Every year since 2007 the Matsui Scholarship has existed for interested NVSS grade 10 to 12 students.
This scholarship is for students who want to study Japanese culture for one month, usually in May.
This year could be the last year for the scholarship according to Barb Ziler, coordinator and counsellor at the high school.
This year’s winner was Saba Rancier, the first grade 10 student to win the scholarship. Saba will spend a month living with the Matsui and his wife who will provide room and board and $1,000 to be spent purely on expenses that the student will incur.
The winners have to pay for their own flight as well as their own shopping and spending money.
Each student has worked with Kazuhiro and Itsuko Matsui to create their own personalized trip to learn about the culture as well as traditional and modern aspects of the Japanese.
Students may visit such cities as Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara, Hamamatsu and Iwata City.
In a letter to former NVSS principal Lynn Maksymchak, Matsui described some of the students’ stay in Japan.
“We made the educational tours for many cities and historical places with them, mainly western parts of our land. We cooked several kinds of Japanese cuisines for them at home. We talked with them every day and night over the cultures [sic] the histories and customs. We tried to let them meet with many friends of us so that they could feel the different ways of life in the world. Such programs might sometimes have been embarassing to them.”
Kazuhiro Matsui was born on February 27, 1939. Matsui worked for the Mitsubishi Chemical Co. for 43 years and was a prominent businessman when he decided to take a tour in B.C. to learn about Canadian culture.
He decided to create the scholarship to teach people in return for how he was taught.
“He returns to the community every two or three years,” said Ziler. “He’s been here as a guest teacher and made many friends. He just loves the community.”
Matsui is one of the main reasons why the District of Vanderhoof council is considering the creation of a Honorary Citizen award. His contributions to Vanderhoof and its students has impressed principal Ken Young and many others in the community.
Previous scholarship winners:
2007 – Sasha Striegler Ianone
2008 – Becky Russell
2009 – Michael Martins
2010 – Amanda Funk
2011 – Melanie Van Erp
2012 – Nicholas Taylor
2013 – Dylan Rogers