The Yonsei Basketball Association celebrates the resumption of its cultural exchange program for middle-school aged youth after a three-year pause due to the pandemic.
Now in its 30th year, the program strives to provide an opportunity to explore the Japanese culture through homestay experiences, community service, leadership and team camaraderie, and basketball and interpersonal skill development.
This year’s Yonsei 30 team will travel to Fukuoka in July. The players will experience homestays in Fukuoka then travel with their families to tour Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto.
Coaching the Yonsei 30 girls are Kristin Okino and Shaye Uyematsu, while James Shinto and Reed Nakakihara will head the boys’ team.
The members of the girls’ team are Olivia Chan, Kelsey Ikemoto, Katey Kakimoto, Kaylee Kawaguchi, Sydney Matsumoto, Kiana Mitchell, Lynn Morishita, Allyson Nagatsuka, Kalia Toshima, Chloe Wong, Tamlyn Yoshida and Kaelyn Yoshizawa.
The boys selected for the Yonsei 30 team are Reid Abe, Jack Diancin, Josh Kagawan, Maxwell Kanamori, Bryce Liew, Tyler Louie, Daniel Nagata, Cole Nakata, Kade Shigekawa, Mason Sugimoto, Nolan Tagawa and Noah Tanioka.
In preparation for their trip to Japan, the players and parents will take part in monthly basketball practices and Japanese culture lessons. Fundraising efforts are already under way through the selling of commemorative Yonsei 30 T-shirts designed by Japangeles as well as raffle tickets.
The Yonsei Golf Tournament, another means to raise funds for the program, will be held on Monday, June 26, at Candlewood Country Club in Whittier. The team is asking for the community’s support in the way of donations for the silent auction, raffle prizes and golfers for the tournament.
Exhibition games featuring both the Yonsei 30 and Yonsei 27 teams will be held on Sunday, July 9, at Terasaki Budokan.
To support their efforts, or for additional information, email yonseiorganization@ gmail.com or visit www.yonseibasketball.org.