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Update from Team TOMODACHI
August 2018

Twenty Students from Tohoku Travel to California on the 7th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program

From July 26 to August 9, 2018, twenty middle and high school students selected from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures participated in the 7th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program, and visited Los Angeles, California for two weeks.

Uniquely offered in Los Angeles, many of the activities were themed around diversity, and the participants experienced homestays during the program. The participants deepened their knowledge of Japanese American history and the U.S.-Japan relationship through visits to the Tanaka farm, which is run by Japanese Americans; the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles; MUFG Union Bank; and the Japanese American National Museum. Moreover, the participants participated in a workshop on diversity in American society delivered by Dr. Curtis Rooks of Loyola Marymount University. The students learned about the challenges and mindsets surrounding the tackling of such issues.

The Farewell Party brought together host families and those who contributed to the program. The participants, in small groups, determined the themes of their research, and presented their findings and lessons from the program in English. Read More>>

One Hundred Next-Generation Leaders, Leading the Future of Tohoku, Developed Action Plans to Bring Positive Changes to Communities upon Completion of Program in the U.S.

From July 20 to August 9, 2018, 100 high school students from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures participated in the TOMODACHI Summer 2018 SoftBank Leadership Program in Berkeley, California, and its suburbs.

This three-week program consists of three stages. First, the participants learn about Y-PLAN (Youth, Plan, Action, Now!), which is a project-based civic learning experiences to tackle real-world problems in their communities. The participants study Y-PLAN! at the University of California, Berkeley, where Chairman and CEO Mr. Masayoshi Son of SoftBank Group Corp., the corporate sponsor of the program, previously studied.
Second, the students receive a request from the City of Richmond and North Richmond in California, and develop and present action plans to rejuvenate these areas. Lastly, each of the 100 high school students develop and present their own action plans to be implemented in the Tohoku region. Furthermore, the participants experience homestays over a weekend, and participate in many activities, including a baseball game and other cultural experiences and interactions.

Upon arriving, the 100 students were divided into four groups, and began learning about the Y-PLAN! from the instructors and Field Assistants (FA). Read More>>

Completing the U.S. Study Tour Filled with a Sense of Accomplishment, Seven Nursing Students Return to Japan with a Strong Passion

From August 5 to 16, 2018, seven nursing students originally from and currently in the Tohoku region visited New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. through the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program 2018 U.S.Study Tour. During visits to three different cities, the participants learned about medical procedures and nursing in the U.S. and the role of healthcare in times of disaster and emergency, as well as the role of nurses. They also visited places where past disasters have occurred, learning about people’s grief in times of disaster and gaining firsthand knowledge of recovery efforts that are still ongoing today.

The students also received a warm welcome at the headquarters of the program’s sponsor, Johnson & Johnson. This year, the participants were also invited to a newly established museum owned by the company. They learned about the company’s history of contribution and the generous support it has provided to the field of medicine and nursing. Warm words of encouragement were sent to the participants, who will become the future of nursing. On the last day, two participants, on behalf of the group, gave speeches in English at a reception held at Children’s National. Read More>>

The Latest on TOMODACHI Programs and Activities

TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellowship Reunion Event Held in Tokyo

On July 26, 2018, the TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellowship Reunion Event was held at UNIQLO CITY TOKYO in Ariake, Tokyo. Over 49 people participated in the event, including nine program participants (two of whom participated through video messages) and 40 employees of FAST RETAILING CO., LTD. Yukihiro Katsuta, Group Senior Vice President of FAST RETAILING CO., LTD., began the event by discussing the establishment of the TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellowship. He noted, “this fellowship was founded on the desire to foster a new generation of leaders who would play an active role not only in economic areas, but in various fields. We also hoped that these young leaders would inspire a change in Japan and become a bridge between Japan and the United States.”

A panel titled “Studying at Fashion Business School and Careers” was led by Fumito Kitamura, Director, Global In-store Merchandising of UNIQLO CO., LTD., who is also a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) graduate. Panelists included Natsuko Koike (2013 Fellow), Yui Yasuda (2014 Fellow), Hiroko Hiraki (2015 Fellow), and Junko Arai (2016 Fellow). Read More>>

TOMODACHI High School Women Career Mentoring Program in Fukushima 2018 STEP 1 Dance Workshop with the Young Americans

From August 13 to 16, 2018, STEP 1 of the TOMODACHI High School Women Career Mentoring Program in Fukushima 2018 supported by the TOMODACHI Combini Fund, titled “Dance Workshop with the Young Americans,” took place in Tokyo. One hundred and twenty-six high school sophomore women from throughout Fukushima Prefecture were selected to participate in this career mentoring program, which consists of four sessions or “STEPS.” Over the course of the program, the students interact with and learn from female mentors with various backgrounds, nationalities, and careers. The goal of the program is to support the students so they can broaden their perspectives and gain the confidence to open doors and discover new opportunities for their future.

The first day of STEP 1 consisted of an opening session, followed by a team-building exercise in which the participants played games to break the ice and get acquainted with one another.

On the second day, the participants continued their team-building activities by creating team names and slogans, which they presented with their teams in front of all of the participants. Read More>>

High School Students from Japan and the United States Learn About Social Issues in Tokyo, Miyagi and Washington, D.C.

Twelve high school students (six students from Washington, D.C. public high schools, three students from Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School, and three selected TOMODACHI alumni (past program participants) from the Tohoku region) participated in the TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program 2018, which took place from July 14 to August 14, 2018. The program is a two-way exchange in which students from Japan first visit students in Washington, D.C., followed by a travel to Japan to complete the second half of the program in Tokyo and Miyagi Prefecture.

During their program in D.C., students examined complex issues such as race, diversity and immigration in American society. They experienced the cultural diversity of D.C. through neighborhood walks in different sections of the city.

Students experienced life in Kesennuma and Minamisanriku, Tohoku cities devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake, where they learned about the resilience of the communities and efforts being taken by residents to rebuild and to create stronger and more sustainable communities. Read More>>

TOMODACHI Dallas-Sendai Young Ambassadors Program: Six Students from Texas Visit Sendai

Six high school students from the Dallas, Texas were selected for the 2018 TOMODACHI Dallas-Sendai Young Ambassadors Program which is part of the TOMODACHI NAJAS Grassroots Exchange Programs. The program took place in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture and the surrounding area from July 2 to 10, 2018. The students were accompanied by a chaperone from the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth(JASDFW). Coordination in Sendai was provided by SenTIA (Sendai Tourism, Convention and International Association).
The purpose of the program was to further friendship between the people of Dallas and Sendai while cultivating young leaders to become future stewards of the U.S.-Japan relationship.  Read More>>

TOMODACHI NAJAS Grassroots Exchange Program San Antonio-Kumamoto: American Students Experience Cultural Exchanges in Kumamoto

From July 5 to 13, 2018, six students from San Antonio, Texas area high schools and their chaperone, journeyed to Kumamoto, Japan, the sister city of San Antonio. Their nine-day trip was implemented by the National Association of Japan-America Societies as part of the TOMODACHI NAJAS Grassroots Exchange Program.  

The students had an opportunity to stay with local Japanese host families for the first few days of their trip. As they immersed themselves in Japanese language and culture, the students reached a new understanding about their host country. The students also had an opportunity to visit and attend classes at a local high school. In addition to observing English, math, Japanese history, and chemistry classes, the students also participated in after school club activities such as calligraphy and a tea ceremony lessons. Read More>>

Register for the 2018 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in Tokyo!

The 2018 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference will be held in Tokyo from November 8 - 9 with the theme of “Partnering for Impact Today, Investing in a Sustainable Tomorrow.” This year, since 2015, USJC returns to Tokyo to discuss how the United States and Japan can build a sustainable future together. The Conference will explore ways to collaborate towards mutual goals like supporting women leaders, and face common challenges like aging populations and security issues in Asia. For more information and to register, click here.

Upcoming Programs and Events

September 4―7                

September 7                       

September 9                          

September 14    

September 14―23   


September 16―24     

September 18―25

September 21 

September 22―23


U.S.Embassy-Keio SFC-TOMODACHI Entrepreneurship Seminar (Yokohama,Kanagawa)

TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program Session1 (Naha, Okinawa)

TOMODACHI Generation Summit 2018 (Tokyo)

TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program Session1 (Tokyo)

TOMODACHI Foster Youth Leadership Program Japan visit (Fuji, Shizuoka and Tokyo)

TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program Japanese Delegates visits U.S.(Boston, Massachusetts and Washington,D.C.)

TOMODACHI CIE Grassroots Summit (Washington)

TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program Session1 (Osaka)

TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program Post Trip Seminar (Sendai,Miyagi)

TOMODACHI Alumni Activities
TOMODACHI Alumni Participate in Volunteer Activities in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture in Response to the Flooding in Western Japan

From August 6 to 10, 2018, a TOMODACHI team consisting of five alumni and one staff member traveled to Mabi-cho, Kurashiki City in Okayama Prefecture to join relief efforts on the ground in response to the Western Japan Floods. As part of the TOMODACHI Alumni Disaster Response Training Program, the team joined efforts with Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center (PBV) in a town called Mabicho. Robin Lewis, alumnus of the TOMODACHI NGO Leadership Program supported by J.P. Morgan, led the team. 

For Hayato Kimura, it was his first time volunteering in disaster response efforts. “The experience taught me the important role volunteers play, and the difference between the information we obtain in Tokyo and the actual information on the ground. I am very much interested in participating in the future.”

The TOMODACHI staff, as well as the alumni who volunteered in Okayama, offer prayers to the people who were affected by the disaster and wish them a quick restoration and recovery. USJC and other Japan-related organizations are continuing to support those affected by the floods through the Japan Flood Friendship Fund. For more information, click here.
Read More>>

Register for the TOMODACHI Generation Summit 2018!

The 2018 TOMODACHI Generation Summit on September 9, 2018, will gather over 500 people, including high school and university students, and young professionals from the United States and Japan who are alumni of various TOMODACHI programs.

This Summit will be planned and executed by a core committee of eight alumni with support from various alumni as speakers, workshop facilitators, volunteers, and regional representatives; thus making the Summit a signature program of the TOMODACHI Alumni Leadership Program that is created by alumni, for alumni. Read More>>

Registration Deadline: Saturday, September 1, 2018

Recruitment for TOMODACHI Program Participants
Please forward and share these opportunities with people who may be interested.
Come Meet TOMODACHI at the America EXPO 2018 Hosted by the U.S. Embassy Tokyo! 

The America Expo is an annual event hosted by the U.S. Embassy Tokyo. At the EXPO, participants will be able to talk to representatives and alumni from American universities, and attend seminars on such themes as studying in the U.S. for undergraduate and graduate studies, and studying abroad for language or career benefits. Participants will also be able to learn more about the TOMODACHI Initiative at TOMODACHI’s booth.

Date: Saturday, September 8
Time: 12:00 – 6:00pm
Place: Ochanomizu Sola City Conference Center
Fee: Free

Click here to go to the EXPO website (Japanese only)

TOMODACHI Opportunities

Marketing & Communications Manager (Tokyo Office)

The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) and the TOMODACHI Initiative is seeking a Marketing & Communications Manager that will develop and implement a comprehensive strategic communications program to develop the profile and brand of TOMODACHI among a diverse audience and stakeholders, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, recipients of support, donors, press and the general public. For more information and to apply, click here.

Intern, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) & TOMODACHI Initiative (Tokyo Office)

The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) and the TOMODACHI Initiative is seeking unpaid interns. U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) and TOMODACHI offer an exciting environment for interns to be exposed to non-profit, corporate, and government fields. Responsibilities for interns include creating and drafting documents, translation, website management, social media management, newsletter development support, public speaking, communication with program participants, designing presentations and posters, and event planning. For more information and to apply, click here.

Update from Team TOMODACHI - August 2018

For donors, supporters, and friends of the TOMODACHI Initiative and
the TOMODACHI Generation.



Led by the U.S.-Japan Council, and the United States Embassy Tokyo, the TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs.
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