2020-22 Watanabe Scholars (American Students)

In the 2020-22 program year, the scholarship supports American and Japanese students who are undertaking international study in either the United States or Japan.

Ⓐ indicates a previous recipient of the scholarship
** indicates a TOMODACHI alumnus
^ indicates a graduate student

Please join us in welcoming the American cohort:

Home Institution: Tokyo International University

Riley is a student at Tokyo International University, majoring in International Relations. Her hobbies include studying Japanese, volunteer work for advocation in human rights and equality in Japan, and learning about politics. By receiving the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship, Riley hopes to improve and strengthen the relationship between her home country, the United States, and the country that she has come to love, Japan. Riley is grateful that the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship has given her the chance to finish her studies in Japan and complete a truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. During her time abroad, Riley hopes to learn more about Japanese way of life, and the intricacies that come along with the Japanese culture. She will strive to learn not only about the Japanese diplomacy and politics but also understand Japanese society as a whole. She also hopes to share her own country’s customs with the people of Japan, and create new friends and bonds that will last a lifetime.

Korayma Chavez
Home Institution: University of Tsukuba

Korayma Chavez is a second-year Master student in Tsukuba University’s International Education program. She was born and raised in Southern California and attended the University of California Riverside majoring in Liberal Studies. She has always wanted to become a teacher since she was younger and has worked with elementary-aged students for over 14 years. She was inspired by her former elementary school teacher who used to teach in Japan before she moved back to the U.S. There in the classroom, she was introduced to both Japanese culture and language at a young age which catalyzed her interest in Japan. With that Korayma also wanted to go abroad and bring culture into the classroom as a teacher for her future students. Thanks to the  Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship, pursuing a degree abroad is now a reality for Korayma and her future academic/career interests. She hopes to create meaningful connections in her time in Japan, network with colleagues and professors in her field, and continue building her intercultural competency.

Home Institution: Temple University Japan

Ayaka is currently a freshman at Temple University Japan where for the next four years she will be pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International Business Studies as well as minoring in the Japanese Language. Ayaka has a deep connection to Japan as her mother is Japanese. She has been studying the Japanese language and culture from a young age but has always felt disconnected from this part of her identity as she did not have many opportunities to physically see and participate in these cultural activities that she was learning in the classroom. This became the catalyst for her interest in studying abroad. Nevertheless, studying abroad is a very expensive thing to do which is why the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship means so much to her. She feels that this scholarship not only gives her important experiences that will help her gain more global thinking but also gives her the chance to get to know more about herself and her culture. Using the experience she has while studying abroad she plans to start her own business in Japan centered around the development of creativity in the future.

Kaohinani HO
Home Institution: Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus
Host Institution: Temple University Japan

Kaohinani was born in Fukuoka, Japan, and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii. Growing up speaking Japanese and English, she had a strong interest in studying in Japan and improving her Japanese language ability. She is currently an International Business major at Temple University Japan. She hopes to learn more about Japan’s culture and improve her Japanese reading, writing, and speaking skills during her time abroad. Receiving the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship has given her hope during the Covid-19 pandemic and period of uncertainty. It has also motivated and inspired her to work hard to overcome the obstacles she faces and make the most of every opportunity she gets. She is excited to start a new journey in Japan and make global connections.

Home Institution: Tokyo International University

Lindo Korchi was first introduced to Japanese pop culture growing up in the United States. After studying its history, he was fascinated to learn more about the country. Lindo decided to study International Relations in Japan to help Japan become more international. By studying in the country and pursuing his degree, he has the opportunity to understand the Japanese mindset that drives their beliefs on values, foreign countries, and business. One of the skills Lindo plans to cultivate is being able to comprehend and adapt to Japanese people’s non-direct way of communicating. This will help him establish trust and adapt from a U.S. perspective leader who understands U.S. culture, along with Japanese culture. Lindo intends to expand his leadership, sales, and communications skills in Japan so to help businesses in Japan expand beyond their domestic market. Because the world is only moving forward, Lindo finds communication to be of essential importance. Since he is able to view Japan from the outside, he’ll be able to bring in new perspectives and skills that will help Japan become more international. He is grateful for the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship, as it will help him obtain a solid education, along with form long-lasting relationships.

Naomi Moore
Home Institution: Temple University Japan

Ever since she was a child, Naomi recalls her fascination with Japanese culture and language. With every Studio Ghibli movie night with her sister, and a Japanese language book checked out from her library, her vision of one day experiencing Japan in person flourished. Naomi was able to begin formally studying Japanese when she entered community college. Her desire to study internationally, master the Japanese language, and explore the country she’d dreamed of made the opportunity to study in Japan irresistible. Receiving the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship means that Naomi is able to continue realizing the vibrant, world-changing personal and academic life she’d always yearned for. As a cross-cultural psychology student, studying internationally is also integral to her education. Naomi is thrilled to continue exploring the wonder and beauty of Japan and learning from a radically different country and culture. This experience will develop the personal and academic qualities that underlie the transformative impact she hopes to make in her life and career as a psychologist.

Kevin Ngo
Home Institution: Portland State University
Host Institution: Doshisha University

Kevin Ngo is a 4th year Japanese/International Relations Major from Portland, Oregon. He will be the first person to graduate college from his family. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, gymnastics, and cooking. His favorite basketball player is Kobe Bryant. His specialty dishes are prime rib steak, yangnyeom chicken, and cheesecake. Becoming the first Toshizo Watanabe Scholarship recipient in his home university history, receiving the award is one of his proudest accomplishments. “Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship has enabled me to improve my language skills towards the native level in my favorite country in the world—where I made once-in-a-lifetime friends from all around the world. It has allowed me to expand my cultural horizons, becoming an understanding global citizen of all nations. With my strong passion for Japan, I want to continue to strengthen U.S-Japanese Relations by working in Public Relations in Japan, as well as mentor and assist the next generation of both America and Japan by sharing my experiences and encouraging them to study abroad. Thank you to the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship for this life-changing opportunity!”