Jennifer Keiko Ezaki

Parents: Bruce and Laura Ezaki

High School: Our Redeemer Lutheran, 2009

College/Degree/Year: Biola University, bachelor’s degree in communication, 2013; University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, post baccalaureate certification in special education, 2016.

“What does kokoro mean to you?”

“Kokoro is a reminder for me to remain present and connected in a constantly changing world filled with distractions. Kokoro does not have one simple functional translation, however, I think the phrase ‘a mindful heart’ encapsulates kokoro as an embodiment of cognitive empathy. Kokoro is about connecting with others on a more than surface level, sympathizing with others, having a deep understating of one’s self, and cultivating meaningful relationships. As a middle school teacher, I try to practice the philosophy of kokoro every day. Through continued interactions with my students, parents, co-workers, and friends, I not only gain a deeper insight of them but I gain a deeper understanding of God and myself. Kokoro is dynamic. What kokoro signifies to me is dependent on my life experiences and is ever changing. The philosophy of Kokoro has transcended time and has been a part of Japanese thinking for centuries.”

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