Kyle Tulod, a Stony Brook University junior majoring in religious studies, won the Best Essay Award in the College Division of the Japan Center’s Ninth Annual Essay Competition, co-sponsored by Canon USA. He was presented with an award certificate, a $1,500 check and a Canon camera at the Award Ceremony held on April 6 at the Charles B. Wang Center.
Tulod’s award-winning essay, “Instructions for the Tenzo,” is very insightful, questioning the understanding of each individual’s point of view irrespective of his or her culture and creed. Tulod discusses how humanity would benefit greatly if people had a more open-minded approach with each other. In particular, he stresses the importance of being more receptive to the differences between people’s cultures, and he comes to the realization that their beliefs and value systems are not the only ways to coexist happily on our planet. Ultimately, he states, having an intransigent point of view or refusing to accept other interpretations will always preclude people from solving a problem.
The goal of the Japan Center’s Essay Competition is to promote awareness and understanding of Japan in the United States and to help young Americans broaden their international horizons. This year the contestants were required to write one or more aspects of Japan including art, culture, tradition, values, philosophy, history, society, politics, business and technology in relation to their personal views, experiences and or future goals. The contestants do not need to have any experience in visiting Japan or studying Japanese.
A total of 271 essays were received and carefully evaluated in two stages by a panel of judges. The first-prize winner in the High School Division was Stephanie Lin from Stuyvesant High School.
To view all the winning essays and detailed information on the essay competition, as well as other Japan Center programs, visit the JCSB site.
Tulod plans to continue his studies with a focus on Eastern religions, especially Japanese Buddhism.