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Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange

Intellectual and Grassroots Exchanges
with the United States

Center for Global Partnership Programs

The Center for Global Partnership (CGP) was established in 1991 in Tokyo and New York for Japan and the United States to share ideas and cooperate with the world on important global issues of mutual concern.

CGP has the following two missions:

  • To promote collaboration between Japan and the U.S. with the goal of fulfilling shared global responsibilities and contributing to improvements in the world's welfare.
  • To enhance dialogue and interchange between Japanese and U.S. citizens on a wide range of issues, thereby improving bilateral relations.

Japan and the U.S. both have major roles in international politics and economy. CGP implements and supports programs that seek cooperation and partnerships for solving global issues. It also supports activities strengthening the foundation of Japan-U.S. relations, especially those nurturing the younger generation in various fields and for networking.

Abe Fellowship Program

The Abe Fellowship Program was founded by the Japan Foundation and Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in 1991 to encourage international multidisciplinary research on topics of pressing global concern. The program fosters the development of a new generation of researchers who are interested in policy-relevant topics of long-range importance and willing to become key members of a bilateral and global research network built around such topics. In 2008, the Abe Fellowship for Journalists was established to encourage in-depth coverage on topics of pressing concern to the United States and Japan through individual short-term policy-related projects.

The Abe Fellowship also encourages fellows to participate in the program's community activities to help maintain interdisciplinary networking not just during their fellowship, but also over the course of their careers. The program's staff organizes colloquiums and other events to enable former fellows to network.

In July 2014, a Brown Bag Lunch seminar was held with 2012 Abe Fellow Allison Alexy, Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. She talked about contested family norms in Japan's divorce court system and the problems facing today's families in Japan.

In March 2015, an Abe Fellowship Colloquium was held for Yokohama National University Professor Craig Parsons, also a 2012 fellow, who gave a talk titled, The Impact of Disasters on Trade: A Detailed Look at Katrina (US) and 3-11 (Japan). Through these seminars and colloquiums, Abe Fellows are able to network and present their research findings to promote better understanding of Japan.

In fiscal 2014, 12 applicants for the Abe Fellowship Program and four for the Abe Fellowship for Journalists Program were accepted as fellowships starting in fiscal 2015.

Photo fo Abe Fellowship Colloquium with Professor Craig Parsons
Abe Fellowship Colloquium with Professor Craig Parsons

U.S.-Japan Partnership Program

The U.S.-Japan Partnership Program is implemented by the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), and supported by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

The program selects promising young researchers from universities and research institutions all over Japan for two-year scholarships with the goal of encouraging research in policy-relevant topics that center on U.S.-Japan relations. The scholarship recipients also participate in public events. Through these efforts, the program aims to: support future leaders in academia and policy, spark interest in and shed light on U.S.-Japan relations, and promote intellectual exchange between the U.S. and Japan in diverse fields such as national security, diplomacy, and economics.

In December 2014, the Kansai Security Seminar was held on Japan-Korea relations. Participants discussed President Geun-hye Park’s foreign policy and Japan-Korea relations in the context of the 50th anniversary of normalized Japan-Korea relations and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. At the Okinawa Security Seminar in March 2015, there was a keynote talk and panel presentations around the theme of "Peace in East Asia and Okinawa's Role". Topics discussed included the current security situation in East Asia, as well as the political and diplomatic issues in Okinawa related to that. There was also an opportunity for participants to exchange opinions with Okinawan residents about the future of Okinawa.

Photo of RIPS (Okinawa Seminar)
RIPS (Okinawa Seminar) © Research Institute for Peace and Security

Japan Travel Program for U.S. Future Leaders

This program is jointly organized by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). It brings promising graduate students in American universities to Japan for a ten-day study tour to deepen their understanding of Japan. In the program's sixth year (fiscal year 2014),15 graduate students came to Japan.

In Tokyo the students attended lectures by specialists on U.S.-Japan security issues, international relations in East Asia, and energy policy. They also visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Embassy in Japan, and Yokosuka Naval Base. In addition, the group met and talked with fellows of the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), as well as instructors and students from the National Defense Academy of Japan.

During this trip, program participants visited Onagawa for the first time, a city in Miyagi Prefecture that was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. After hearing a talk by Yosuke Komatsu, the head of Asuenokibou (an NPO that supports disaster reconstruction projects), the students visited some of the affected areas, including a makeshift shopping center. The strong will to rebuild local industries and businesses could be felt by all the participants.

In Hiroshima, the students listened to stories from a Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), and both the students and speaker seemed to agree that the U.S. and Japan should move past their different stances on the atomic bomb toward dialogue for building peace.

Student remarks on their program experience included: "This program was a phenomenal way to get a look into the multi-faceted U.S.-Japan relationship and the importance of being an active partner with Japan" and "I feel that the program condenses almost a semester of graduate level coursework in 10 action-packed days."

Photo of Welcome reception for APSIA participants visiting Japan
Welcome reception for APSIA participants visiting Japan

Photo of Visiting Onagawa that was heavily damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami
Visiting Onagawa that was heavily damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami

JOI Program

The Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Program dispatches Japanese coordinators on two-year assignments to communities within the Midwest and South in the U.S. The coordinators aim to promote interest and an understanding about contemporary and traditional Japan on a grassroots level to areas where there is relatively little exposure to Japan.

The program, which began in 2002, was organized by the Laurasian Institution, a non-profit organization in the U.S. For the 13th program cycle in fiscal 2014, five new coordinators were sent to the U.S., while three coordinators on the 11th program cycle have completed their term and have returned to Japan. Currently, five coordinators on the 12th program are in their second year of the program.

The JOI coordinators are hosted by universities, Japan-America Societies, and other organizations that conduct local exchange activities. They conduct outreach activities within their local communities such as visiting local schools (elementary to college level), libraries, community centers, and introduce everyday life of Japan as well as traditional arts, language, and culture.

One example of the JOI program is Erika Norikami, who was a coordinator on the 11th program cycle. For a Boy Scouts event, she prepared an information booth about Japan where over 1,000 children stopped by and experienced Japanese culture such as shodo calligraphy and practiced how to use chopsticks. During her two-year stint, she held many diverse activities that included school visitations and hosting Japan-related workshops for educators. She thereby was able to sow the seeds of Japanese culture in about 17,000 people. Her efforts exemplify the work the JOI coordinators are undertaking every day in their local communities in order to promote and enhance a greater level of understanding of Japan.

Photo of Soran-bushi dancers at the Asian Festival with Yuki Shozaki (12th JOI program cycle)
Soran-bushi dancers at the Asian Festival with Yuki Shozaki (12th JOI program cycle)

Photo of Trying calligraphy at the International Festival with Yoriko Hasui (11th JOI program cycle)
Trying calligraphy at the International Festival with Yoriko Hasui (11th JOI program cycle)