Japanese students

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – While most Kentucky high school students visit the Capitol on a field trip, a group touring on Tuesday came from much farther away than Ashland, Pikeville or Fulton.

Rep. Deanna Frazier, R-Richmond, hosted the tour for 32 English language students from Yamanashi Gakuin High School in Japan, which is part of a two-week visit to Kentucky.

She says the Capitol tour is part of a sister cities agreement they have had with Hokuto City in the Yamanashi Prefecture for 32 years. “To share ideas, to expose them to our culture, for us to get exposed to theirs; which will foster relationships and help lead to general economic and educational success.”

Frazier delivered a welcome address, telling the students, “Forming these bonds is so critical to our culture and your culture as well. It’s an opportunity for learning, and we applaud that any time that can occur.”

While in Frankfort, the students also had a tour of the Governor’s Mansion and visited the Salato Wildlife Center.

Kent Gilbert, with the Madison County International Committee, says the purpose is educational. “The students are here to do an English immersion home stay. They’re stating in houses in Madison County and attending English as a Second Language classes.”

The students have also visited several of the Japanese-owned factories in central Kentucky and the Science Center at Eastern Kentucky University, as part of their experience, according to Gilbert.

“They’ll also go to Natural Bridge State Park, Cumberland Falls. They’ll also have tours of the University of Kentucky, Berea College, the Kentucky river Palisades, and some fun things as well, such as the mother ship of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin.”

Gilbert says Yamanashi Gakuin High School is a 500-student private school that is renowned for both their academics and sports and currently has the number one soccer team in Japan.

During the stop, Frazier presented Noriyuki Yamauchi, Principal of Yamanashi Gakuin High School, a Kentucky Colonel Award. This, to honor his distinguished career as an educator and his efforts to forge a deeper bond between Japanese students and Madison County.

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