Masason Foundation Decides to Support 51 Members

Certifying youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents as members to be supported for a maximum of five years Giving support grants to applicants

The Masason Foundation (“the Foundation,” President: Masayoshi Son) has chosen 51 people aged between seven and 26 (25 on the date of application) as members of the Foundation (Generation 2). They will be given support for one year*1 as associate members*2.

The Foundation’s goal is to provide an environment that enables youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents to develop their skills, and to contribute to the future of humankind, in the coming age of Singularity. It offers facilities in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Boston, Massachusetts; and Palo Alto, California (the United States) for interaction among members, research, development, etc. The Foundation also hosts lectures and networking events by specialists and experts in various fields, including the directors of the Foundation. In addition, among the members, those who apply for and pass the screening process will be given a support grant. The details and amount of the support grant will be considered on an individual basis, as support for those who wish to gain experience in the future in research or study abroad, or have something they wish to accomplish.

The Foundation has chosen youth with high aspirations and who are making use of their exceptional talents in a range of fields, including an elementary school student who has achieved excellent results in programming contests from a young age and developed their own programming language, a gifted university student who graduated from high school at age 14 and was offered scholarships to multiple renowned overseas universities, and a university student who won three consecutive Gold Medals in the International Physics Olympiad during high school and is the first Japanese Absolute Winner, as members. The associate members certified last year (Generation 1) who passed the screening process were certified as authorized members.

The Foundation provides support to youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents for expanding their potential and for their growth to be people who will create the future through exposure to new values and the latest technologies, and interaction with members.

*1 It is possible to be enrolled as an authorized member for a maximum of five years, including the period of being confirmed as an associate member. Any desire to extend this may be confirmed once each year. If a member reaches the end of their five years, it is still possible to remain enrolled up to the last day of February after reaching the age of 29 should there have been a review once during the five years confirming an extension of membership.
*2 The Foundation will certify talented persons as associate members for one year only, and a judgement will be made as to whether they will be confirmed as authorized members based on their activities and results during that year. Associate members will receive support from the Foundation such as support grants, the free use of facilities for members, and be able to participate in events organized by the Foundation.

The Foundation asked 5 of the members for their thoughts.

・Rei Otsuka, 13 years old
Mr. Otsuka started computer programming when he was 11. By age 12, he had been chosen as the youngest ever super creator at Mitou Junior, a program run by the Mitou Organization which nurtures the future leaders of 21st-century innovation. Inspired by conversations with his great-grandfather, who had trouble reading after entering his nineties, Mr. Otsuka developed an application for the elderly and children that makes words easier to read. “With the support of Masason Foundation, I plan to continue working within the theme of ‘Medical x Technology’ that allows people to live more normal lives, utilizing IT, robotics, and other technologies to solve problems which cannot be fixed by the modern medicine available today,” says Mr. Otsuka.

・Sho Okawa, 18 years old
Mr. Okawa skipped several grades and was accepted with scholarships and awards by several global top 30-ranking universities at age 14. He became a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Science, from which he graduated with a Biology Honours Degree this May. “At the invitation of Dr. Nozomu Yachie, I have been working as an intern for his lab at the University of Tokyo since this August. My goal is to uncover the mysteries of the universe, particularly in relation to the mysteries of life. Furthermore, I would also like to devote my efforts to nurturing and educating the next generation of students. This is because I believe that endeavors in science require the understanding and support of many. Thus, starting in September, I will write a monthly column for the Gakken Tech Program based on the theme of ‘showing children the fun in learning’. In this way, I hope I can convey the joy of learning and the fascinating aspects of science to the next generation. I look forward to working within and beyond my specialized fields, collaborating with members of the Foundation to create a brighter future,” he says.

・Skye Bork, 19 years old
In 2017, Ms. Bork was chosen as the Distinguished Young Woman of America (DYW) of the year, a college scholarship and training program for graduating high school senior women focused on academics, public speaking, and the performing arts. She is currently a student at Columbia University. “I have always sought to be a ‘change agent’ who works to make society a better place. During the year I spent as an ambassador for DYW, I worked towards expanding its mission of female empowerment and excellence throughout America. From now on, with the support of the Masason Foundation, I look forward to continuing my efforts as a change agent. My passion lies in my interest in politics as well as my love for both the United States and Japan, and my goal is to create a network connecting university students in this globalized world. I am so grateful to the Foundation for this opportunity, and look forward to taking every moment to be an ambassador for the program,” she says.

・Akihiro Watanabe, 19 years old
Mr. Watanabe participated in Math, Physics, and Earth Science Olympiads throughout high school, winning three consecutive Gold Medals in the International Physics Olympiad and becoming the first Japanese Absolute Winner in 2018. He has also been crowned champion three consecutive times at the Japan Physics Olympiad, a national competition. Currently enrolled in the University of Tokyo (Science Type 1), his goal is to become a theoretical physicist. “I am very honored to be chosen as a Masason Foundation associate member. I hope to engage in friendly competition via discussion and communication with the other talented Foundation members, to inspire and be inspired, and to further improve my abilities,” Mr. Watanabe says.

・Shiori Komatsu, 21 years old
Ms. Komatsu was the top scorer in the Japanese mock university entrance exam and received the Governor’s Prize for excellent academic results upon graduation from high school. She then entered the faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo. Having begun research on flaws in the Japanese judicial system in comparison with those of other countries from the age of 15, Ms. Komatsu says, “I developed an interest in the implementation of AI in law after reading an article entitled ‘Lawyers will be replaced by AI.’ I would like to develop new court procedures which utilize Big Data in legal interpretation and judicial precedent. Since many members of the Masason Foundation come from a scientific background, I would like to collaborate with them using my humanities/law background to investigate new phenomena in law brought about by the latest technology.”

・Rei Otsuka, 13 years old
Mr. Otsuka started computer programming when he was 11. By age 12, he had been chosen as the youngest ever super creator at Mitou Junior, a program run by the Mitou Organization which nurtures the future leaders of 21st-century innovation. Inspired by conversations with his great-grandfather, who had trouble reading after entering his nineties, Mr. Otsuka developed an application for the elderly and children that makes words easier to read. “With the support of Masason Foundation, I plan to continue working within the theme of ‘Medical x Technology’ that allows people to live more normal lives, utilizing IT, robotics, and other technologies to solve problems which cannot be fixed by the modern medicine available today,” says Mr. Otsuka.

・Sho Okawa, 18 years old
Mr. Okawa skipped several grades and was accepted with scholarships and awards by several global top 30-ranking universities at age 14. He became a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Science, from which he graduated with a Biology Honours Degree this May. “At the invitation of Dr. Nozomu Yachie, I have been working as an intern for his lab at the University of Tokyo since this August. My goal is to uncover the mysteries of the universe, particularly in relation to the mysteries of life. Furthermore, I would also like to devote my efforts to nurturing and educating the next generation of students. This is because I believe that endeavors in science require the understanding and support of many. Thus, starting in September, I will write a monthly column for the Gakken Tech Program based on the theme of ‘showing children the fun in learning’. In this way, I hope I can convey the joy of learning and the fascinating aspects of science to the next generation. I look forward to working within and beyond my specialized fields, collaborating with members of the Foundation to create a brighter future,” he says.

・Skye Bork, 19 years old
In 2017, Ms. Bork was chosen as the Distinguished Young Woman of America (DYW) of the year, a college scholarship and training program for graduating high school senior women focused on academics, public speaking, and the performing arts. She is currently a student at Columbia University. “I have always sought to be a ‘change agent’ who works to make society a better place. During the year I spent as an ambassador for DYW, I worked towards expanding its mission of female empowerment and excellence throughout America. From now on, with the support of the Masason Foundation, I look forward to continuing my efforts as a change agent. My passion lies in my interest in politics as well as my love for both the United States and Japan, and my goal is to create a network connecting university students in this globalized world. I am so grateful to the Foundation for this opportunity, and look forward to taking every moment to be an ambassador for the program,” she says.

・Akihiro Watanabe, 19 years old
Mr. Watanabe participated in Math, Physics, and Earth Science Olympiads throughout high school, winning three consecutive Gold Medals in the International Physics Olympiad and becoming the first Japanese Absolute Winner in 2018. He has also been crowned champion three consecutive times at the Japan Physics Olympiad, a national competition. Currently enrolled in the University of Tokyo (Science Type 1), his goal is to become a theoretical physicist. “I am very honored to be chosen as a Masason Foundation associate member. I hope to engage in friendly competition via discussion and communication with the other talented Foundation members, to inspire and be inspired, and to further improve my abilities,” Mr. Watanabe says.

・Shiori Komatsu, 21 years old
Ms. Komatsu was the top scorer in the Japanese mock university entrance exam and received the Governor’s Prize for excellent academic results upon graduation from high school. She then entered the faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo.  Having begun research on flaws in the Japanese judicial system in comparison with those of other countries from the age of 15, Ms. Komatsu says, “I developed an interest in the implementation of AI in law after reading an article entitled ‘Lawyers will be replaced by AI.’ I would like to develop new court procedures which utilize Big Data in legal interpretation and judicial precedent. Since many members of the Masason Foundation come from a scientific background, I would like to collaborate with them using my humanities/law background to investigate new phenomena in law brought about by the latest technology.”

 

<About the Masason Foundation>

The Foundation was established in December 2016 by the SoftBank Group Representative Masayoshi Son to provide an environment that enables youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents to develop their skills, and to contribute to the future of humankind, in the coming age of Singularity. The Foundation provides support to youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents for expanding their potential and for their growth to be people who will create the future through exposure to new values and the latest technologies, and interaction with members.

For more details, please visit the Foundation’s website (http://masason-foundation.org).