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. 


Forum

Drawing a future you have not yet seen by interacting with adults you would not normally meet.
High school students spend their days studying and participating in extracurriculars, making it difficult to take the time to face themselves. At forums, we invite working adults who are active in various fields to give lectures. By knowing about choices at many turns in life as well as ways of thinking, high school students will be able to apply these to form an image of their future. After the lecture, small groups of students will listen more in-depth to a talk that interests them and establish a close role-model while at the same time realizing the infinite possibilities. This program provides the opportunity to meet valuable 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 just passive classroom learning that is common, but it is a time when you get to learn by freely using your entire body. By experiencing Komatsu’s proud 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.

Seminar

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

In the seminars, overseas university students and Japanese university students work in pairs to teach academic classes in English. The seminar is based on the idea of liberal arts and is small in size, consisting of five high school students and the two university students. Therefore, university students do not lecture to high school students, but rather they deepen their learning through “dialogue” between high school students and university students as well as with peers. The purpose is not only to acquire academic knowledge in English but to also broaden one’s perspective on society and themselves through spontaneous discussions. Every year, a variety of seminars are prepared in the  humanities and sciences, and high school students 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 able to encounter various values and experience deep dialogue with others. For high school students, the house is a place for intellectual stimulation as well as a place for emotional support. 

HISTORY

“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 this was her destiny. 

“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 into their hearts, the college students and working adults joined forces and then began 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 that 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.