News / Blog

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.

July 13, 2016 – 

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

“The three month journey to Japan strengthened my interests in the traditional arts and I am incorporating some basic principles of tradition into how I think about making work now. I continue to investigate the experience and the forms. It all feels raw and just barely in my grasp. I am still unpacking what those experiences mean to me moving forward.”

Dancer, choreographer and director Shinichi Iova-Koga was awarded a Creative Artist Exchange Fellowship in 2012. The Fellowship is funded by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and administered in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

While in Japan, Iova-Koga focused on traditional dance, examining the roots of both the Tadashi Suzuki Method and Butoh dance, which he had trained in extensively in the 1990’s. “In Japan, I practiced a basic Kagura dance, “Tori Mai,” with a history of over a thousand years. Suzuki Hiroshi currently keeps Kagura alive in the Tono community (Iwate prefecture)” explains Iova-Koga, adding that the music and dance of Kagura is connected to the agricultural cycle, dedicated to Kami-sama (Shinto gods).

“The strongest experience I had was performing Kagura in the context of community,” he says. “There’s no sense of classroom. There’s no sense of studying. Only practice and do!” Very few people spoke English in Tono, lova-Koga tells us.  “The experience of being in this rural, farming community made the greatest impact on me personally.”

He also spent a week studying Noh… » READ MORE

June 29, 2016 – 

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is currently accepting applications for its 2017 grants cycle.  All applications must be received by the Commission no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 1, 2016.

Means of delivery are via regular mail, commercial delivery service, in person or via messenger. Fax copies will not be accepted.

Applicants may call the Commission at 202-653-9800 with specific questions. Please first refer to the FAQ section of this website.

June 21, 2016 – 

In honor of its 40th Anniversary and of its historic ties to Okinawa, on June 15, 2016, the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission hosted its annual business meetings in Okinawa. To further commemorate the anniversary, JUSFC also hosted a forum to highlight partnership and exchange opportunities between U.S. universities and institutions of higher learning in Okinawa. The forum entitled, Preparing a Global Workforce: The Role of Higher Education took place in Chatan, Okinawa on June 15, 2016 and explored additional opportunities for the United States and Japan to work closely together to build the next generation global workforce.

The forum featured senior educators and administrators from the University of California system, the University of Hawai’i system, the University of Oregon, and Carroll College, along with their counterparts from the University Consortium Okinawa as well as JUSFC Commissioners and staff. Participants discussed international experience offerings for their students; obstacles that institutions are currently encountering; and what they need to enhance their programs or create new programs.

As a practical follow-up to the discussions, on June 16 JUSFC arranged for the U.S. educators to visit three Okinawan institutions of higher learning – National Institute of Technology-Okinawa College (KOSEN), the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), and the University of the Ryukyus (Ryudai) where they had the opportunity to interact with students and faculty and discuss opportunities to work together in the future.