News / Blog

May 22, 2017 – 

Join us for a Twitter chat (May 25, 2017) at 3pm Eastern Daylight Time to discuss JUSFC Institutional Grants. Learn about JUSFC’s grantmaking priorities. Learn how to apply and get tips and advice during the chat! Applications are due July 3, 2017.

Find us on Twitter @J_USFC and hashtag #JUSFC.

May 8, 2017 – 

The Japan U.S. Friendship Commission is pleased to support the National Association of Japan America Societies’ (NAJAS) Richard J. Wood Art Curator Series. This program offers a series of talks at Japan-America Societies by curators of Japanese art at major museums in the United States. The participating curators are well known in the field and represent some of the best known collections of Japanese art in the America.

NAJAS facilitates the signature events in this art series by selecting three Japan-America Societies (JAS) as hosts. The three JAS are competitively chosen from amongst NAJAS’ 37 member organizations.

On April 24, 2017, the Japan-America Society of North Carolina (JASNC) hosted the first talk of the 2017 Richard Wood Art Curator Series. “Our goal was to partner with museum curators and share their wonderful collections of Japanese art with Japan-America Society cities throughout the United States.,” explains NAJAS President Peter Kelley. “Curators give presentations about their favorite objects in the home museum’s collection, who the collectors were and why the art is important.”

In North Carolina, Dr. John Carpenter of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art presented the conference’s keynote address at the Ackland Art Museum on the topic, “The Three Perfections of Japanese Art: Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy – Masterworks from the Mary Griggs Burke Collection,” which is currently on exhibit at The Met. “These human interest stories regarding the collectors are just as appealing as the art,” adds Peter Kelley. “It is important to mix the art with the fascinating… » READ MORE

April 13, 2017 – 

With degrees in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and in Interactive Telecommunication from NYU, Alex Dodge’s work combines the promise of technology as it interacts with and shapes human experience. He focuses his attention as an artist between new media and traditional fine art disciplines including painting, printmaking, woodworking and sculpture. His work is in the collections of the Museum

of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Dodge was awarded a JUSFC Creative Artist Fellowship in 2016. He traveled to Japan in October 2016 to pursue his interests in technology and traditional woodworking.

On the technology side, working at a pure code level led him to create generative systems that can build self-evolving sculpture and other art. Dodge put his ideas into motion by experimenting with language, writing code for programs that would generate new words that were statistically similar to real words but did not have any meaning.

“I took a Japanese language class in high school and fell in love with it,” he explains. “Using Japanese as my model, the idea was to create an empty container of meaning that could be experienced much like art.”

These language programs evolved into physical, visual forms, generating billions of unique shapes, similar to Tetris shapes that self-formed and assembled based on the conditions of their environment.

Dodge combined this fascinating project with his interest in Japanese joinery, a form of traditional woodworking. Two years before, he had contacted… » READ MORE

March 14, 2017 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is delighted to announce that two outstanding scholars from the United States have been selected to participate in the 2017 Fellowship Program for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan. The Fellowship is a joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.-Japan relations.

Aaron S. Moore Arizona State University Engineering Asian Development: The Cold War and Japan’s Post-Colonial Power in Asia

Amy Borovoy Princeton University Organ Donation and Medical Practices in Modern Japanese Culture

For more information on the Fellowship, please attend NEH’s panel at the Association of Asian Studies’ meeting this week. March 18, 10:45a.m., Birchwood Ballroom, Sheraton Centre Toronto. Please also visit  NEH’s website.

March 13, 2017 – 

Who is studying Japanese? And why is Japanese language study important? To address the rising concern within some academic circles in the United States and Japan that Japan Studies as a field is in “crisis”, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission convened a roundtable discussion at AAS’ annual meeting in March 2016. The program, which drew an audience of nearly 100 faculty and graduate students examined the current trends in Japan Studies; identified the issues that need to be addressed; and solicited recommendations on creating a demand for and diversifying Japan Studies in the United States.

As a follow-up to the 2016 roundtable, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is hosting a panel discussion at AAS 2017 to identify solutions by discussing Japanese language study in the context of the broader theme of Japan Studies. The panel will focus on ways to secure interest in and support for Japanese language study amongst the next generation of students.

Please join us on Thursday, March 16, 2017, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Mezzanine, Willow Centre

The conversation will continue on Twitter at @j_usfc #JUSFCJapanStudies

Please also join us at a networking reception. Meet JUSFC Commissioners, staff and grantees. Saturday, March 18, 7:30 to 9:30pm, Chestnut Room, Sheraton Centre Toronto.

The Commission has spent the last four decades supporting the U.S.-Japan relationship through public policy, arts, culture, and educational exchanges. 

 

March 13, 2017 – 

In 2014 the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission awarded an institutional grant to the East-West Center (EWC) in Washington, D.C. to support their Japan Matters for America website project. With JUSFC’s help, EWC created an online platform that houses comprehensive and multi-activity data to showcase Japan’s critical importance to the United States, and vice versa.  Satu Limaye, Director of EWC in Washington, created the Asia Matters for America initiative. Asia Matters for America brings together ideas of innovation, leadership and international understanding of the overall U.S.-Asia relationship, with a deeper focus on ASEAN, South Korea, Australia, China, India, Taiwan and Japan.

“After we completed the initial Asia Matters for America project, we felt the need to dig deeper into Japan because of its important range of relationships at the national, state and local level,” Satu recalls. The Japan Matters for America initiative launched in 2009 with two initial components — a dual-language publication that provided graphics, analysis and data, followed by populating the website with all the research and data.

“We’re very grateful for JUSFC’s generous support toward this effort,” Satu said. “We could not have built this key interactive resource — for policymakers, congressional members and staff, teachers, students and anyone interested in learning about U.S.-Japan relations — without the initial grant.” When Prime Minister Abe addressed a joint session of Congress in 2015, highlighting the strong relationship between both nations, the Japan Matters for America site was mentioned in a “Dear Colleague” letter.

The website is continually updated with stories, blog posts… » READ MORE

March 6, 2017 – 

JUSFC will host a roundtable discussion at the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies in Toronto on March 16, 2017 to address why Japanese language study is important and the ways in which to secure interest and support for language study among the next generation of students.  Here, we are highlighting the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ), a longtime JUSFC grantee, which works to promote study of the Japanese language at all levels of instruction in the field and to broaden and deepen knowledge and appreciation of Japan and its culture.

Since 1997, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission has been a strong supporter of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ). In addition to administering scholarships, AATJ provides support and professional development opportunities for more than 1500 teachers and scholars throughout the United States.

Every year, AATJ awards scholarships to hundreds of students, mostly undergraduate sophomores and juniors. The students who apply and are awarded these scholarships major in Japanese or Asian studies; many are also interested in Japanese art, engineering and popular culture. Susan Schmidt, Executive Director of AATJ, has been with the organization since its establishment and has seen a big culture shift over the years. “Back in the early 1990s, students were interested in Japan because of the business opportunities, whether that meant starting a career in business or physically working in Japan,” Schmidt notes. “In recent years, a lot of young people are interested in the pop culture that has emerged in Japan;… » READ MORE

February 28, 2017 – 

  • In its longstanding mission to support the U.S.-Japan relationship through the arts, the Creative Artists Program of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) annually sends five mid-career U.S. artists to spend three to five months in Japan, to further their artistic experience and research into Japanese art and culture. Artists are selected through a highly competitive process organized by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in Japan are supported by the Arts Program at the International House of Japan (IHJ). In order to promote this dynamic and artistic cultural exchange, the program is pleased to announce an open search for an Arts Programs Coordinator.
  • The successful candidate will have excellent native English speaking and writing abilities and familiarity with a broad range of contemporary American art. Duties shared between program associates include pre-departure support and orientation for incoming fellows; planning, moderating, and interpreting for Artists’ Forum events; consulting on art-related and practical matters; and producing written communications in English for public release as well as internal reporting. As such, the following qualifications are also required: fluent Japanese (speaking, reading, listening) and knowledge of art, culture, and life in Japan; digital media fluency; and willingness to share professional contacts with incoming artists. Possession of Japanese working visa is required.
  • The Arts Programs Coordinator must commit to working 1-2 days at IHJ per week, and more as necessary. About five Artists’ Forum events per year will require late nights. Remuneration shall be in the range of JPY 1,000,000 – JPY 1,400,000/year, plus… » READ MORE

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