News / Blog

January 19, 2018 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission was established as an independent federal agency by Congress in 1975 (P.L. 94-118).  The Commission administers a U.S. government trust fund that originated in connection with the return to the Japanese government of certain U.S. facilities in Okinawa and for postwar U.S. assistance to Japan.  As amended, it may also receive gifts of cash from outside sources.

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission has authorization under P.L. 94-118 to spend up to approximately five percent of the principal in its trust funds, and any amount of its gift funds, without Congressional appropriation.  In the event of an appropriations hiatus, the Commission will use a portion of the five percent drawdown authority given to it by Congress, as well as its gift funds, to carry out and maintain activities through the period of any government shutdown.

January 19, 2018 – 

Washington, DC January 18, 2018:  The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) is pleased to announce that Congressman French Hill has joined JUSFC as a Commissioner.

This week, Speaker Paul Ryan appointed Congressman French Hill (AR-02) to serve on the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, an independent federal government agency established by Congress in 1975.

The Commission’s mission is to promote partnerships that advance common interests and aims to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship through educational, cultural, and intellectual exchange.

“Japan and the United States share a vital partnership, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve on this worthy commission,” said Rep. Hill. “Japan is the fourth largest recipient of Arkansas exports, and Japanese-owned Tokusen USA, which is located in my Congressional District, is an important part of our Central Arkansas community. I thank Speaker Ryan for appointing me to this commission, and I’m honored to be a part of our efforts to further strengthen the economic and national security of the U.S.-Japan relationship.”

“Representative Hill’s background representing the United States in the historic bilateral talks with Japan known as the Structural Impediments Initiative (SII) and his work strengthening U.S.-partnerships around the globe make him a great addition to this commission,” said Speaker Ryan. “I appreciate his willingness to serve, and I’m confident he will do a great job helping to advance our U.S.-Japan relationship.”

The complete press release is available here.

January 16, 2018 – 

Nearly 600 people attended the premiere of the Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise exhibition in October at Japan Society in midtown Manhattan – one of its most successful openings in its recent history. The exhibit’s striking design and Sugimoto’s monumental photographs drew critical raves from both the general public and the art world.

“One always aspires to present an exhibit in a way that its relevance is immediately understood,” explained Dr. Michael Chagnon, Japan Society’s Curator of Exhibition Interpretation. “New York City is an overly saturated art market, and we’re thrilled to have successfully reached both those familiar with Sugimoto’s work and those being introduced to Japanese art for the first time.”

The exhibition tracks the journey of one of the earliest cultural exchanges between Japan and the West by tracing the footsteps of four Japanese boys as they explored 16th-century Europe as the first official emissaries from Japan. Various educational components and related performing arts programs held in conjunction with the exhibit amplified its impact.

“We really couldn’t think of a more important project to celebrate our 110th anniversary as an organization and our mission of cultivating a broader understanding between Japan and the U.S.,” Dr. Chagnon shared.

One of the premier institutions bringing contemporary Japanese art to the United States, Japan Society hosts two major exhibitions each year, covering topics as diverse as classical Buddhist sculpture and calligraphy, contemporary photography and ceramics, samurai swords, export porcelain, and masterpieces of painting from the 13th to 21st centuries.

Japan Society has a longstanding relationship… » READ MORE

January 10, 2018 – 

Two outstanding scholars are the recipients of the 2017-18 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. The prizes will be awarded in March 2018 at a ceremony at the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, Columbia University.

David Boyd, SLOW BOAT (Pushkin Press, 2017);

Hiroaki Sato, THE SILVER SPOON: MEMOIR OF A BOYHOOD IN JAPAN (Stone Bridge Press, 2015)

The Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature was established in 1979. The award has been administered by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University since the Center was founded in 1986. The Prize is awarded annually to outstanding works of translation into English from the Japanese language.

The complete press release is available here.

January 4, 2018 – 

Calling all artists! Join us for a Twitter chat on January 11, 2018 at 6pm Eastern Time with the National Endowment for the Arts to discuss the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program. Connect with program alumna LaTasha Diggs, learn how to apply and get tips and advice during the chat! Applications are due February 1, 2018.

Follow us on Twitter @J_USFC and hashtag #JUSFC.

January 2, 2018 – 

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB), is the only Off-Broadway theater in New York and one of just a few in the United States that is dedicated to advancing actors and writers with disabilities — and changing the image of people with disabilities.

“We have always been an integrated company of both disabled and non-disabled artists,” says TBTB Artistic Director Nicholas Viselli. “We’ve acquired a reputation for excellence while modeling the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our work. Support from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) has  allowed us to expand our work and mission globally to Japan, and has truly been a game-changer for us.”

Founded in 1979 as Theater by the Blind and showcasing the work of blind and low vision artists and actors, TBTB expanded its mission in 2008 to include writers, directors, administrators and performers of all disabilit

ies, and changed its name to Theater Breaking Through Barriers, retaining the “TBTB” acronym by which they are most commonly known. It is TBTB’s principal goal to alter the negative stereotypes surrounding disability and to ultimately show the “vibrancy and vitality of our artists through our art.”

“It has always been challenging to attract audiences to our work because of the stigmas and fears surrounding disability,” explains Viselli. “It is our ultimate goal to change those perceptions, and to prove that disability does not diminish or detract from the quality of the art or the artist.  Nearly 20% — one fifth — of our country’s population currently lives with a physical disability. It… » READ MORE

November 30, 2017 – 

The Japan U.S. Friendship Commission offers leading contemporary and traditional artists from the United States the opportunity to spend three to five months in Japan through the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program.  The application deadline is February 1, 2018. To learn more, please visit: U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program


October 26, 2017 – 

In 2012 Deborah Dash Moore, Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, presented her research on American Jewish history in a series of lectures at the University of Kitakyushu in Japan. Her work interested many Japanese students and scholars, particularly women, who found similarities and shared experiences in her seminar.

Moore is one of the many American historians granted a two-week Japan Residencies Program fellowship facilitated by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the Japan Association for American Studies (JAAS), with support from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. Moore, now chair of the OAH/JAAS committee, says “It’s an interaction among a diverse group of people that allows for professional and personal growth, often sparking long-term relationships.”

The program, which began in 1997 sends two OAH scholars to Japan each year. The  awardees travel to assigned host institutions in different parts of Japan. There they offer six lectures to undergraduates and graduate students, creating scholarly dialogue and exchange, and contributing to the expansion of scholarly networks among students and professors of American history in both countries.

The institutional grant from JUSFC has typically covered housing and the seminars. The grant also allows three Japanese graduate students studying in the United States to attend the OAH annual meeting, providing opportunities for networking with other many scholars. In 2017 Rikkyo University and Osaka University hosted the American scholars. “One of the major highlights was having both scholars attend the JAAS annual meeting at Waseda University,” said Professor Akiyo Okuda of Keio University and JAAS… » READ MORE

September 21, 2017 – 

Please join us for a discussion on the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission’s current programs and funding priorities. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm at  Musashi University (room 8-602) Toyotamakami 1-26-1, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 176-0011 and will be led by the Commission’s Executive Director Ms. Paige Cottingham-Streater and Associate Executive Director Ms. Niharika Chibber Joe.  Attendance is limited to 20 people. If you would like to attend, please respond by Monday, October 2 to Dr. Brian Masshardt, (


August 28, 2017 – 

Eighty-three years ago, before World War II, students concerned about the relationship between the United States and Japan created the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC). JASC is a student-led exchange that allows young people from each country to spend a month together learning, growing and finding new ways to build the bilateral relationship.

In 2008, the Korea-America Student Conference began, which

then led to the creation of a parent organization, International Student Conferences (ISC). Both programs work to identify future leaders for the Asia-Pacific region to expand interest in and strengthen relationships between the countries.

JUSFC recently spoke with ISC’s Executive Director Linda Butcher. Butcher says the mission and values of JUSFC and ISC-JASC are closely aligned, both working to strengthen the U.S.-Japan partnership through education, culture and intellectual conversation. “As an institutional grantee, we’re very fortunate to have JUSFC’s support. These relationships are stronger because that financial support allows us to continue the conversation,” Butcher adds.

JASC is the first and oldest student-led exchange program. Benefits of participating include professional growth, leadership skills development and increased cultural understanding.

“The confidence that the students gain through speaking opportunities is inspiring,” Butcher says. The program helps expand communication skills and gain insight beyond media headlines and stereotypes. Alumni report the program changed their life and many continue to stay engaged with the U.S.-Japan relationship.

This year, JASC is hosting its 69th conference, bringing together 72 Japanese and American students of all backgrounds and perspectives. Host cities include Tokyo, Kyoto, and first-time host prefectures Ehime and Mie.