日本語 (coming soon!)
PERCEPTIONS OF JAPAN IN THE U.S.
Japan’s contributions to art, culture, society, and technology are among the world’s most significant. The country’s economy is also among the largest and most dynamic. Japan is America’s fourth-largest trading partner and one of its most important allies. Despite this, a significant number of Americans cannot meaningfully differentiate Japan from other East Asian nations. Indeed, the significance of Japanese society and its contributions to the U.S. and the rest of the world are largely unknown to the American public.
PUTTING A FACE TO THE CULTURE
It was with this in mind that The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and Laurasian Institution designed the Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI). The program offers a grassroots opportunity for Americans to develop a deeper understanding of Japan through contact with volunteer Japanese coordinators throughout the U.S.
The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and Laurasian Institution identify and select coordinators. All have a four-year university degree, excellent English skills, and strong intercultural communication and public speaking skills. They all also bring an impressive command of Japanese culture and a sincere desire to engage and share.
Coordinators are hosted by American nonprofits and educational institutions for two years during which time they prepare tailored Japanese cultural presentations for audiences of all ages, assist in outreach programs (schools, community organizations, professional groups, etc.), assist in the organization of Japanese events (holiday celebrations, art and cultural fairs, sports, etc.), train other local volunteers, and much more. As past JOI participants have demonstrated, the themes that run through all coordinator efforts are building bridges and making Japanese culture accessible for the general public.
JAPANESE CULTURE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
JOI is a unique cost-effective way for American nonprofits and educational institutions to introduce Japanese culture to their community. Host organizations receive extensive program support, including training for the onsite supervisor. In return, the organization helps ensure the program’s success by introducing the coordinator to area schools, community and professional networks, and local business associations.