In January 2019, Amy Wolfson, Ph.D., traveled to Tokyo, Japan with husband and Loyola professor, Andrew Futterman, Ph.D., to speak with colleagues and teachers regarding adolescent sleep patterns, academic performance, and school start times.
The Start School Later Project in Japan seminar was held at Keio University Medical School, Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Wolfson was invited by Akiyoshi Shimura, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Medical University, and Mr. Shunta Hagiwara, Hitotsubashi University, Exchange at UC Berkeley and the Start School Later Project in Japan committee.
Dr. Wolfson served as both a panelist and Keynote speaker. Special thanks to Reina Ooka Goto, M.D., at Keio Medical School who assisted as interpreter during Dr. Wolfson's keynote address.
The audience for the inaugural Start School Later Project in Japan’s seminar included Tokyo public and private school teachers, academic psychologists, physicians, and a few elected officials.
In Tokyo, both public and private middle and high schools start between 8:00 and 8:30 am, however, often Japanese teenagers commute to school on their own, traveling as many as 60 minutes each direction. Similar to U.S. adolescents, early start times and long student commutes make it impossible for adolescents to get the sufficient sleep that is needed and crucial for learning and health.
After the seminar and before returning home, Dr. Wolfson and Dr. Futterman spent time at the Japanese Gardens in Kyoto. Dr. Wolfson plans to continue her work with her colleagues in Japan on the Start School Later project.