Moa Maeda is a student journalist who writes original essays in both Japanese and English. She has been a contributing writer at JAPAN Forward since her middle school days, introducing readers to the perspective of her generation. Now she is a 16-year-old high school freshman living in Chiba Prefecture. Recently, she achieved an impressive milestone by advancing through the Regional Round and Global Round of the World Scholar's Cup.
WSC is an international academic program for middle and high school students and the Tournament of Champions is the final stage of this competition. It will take place at the prestigious Yale University in the United States this November.
However, the associated expenses pose a significant financial hurdle made more acute due to the recent sharp inflation and weak yen. Refusing to give up, Maeda has turned to crowdfunding to realize her dream.
An Academic 'World Cup'
Maeda explains that the World Scholar's Cup is a global academic competition with participation from middle and high school students worldwide. It is like an academic "World Cup" for young people.
While it was suspended during the pandemic, the program typically draws around 20,000 students globally each year. Participants engage in a variety of academic activities, including debates, essay writing, and quizzes. All of these are conducted in English as the students' lingua franca.
The competition starts with the Regional Rounds held in over 100 locations across more than 60 countries. The top-performing teams advance to the Global Rounds, taking place in seven different locations worldwide.
The Tournament of Champions
In September, Maeda, along with two friends, took part in a Global Round held in Bangkok. They competed in debate and essay writing, revolving around this year's theme: "Reconstructing the Past." Additionally, they tackled quizzes and written exams in subjects like history, literature, and civics.
Their hard work paid off. They earned a spot among the top performers out of 3,500 students. That qualified them for the final stage, the Tournament of Champions.
However, financing the trip poses a significant hurdle. The travel, accommodation, and participation fees total roughly ¥900,000 JPY (about $6000 USD).
In 2022, Maeda reached the Global Round but was forced to forgo the opportunity due to fundraising challenges.
This time, having qualified for the final round, her determination is stronger than ever. "Our team has put in tireless effort, dedicating long hours to study and practice. I really don't want to give up this time," says Maeda.
How to Help
She continues, "I have amazing teammates who I want to achieve this with. Through competing in the Global Round, I've learned to take pride in my own country. As a representative of Japan, I feel a responsibility to showcase its unique qualities to people from diverse backgrounds. Your generous support would mean the world to us."
Maeda has launched a crowdfunding campaign to gather support, with contributions accepted until the end of October.
JAPAN Forward stands by Maeda. In addition to partially covering her expenses, we plan to chronicle the challenges and triumphs of this young student journalist representing Japan on the global stage.
The following are some of the articles Maeda has contributed to JAPAN Forward and its subsidiary website, Japan 2 Earth.
- Yukigaya Chemical Industry and Its Innovative Sponges
- Feeling Creative? These Fun Crafts Show You How To Reduce Your Ecological Footprint
- Hope: One Last Push for Megumi’s Freedom
(Read the article in Japanese.)
Author: Yasuo Naito, Editor in Chief, JAPAN Forward