On Saturday April 23, the Japan Center of Stony Brook University (JCSB) held a virtual award ceremony for its 17th Annual Essay Competition, sponsored by Canon U.S.A. The opening remarks by JCSB President Iwao Ojima were followed by warm greetings from two distinguished guests: Mikio Mori, ambassador and consul general of Japan in New York, and Sammy Kobayashi, senior vice president and general manager, Hybrid Workplace Solutions, Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Eriko Sato, chair of the JCSB Essay Competition, reported that 140 essays were submitted from 33 schools for the 17th competition, and seven essays were selected by a committee of judges headed by Chief Judge Sachiko Murata. Each winner received a cash award of up to $3,000 and Canon products. The winning essays can be found on the JCSB website.
Two Stony Brook University students were among the top winners: Devin Overend won the Uchida Memorial Award and Martin Kordas won the Special Award in this competition. They were presented with a $1,000 and a $500 check, respectively, as well as an award certificate and Canon products.
Overend’s winning essay, “The Tears We Shed,” describes the inspiration she gained from Bashō’s haiku poetry. Through his profound poetry, Bashō teaches us how to deal with grief and the loss of loved ones, as in Zen Buddhism, which prepares us to accept the world as it is and encourages followers to drop their egos and find peace in meditation. Overend is a junior at Stony Brook, studying creative writing and minoring in film. Writing is truly her passion and something that fills her with joy. In her free time, Overend enjoys working on her podcast and performing spoken-word poetry. She loves to meet new people and learn about the lives of others.
Kordas’ winning essay, “Furoshiki: An Understanding of Japan, the World, and Self,” explains how he became fascinated by the art of wrapping after he attended a furoshiki night hosted by the Japanese Student Organization. Furoshiki enabled him to look at the world with a different perspective and analyze the reasons why people wrap themselves with many layers to hide their true self. He has learned to look beyond many layers and appreciate the Japanese culture and his surroundings. Kordas is a senior at Stony Brook, where he double-majors in business management and Asian and Asian American studies, and double-minors in Japanese studies and Korean studies. He has studied the Japanese language for three years at Stony Brook. He enjoys studying history and contemporary issues, and loves to dance and go on adventures.
Congratulations to all winners on their excellent writing skills, creative and critical thinking, and inspiring essays.
For more information, visit the Japan Center at Stony Brook website.