Munetaka Soai is a Secondary teacher at Tamagawa Academy, Tokyo, Japan. He graduated from Tamagawa University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pedagogical Philosophy, and started his teaching career as a civics teacher. In 1995, he had the opportunity to develop a new civics elective class for Grade 12 students and started World Studies at Tamagawa Academy.
In 1998, Munetaka took a three-year leave from Tamagawa and studied English at St. Michael’s College, in Vermont, USA and Toronto, Canada. Later, he entered a graduate program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Canada, where David Selby served as his academic supervisor. In addition to his graduate studies, Munetaka also taught Social Studies at The Japanese School of Toronto as a part-time teacher (1999 to 2000).
His final masters thesis was titled Making Connections between Global Education and Whole Person Education: Implications for Implementing Global Education in Japan (2001). After earning his masters degree, Munetaka entered a three-month internship program (January to March, 2001) at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York. He interned with the Youth Employment Project, a UN and ILO joint project, to research practices provided by global companies such as Rio Tinto to reinforce employment opportunities for younger generations.
Munetaka also attended Project Zero at Harvard University`s Graduate School of Education (HGSE), U.S.A in 2003 and completed the ‘Differentiating Instruction’ course on line (2005).
Upon his return to Japan, Munetaka became Head of the Social Studies Department at the Upper Secondary Division, Tamagawa Academy. In 2006, he led a team redesigning Tamagawa Academy`s K-12, continuous Social Studies curriculum for elementary, middle, and senior high schools. In 2002, Munetaka initiated a nationwide movement that encouraged Japanese schools to hold mock elections to empower youth voters. His teaching practices in holding mock elections received extensive media coverage, including on Fuji News JAPAN on Channel 8, and has been featured in newspaper articles in the EDUCATIONAL RENAISSANCE, Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan Times, House of Japan, Kyodo News, and Governance World Watch by DPADM/UNDESA.
In 2011, Tamagawa`s K-12 Social Studies Department was awarded the ‘Superior Promoting Manifesto Award 2011’ because its mock election practices have not only influenced many educational institutions across Japan, but also NPOs and other institutions in the public sector. Currently, Shinmizu Shoin, one of Japan`s premier textbook publishers, has opted to feature photos from mock elections held at Tamagawa Academy.
Munetaka has also served as a conference member on the NHKEducational TV program (2006), and is currently an active member of the Association For Promoting Fair Elections in Machida city, Tokyo (2010 to present).
Recently, Munetaka has been actively involved in setting up the curriculum for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Humanities program at Tamagawa Academy.
Ever since earning his Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Instructor Certificate at Hilton Head, he has been busy playing, and coaching tennis. He also enjoys watching movies related to social issues and eating sweets in his leisure time.
Lastly, Munetaka was guest speaker at the Annual Kyoto Conference on Junior Chamber International Japan, January 2014, about raising youth consciousness of mock elections.