News / Blog

February 23, 2017 – 

This week U.S. Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI5) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX20) arrived in Tokyo for the start of the first Asia trip under the new Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange.  

The first day of the exchange began with a meeting with representatives of the Japanese media, followed by a lunch for U.S. and Japanese business representatives co-hosted with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.  Representatives Sensenbrenner and Castro then joined other visiting U.S. lawmakers for a U.S. Embassy Tokyo briefing and a meeting with Prime Minister Abe. 

Their final meeting of the day was with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.  The U.S. legislators participated in a bilateral session with Diet members in Tokyo February 21 and then traveled to Seoul for a February 22 trilateral session with Diet and National Assembly members. 

February 21, 2017 – 

Cultural researchers Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas of MarkSearch were awarded the Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship in 2016 and traveled to Japan in May 2016 for a six-month residency. Sue and Bruce are passionate about experiencing different ways of living and viewing the world through another perspective. They do this by viewing people and places through their creative lens.

They are no strangers to living abroad. In 2013, they traveled to Portugal to research the disappearance of handicraft and agricultural practices in a region comprising 26 villages. When they learned they would be living in Japan, they began intensive Japanese study. While Bruce learned to read and write, Sue worked on conversation and listening comprehension. With their combined Japanese language skills, they were able to communicate with Japanese locals.

Their main goal while in Japan was to learn about how architectural traditions are shared over time, and how these traditions may change as time goes on. Their creative process blends artistic, visual and performative work with sociology and anthropology.  Sue and Bruce made Kanazawa, Ishikawa their home in Japan. Kanazawa is one of the few Japanese cities that was not destroyed during World War II or harmed by any natural disaster. Much of the traditional architecture — such as the Machiya, traditional townhouses from the Edo period (1603-1867) — are still intact. These historic homes function as both residences and businesses. Sue and Bruce were interested in understanding local policies and the process of Machiya renovation, especially because more than 200 Machiya in… » READ MORE

February 9, 2017 – 

JUSFC is delighted to support the National Bureau of Asian Research’s (NBR) Pacific Trilateralism project.  Pacific Trilaterism is designed to increase public understanding of the evolution of the dynamics between the United States, Japan and South Korea, and how the three nations can work jointly to strengthen their relationship in the coming decades.

“Grant support from JUSFC was critical for this project because it allowed NBR to engage and inform key Members of Congress and the media,” says Dan Aum, Director of NBR Government and Media Relations. “Our goal is not to just present issues, but also to provide informed recommendations derived from our network of experts to key policymakers.”

The first phase of the project identified scholars from each of the three countries to author policy briefs that addressed the history of the trilateral relationship from their own country’s perspective. Daniel Sneider of Stanford University, Yoshihide Soeya of Keio University, and Yul Sohn of Yonsei University, authored preliminary briefs that would later develop into a larger report and be the focal point for a policy event on Capitol Hill.

The second phase of Pacific Trilateralism began in late 2016 and will continue through August 2017. Later this year, experts will travel to Japan and South Korea for in-depth discussions with stakeholders in Seoul and Tokyo. The groundwork for this visit was laid at a Washington, D.C. workshop where the experts identified four key issues in the trilateral relationship: regional security threats, energy security threats, non-traditional security threats, and cyber and new… » READ MORE

January 11, 2017 – 

Calling all artists! Join us for a Twitter chat tonight (January 11, 2017) at 6pm Eastern Time with the National Endowment for the Arts to discuss the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program. Connect with program alumni, learn how to apply and get tips and advice during tonight’s chat! Applications are due February 1, 2017.

Follow us on Twitter @J_USFC and hashtag #JUSFC.

December 27, 2016 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, CULCON and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF) in Washington, DC are seeking TWO spring 2017 interns to support current initiatives, which include activities promoting U.S.-Japan cultural, educational and people-to-people exchange. Interns will be working from a small office in a team-oriented and fast-paced environment and will be expected to be both proactive and flexible in completing assignments.

APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR SPRING 2017 INTERNSHIPS: January 4, 2017 . Our goal is to make decisions by January 16 . (This will depend on the interview process.)

The internships are located in Washington, D.C. Minimum 30 hours/week for 6 weeks, 9 am-4 pm.  The internships are unpaid, but interns receive a reimbursement for actual local transportation costs.

Applicants should be current undergraduate or graduate students with an interest in Japan, excellent communication, research, Internet and organizational skills. Some knowledge of the Japanese language is helpful, but not critical. Please send a resume and cover letter to: culcon@jusfc.gov. Please include preferred start and end dates as well as contact information (email and phone) for up to two references.

Additional details about the internship program may be found here.

September 27, 2016 – 

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is having conversations with a number of grantees.

Landscape architect Ron Henderson was awarded a Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship in 2011 and traveled to Japan in 2012. The Fellowship is funded by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and administered in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Here, Henderson reflects on his experiences as a Fellow living in Japan.

“As a landscape architect, Japan is an important place for the profession because of its garden traditions,” says Henderson. “It was a great opportunity for me to spend time as a landscape architect investigating the gardens and horticultural practices of Japan.”

Seeking ancient cherry trees that had been cared for and protected in Japan for generations was a remarkable experience for Henderson, who visited ancient trees and culturally-celebrated cherry blossom sites.  He researched the unique phenomenon of Japanese cherry blossoms, and interviewed scholars, garden designers and anthropologists. He also documented the particular local horticultural practices of Japan such as pruning, branch crutching, and rope-tenting.

Like many fellows, Henderson presented his work at a public event at the International House of Japan. The event shared his research into the significance of cherry trees and sakura blossoms in Japanese design and culture. His presentation included an exhibition of his sakura orihon, folding sketchbooks, which he used to archive his travel throughout Japan.

While in Kyoto, Henderson interviewed Toemon Sano, the 16th generation head gardener of the Ueto Gardening Company. He has designed many renowned Japanese… » READ MORE

August 30, 2016 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF) in Washington, DC are seeking TWO fall 2016 interns to support current initiatives, which include activities promoting U.S.-Japan cultural, educational and people-to-people exchange. Interns will be working from a small office in a team-oriented and fast-paced environment and will be expected to be both proactive and flexible in completing assignments.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 7, 2016. Offers to be made by September 14. (This will depend on the interview process.)

The internships are located in Washington, D.C. Minimum 30 hours/week for 6 weeks, 9 am-4 pm.  The internships are unpaid, but interns receive a reimbursement for actual local transportation costs. 

Applicants should be current undergraduate or graduate students with an interest in Japan, excellent communication, research, Internet and organizational skills. Some knowledge of the Japanese language is helpful, but not critical. Please send a resume and cover letter to: culcon@jusfc.gov. Please include preferred start and end dates as well as contact information (email and phone) for up to two references.

Additional details about the internship program may be found here.

 

 

August 3, 2016 – 

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C., August 3, 2016: The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that a group of five outstanding artists from the United States have been selected to participate in the 2017 U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program. The artists will travel to Japan during the 2017 calendar year to pursue their three to five month residency. Since the program’s inception in 1978, 165 U.S. artists, representing a diverse range of disciplines, have been selected to travel to Japan under this program.

The 2017 group of U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program fellows includes:

Elaine Buckholtz – Visual Artist – Boston, MA

Jami Nakamura Lin, Writer – Chicago, IL

Kimi Maeda, Theater Artist – Columbia, SC

Quynh Vantu, Architect, Artist – Glen Allen, VA

Vanessa Voskuil, Choreographer, director, performer, writer, designer, teaching artist – Minneapolis, MN

“This award recognizes the outstanding talent among U.S. artists and the importance of cultural exchange between Japan and the United States”, said Paige Cottingham-Streater, Executive Director of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. “The Commission is proud of its longstanding partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and we are delighted to support this unique experience for people-to-people exchange.”

Since 1978, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with the International House of Japan (I-House) and the Government of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs have administered the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program. Each year five leading U.S.-based artists, representing… » READ MORE

July 18, 2016 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is delighted to announce that Commissioners T.J. Pempel and Sheila Smith have been awarded the Government of Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation for FY 2016. The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries.

T.J. Pempel serves as a Commissioner on the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. He is currently Jack M. Forcey Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to Berkeley, Prof. Pempel was the Boeing Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington. He has also served on the faculty at Cornell University, the University of Colorado and the University of Wisconsin. Prof. Pempel’s research and teaching focus on comparative politics, political economy, contemporary Japan, and Asian regional ties. His recent books include Remapping East Asia: The Construction of a Region; Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political Economy; Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia and The Economic-Security Nexus in Northeast Asia. In addition, he has published over one hundred twenty scholarly articles and chapters in books. Prof. Pempel received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University. His current research involves Asian adjustments to the rise in global finance and the decline in security bipolarity. He is active in the Northeast Asian Cooperation Dialogue.

Sheila A. Smith serves as vice-chair of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. She is the Senior Fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR),… » READ MORE

July 14, 2016 – 

The next deadline for submitting institutional grants to the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is July 1, 2017.

2016 Applicants may expect to hear from JUSFC in early October 2016.