Ken Shem is a high school senior who loves Japanese history and traditions. He attends San Francisco Japanese School on Saturdays and is fluent in Japanese. When time permits, he enjoys Kendō (剣道) and Aikidō (合気道) practice. He has traveled to Japan many times, learning Japanese culture, geography, and history. While born and raised in San Jose, Ken appreciates Japanese traditional values, such as respect (敬意), courtesy (礼節), civility (礼儀正しさ), and humility (謙虚). He was motivated to start this project by his grandmother who lived through World War II in Japan and immigrated to the U.S. over 40 years ago. He wanted to lend a voice to earlier generations of Japanese immigrants in the Bay Area by hearing their stories of how Japanese traditions are being passed on to the next generation.
Joe Shem is a sophomore at University Preparatory Academy. He has studied Japanese since kindergarten and most recently attended a public school in Japan in the summer of 2019. He loves Japanese food and cherishes Japanese traditions like visiting and praying at Japanese temples and shrines.