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Getting to know more about the Japan Foundation

Chapter 2 The Asia Center
NIHONGO Partners to accelerate Japanese-language Learning

The "NIHONGO Partners" program sends native Japanese speakers to educational institutions throughout Asia to serve as partners to local Japanese teachers and their students by providing in-class assistance and introducing Japanese culture. In FY2016, 364 partners were deployed to 415 high schools and other secondary educational institutions in the 10 ASEAN countries, China, and Taiwan. The NIHONGO Partners who returned to Japan in FY2016 contributed to the Japanese-language education of more than 130,000 students.

Messages from past participants

Love for the local culture

Increasing fans of Japan where I was the only Japanese was more difficult than expected. But I was energized by this challenge and engaged with the local community in various ways. I discovered that to help others better understand Japan, I had to first become a fan of Malaysia myself. Whenever I practiced the local culture-such as wearing Malay clothing or eating rice with my hands-the people were genuinely excited and always asked me about Japan in exchange. When the Kumamoto Earthquake occurred, students here exchanged letter with those in Kumamoto. These instances made me feel that my activities served as a bridge for mutual understanding.

Photo of Mr. Nobuyuki Abe, Nihongo Partners Malaysia Group 2
Mr. Nobuyuki Abe
Malaysia Group 2, January – October 2016

Students' smiles are treasures

My ten-months stay in Vietnam, learning its culture and engaging with the locals was a priceless experience. It reminded me just how close Japan is to Vietnam, and how passionate the Vietnamese are about learning Japanese. I was very happy to discover similarities between our cultures and I realized the importance of teaching Japanese in schools and introducing Japanese culture. The greatest gift from this experience was undoubtedly the students' smiles. Any exhaustion disappeared as they smiled during activities and everyday classes. These memories are treasures that I will cherish for life. It is important now to figure out how to fully utilize this experience after returning to Japan.

Photo of Ms. Kanae Kajiwara, Nihongo Partners Vietnam Group 2
Ms. Kanae Kajiwara
Vietnam Group 2, August 2015 – June 2016

Joint Statement by the Advisory Committee

In September 2016, the ten ASEAN members of the Japan Foundation Asia Center Advisory Committee released a Joint Statement highly praising programs conducted through the WA Project, specifically the Japan Foundation's Asia Center. The key points are:

1. We firmly realize the important role that the Asia Center has played,
 dedicating itself to cultural programs across Asia.

2. We are gratified by the Japanese Government's sincerity to create equal
 partnership between Japan and Asian Countries and to promote respect for
 diversity and tradition.

3. We take this opportunity to respectfully call upon the authorities of the
 ASEAN Member States to offer necessary guidance, support, collaboration,
 and facilitate actions required for the Asia Center's endeavors.

4. We express our most sincere congratulations and deep gratitude to the
 Japanese Government, especially to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for its
 dedication and commitment for projects undertaken by the Asia Center.

Photo of the Third Asia Center Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation
Third Asia Center Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation in Bangkok (February 2017)