Japan Educational Research Institute,
Youth Leader and Contributor
Mao Shirai is an enthusiastic person. Her main passion lies in creating, and she hopes to study liberal arts to accumulate her own fountain of knowledge needed to be a creator.
Her parents always valued her “take the initiative” mindset and provided an environment where she could try things out. For example, her parents never made her start taking lessons before she wanted to do so, and on the contrary, they allowed her to do whatever she wanted to do. The same was true outside of lessons. It was the same for everything else, from participating in programs to going to concerts by herself. Thus, she learned the important lessons of "think about everything until you are satisfied with it and then decide for yourself" and "it is better to regret doing something than not doing it. As a result, she believes she has expanded her own potential.
Currently in high school, Mao has an encompassing range of activities and initiatives that help her relate to and implement impact in her areas of interests. Academically, her favorite subjects are mathematics, Japanese, English, and Arts, and her thoughts on education were published as the voice of high school students in an educational magazine called “Manabi No Komichi”. She engages with education related initiatives such as HLAB and Cross Bridge to build a stronger foundation for future quality education ventures. She loves to express herself and she placed 7th in a national team dance competition named “Dance Drill”. She always tries to dance with a message. At the national competition in 2022, she danced while sitting on a chair because of an injured leg, but she was able to receive compliments from the judges. From a personal perspective, she traveled to Fukushima, the area hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, where the nuclear power plant accident occurred, and visited schools damaged by the tsunami. She was able to open all her senses and think about her career path together with high school students from all over the country, worrying and thinking until she was satisfied and tentatively decided on the path she wanted to take.
Looking ahead, Mao plans to major in liberal arts, including media studies, global education and social sciences. After that, she would like to become a creator who designs content for K-pop and educational programs that address educational disparities.