What Makes KSS Special?

Komatsu Summer School organizes a variety of programs according to the theme of the year.

Here, we will introduce four things held every year that represent KSS. 


Drawing a future you have not foreseen by interacting with adults you would not normally meet.
High school students spend their days studying and participating in extracurriculars, making it difficult to find themselves. At forums, we invite working adults who are active in various fields to give lectures. By knowing choices and ideas at life’s many crossroads, high school students are able to apply these to create an image of their future. After the lecture, small groups of students will listen more in-depth to a talk that interests them. They have the chance to find role-models while at the same time realizing the infinite possibilities. This program provides the valuable opportunity to meet adults and think seriously about the future. 


Komatsu Cultural Experience

Go to Komatsu and experience the long-standing traditional culture with all your five senses. 

It is not a passive learning environment but rather a time when you get to learn by using your entire body. By experiencing Komatsu’s traditional culture such as Japanese sweets, kabuki, festivals, manufacturing, and IT, we have prepared a program that will help you rediscover the uniqueness of Japan.

You may find the joy of making things with friends you met in Komatsu, living the city’s culture and history, and knowing what the locals care about. It will be fun time where you are guaranteed to discover something new.


Focusing on dialogue in small group classes to foster critical thinking. 

In the seminars, an overseas college student and a Japanese university student work as a pair to teach academic classes in English. The seminar is based on liberal arts style teaching. It is small in size, consisting of five high school students and the two college students. University students are not there to solely lecture to high school students. Rather, they deepen learning through dialogue with high school students and university students as well as between peers. The purpose is not only to acquire academic knowledge in English but to also broaden one’s perspective on society and themselves through open discussions. Every year, a variety of seminars are prepared in the humanities and sciences. High school students are able to select two classes based on their own interests. 

House system

Seven days living with friends, like a family. 

During the summer school, students will spend time in groups called “houses” which consist of five high school students, one House Leader (HL), one Seminar Leader (SL), and several other members from the Executive Committee (EC). People of different backgrounds, ages, genders, races, etc. spend a lot of time together as a house at programs, on transportation, and at meals. Students will be exposed to various values and experience deep discussions with others. For high school students, the house is a place for intellectual stimulation as well as a place for emotional support. 


“Can I go to Komatsu again this summer?” asked Stephen, an American college student studying Japanese, asked his host mother who lives in Komatsu, Ishikawa.


“Of course! On what day are you coming and how long will you stay? . . .”

When asking for more details, there was something that stood out.


Stephen was going to Obuse, Nagano after Komatsu. There, he was going to participate in a summer school for high school students.


“Hey, Stephen, what’s in Obuse? What are you doing there? What kinds of things do you do at summer school?”

The host mother had never heard of summer school before and was intrigued.
On the morning of the fourth day after Stephen left Komatsu, the mystery was finally solved. 

He was caught on T.V talking with high schoolers and performing a spectacular ballroom dance. 


“Wow, is this what summer school is all about?” 

After the video, Toru Omiya who was the director of the summer program (HLAB) , said to the students as he looked at them and crossed his arms, “We would like to hold this summer school in other regions as well.”


With this, the Komatsu host mother felt it was her calling. 

“I want to have this summer school in Komatsu too!”


The summer school was prepared with no operating funds or know-how.

This summer school was co-hosted by IMPACT Foundation Japan which supports various activities such as HLAB. They also collaborated with HLAB, the summer school targeted for high school students. 


Additionally, they received sponsorship from organizations in Ishikawa Prefecture including Princeton in Ishikawa, which has been teaching Japanese to American college students in Ishikawa for 20 years, as well as support from companies and individuals with ties to the Hokuriku region. 


“Is our current educational environment good as it is?” 

“I want to change myself. I want to change the community.”

“I don’t want the younger students to have the same regrets I had in high school.”

Gathering each of their thoughts and placing them into their hearts, the college students and working adults joined forces to begin preparing for the summer school.  


Then, it was July 30, 2014. 


Komatsu Summer School (KSS) 2014 was held. 


“It was inspiring to see high school students of my same generation working hard to speak and understand English.” –12th grade student (at that time) / female / Tokyo


“After the summer school ended, I started to think seriously about my future path.” –10th grade student (at that time) / male / Tokyo

“Interacting with American college students using English that we don’t have many opportunities to use in daily life and talking about various topics with like-minded friends at night are memories that are still fresh in my mind. These memories which I will never forget are forever in my heart.” –10th grade student (at that time) / male/ Ishikawa


It appeared that everyone’s passions transferred even onto the high school students. 


Just like the Olympic torch relay, the small flame of Komatsu Summer School which was passed down from Princeton in Ishikawa and HLAB is gaining momentum and becoming a larger flame as the years go by.

This year’s Komatsu Summer School will also be a hot, hot seven days where the blaze will go whoosh into the hearts of the high school students.