destinations, during a session held at the Kwansei Gakuin Hall. Six KGU students were dispatched, as well as students from Osaka University, Tsukuba University, and Akita International University. For the first half of the session, nine students in total took the stage to give their reports about what they accomplished as UN Youth Volunteers, and the experience they gained by volunteering in developing countries in furtherance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

In the second half of the session, four students from KGU, Sophia University, AIU and Rikkyo University took the stage for a panel discussion about what they gained from becoming UN Youth Volunteers. Suzu Nozaki (4th-year student, School of International Studies), a panelist who served at the regional office for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Central and South Africa, was responsible for making sure the office ran well, as well as developing the annual report and PR materials, among other tasks. Nozaki talked about her experiences, and how she felt that her department had a weak relationship with other departments. She was able to build trust by eating meals with staff members from other departments, and the work of the entire department went more smoothly as a result,

Professor Jun Kukita, director of the Integrated Center for UN and Foreign Affairs Studies, moderated the session. In response to Nozaki’s experiences, Professor Kukita noted, “The ability to discover problems and resolve them yourself, as you did, is necessary for people working at the UN. It’s the complete opposite of learning things that have been established.”

January 8, 2019

KGU Alumna Selected as a Co-Chair for the Davos 2019 Summit

Akira Sakano, graduate of the Kwansei Gakuin University School of Policy Studies and current chairwoman of the NPO Zero Waste Academy (Kamikatsu Town, Tokushima) was selected to be a co-chairperson at the upcoming World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos (Davos 2019). Top figures from the political and business establishment in every country come together at this event. Together with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadela, six young leaders, including Sakano, will manage the meeting and move it forward.

Sakano, who is from Nishinomiya, enrolled in the School of Policy Studies, and while she was learning about environmental policy, she became a member of AIESEC, an international student organization that works to solve social problems. In her senior year, she took a leave of absence to serve as the vice president of AIESEC’s Japan branch, and afterward, she served as the managing director of AIESEC’s branch in Mongolia. Upon graduating in 2012, she worked in the Philippines for two years at a Germany-based logistics company, and then moved to Kamikatsu Town in Tokushima, the hometown of one of her classmates from the School of Policy Studies. She was commissioned by the town to participate in planning the activities of an NPO for thoroughly sorting and reducing trash, and became the Chair of the Zero Waste Academy Board of Directors in November 2015. Since then, she has worked to expand the organization’s breadth of activities and help others understand its mission by giving the NPO exposure overseas through media relations efforts and talks at international conferences.

Since 2012, Sakano has also belonged to the Osaka hub of the Global Shapers Community, a group for the under-33 leaders of the World Economic Forum, and conducted various projects such as workshops for high school students. Regarding her selection, Sakano said “It was unexpected, so I was surprised.” She aims to connect the economy with a recycling-oriented society, and aspire toward a new way that people should follow for production and consumption, using the “circular economy” as a keyword. “At this conference, we want to engage in exhaustive discussions so that people will not produce trash or waste resources, and move the world closer to a circular economy society,” she said.

December 17, 2018

The Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters Win the 2018 Collegiate National Championship

On December 16th (Sunday), the 73rd Annual Koshien Bowl was held at Koshien Baseball Stadium, pitting the Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters against the Waseda Big Bears for the collegiate national championship. The Fighters won the game, 37-20, and claimed their 29th national title. The fans in the left-field and third base stands, decked out in KG blue, let out huge cheers as the game ended. This was the second time that the Fighters have faced Waseda, and there was plenty of scoring in the first half. On the first series, running back Dai Watanabe (#6, junior, School of Theology) charged in for a touchdown from the 1-yard line. Running back Kosuke Nakamura (#26, senior, School of Business Administration) leapt over defenders to add a touchdown on another series, and a field goal was successful.

Though Waseda tried to come back, the Fighters' stalwart defense never let the Big Bears back in the game. with defensive back Koki Hatanaka (#45, junior, School of Economics) picking off a pass, among other fine plays. In the second quarter, the Fighters broke the game open with a combination of running plays and defense. Defensive lineman Keigo Saito (#99, senior, School of Sociology) sacked the QB at the 1-yard line, quarterback Koya Mitsudo (#10, senior, School of Economics) used the chance to score a touchdown, and the first half ended with the Fighters up 27-7. The lead grew in the third quarter, with Mitsudo successfully completing a touchdown pass and kicker Kosuke Ando (#8, junior, School of Business Administration) knocking in a field goal, and the Fighters withstood a late flurry from Waseda in the fourth quarter to clinch it.

July 10, 2018

KGU and Harvard Glee Clubs Unite Their Voices for a Special Performance

Performing together On July 3rd, the Kwansei Gakuin Glee Club had a special guest performance at the Harvard Din and Tonics a capella concert, held at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center. The Harvard Din and Tonics, an a capella group composed of current students at Harvard University, was founded in 1979. Since then, membership has been passed down to generations of new students, selected through rigorous screenings. A very talented group, the Din and Tonics have had experience performing for TV and film, and have even taken the stage during major sporting events. In 2016 they performed in concert at the Lambuth Chapel, and had a joint performance with the Kwansei Gakuin Glee Club.

Gakuin Glee Club came out for the concert encore, and performed "Vive L'Amour" and the folk song "Saitaro Bushi." They then united their voices with those of the Din and Tonics to sing "Let it Be" by The Beatles and "Hana wa Saku," the song for Great East Japan Earthquake charity efforts. The students got together after the concert, and had fun mingling.

 June 7, 2018

KGU Soccer Team Defeats Gamba Osaka to Advance in the Emperor’s Cup

On June 6th at Panasonic Stadium Suita, Kwansei Gakuin University’s soccer team defeated J1 club Gamba Osaka in the second round of the Emperor's Cup All-Japan Soccer Championship Tournament, 2-1, to advance. This marks the second time in four years that the KGU soccer team has defeated a top-flight pro club; the team previously secured a 2-1 victory against Vissel Kobe in the second round of the 2014 Emperor’s Cup. The team also recorded a victory against the J2 club Vegalta Sendai in 2000. The game was played in the rain, and KGU players was unable to steal away the ball as they wanted. Though they were forced into an unfavorable position, the KGU defenders fought desperately to protect the goal, and both teams went scoreless in the first half.

In the 42nd minute of the second half, midfielder Kazuki Iwamoto (a junior in the School of Sociology) broke the stalemate and scored, deftly reacting to a loose ball with a blast from his right foot that shook the goal netting. Though the KGU players were ecstatic, Gamba Osaka scored just three minutes later, and the game headed into extra time. The resilient KGU team shifted the momentum of the match at the two-minute mark of extra time, when rookie forward Hiroto Yamami, who came on as a substitute, scored a splendid goal. Though the Gamba Osaka team fired away at the goal over and over, the goalkeeper and the KGU defenders kept them at bay. Once the match was decided, the KGU players erupted with joy.

 May 11, 2018

KGU Student Miyata Leads Team Japan to Victory at the 4th Asia Pacific Deaf Football Championships

Soccer club member Natsumi Miyata, a 3rd-year student in the School of Business Administration, played for Japan's delegation to the 4th Asia Pacific Deaf Football Championships, held in Changwon, Korea, from April 23rd to May 6th. Team Japan won both of its matches, and earned the right to play in the 2020 World Championships. Miyata, who played in all of Team Japan’s games, was the team's leading scorer.

With a smile on her face, Miyata commented, “I’m relieved that we could win at the Asia Pacific Championships, but I’m not satisfied with just Asia. I want to level up even more for the World Championships in two years, which will be a monumental challenge. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and support, and I hope that you’ll continue to support us.”

 January 24, 2018

KGU Student from the Miwa Laboratory Wins Research Excellence Award

On January 20th, Keyaki Uji (a 4th-year student in the Department of Informatics at the KGU School of Science and Technology, Miwa Laboratory) won an award for research excellence at the 5th Communication Quality Workshop, sponsored by the IEICE (Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers) Technical Committee on Communication Quality. This award is given to people who have delivered outstanding research presentations. The paper, entitled “Method for Finding Links to be Protected to Decrease Probability of Fragmentation of Network by Failures” (Keyaki Uji, Hiroyoshi Miwa) relates to ways to improve the reliability of entire networks. The research formulated this as a discrete optimization problem and clarified its mathematical properties. Furthermore, Uji designed an effective algorithm and demonstrated the validity of that algorithm through numerical simulations.