"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: Asia Society

Invitation in January 2014

Short-term stay in Japan: U.S. Young Researchers Invitation
Asia Society

Period: January 12 – 22
Local Visit Destination: Hiroshima Prefecture
Number of Participants: 9

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation 1
(Lecture on Japan's
national security policy)

Photo of Orientation 2
(Lecture on Japanese

Photo of Orientation 3
(Lecture on Japan's social policy)

Photo taken in Asakusa
Visit to Asakusa
(Learning about Japanese
history and culture)

Photo taken at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Photo taken at Tokyo National Museum
Visit to Tokyo National Museum
(Studying Japanese history and culture)

Photo taken at Ministry of Defense
Visit to the Ministry of Defense

Photo taken at Lecture on Cool Japan by a member of Cabinet Office of Japan
Lecture on 'Cool Japan' by a member of Cabinet Office of Japan

Photo taken at National Institute for Educational Policy Research
Visit to National Institute for Educational Policy Research

Photo taken at Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO
Visit to Institute of Developing Economies, JETRO

Photo taken at Hiroshima Prefectural Government
Visit to Hiroshima Prefectural Government

Photo taken at Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University
Visit to Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University
(Learning about peacebuilding)

Photo taken at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Visit to Hiroshima Peace
Memorial Museum
(Learning about peacebuilding)

Photo taken at Lecture by atom bomb survivors
by atom bomb survivors
(Learning about peacebuilding)

Photo taken at KAMOIZUMI SHUZOU and Co., Ltd.
SHUZOU & Co., Ltd.
(Learning about Japanese
local industries)

Photo taken at  Itsukushima Shrine
Visit to Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
(Learning about Japanese
culture and history
of the local area)

Photo of Miyajima-bori carving experience
Miyajima tray making
(Experiencing Japanese local
traditional craftsmanship)

Photo taken at Meiji University
Independent research
(Visit to Meiji

Photo of Chofu Aerospace Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Visit to Chofu Aerospace Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Photo taken at Daiwa Securities Co., Ltd.
Visit to Daiwa Securities
Co., Ltd.

Photo of Debriefing session
Debriefing session

Voices from Participants

1.Having participated in the KAKEHASHI Project, what do you think are Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • Japan is a beautiful country both geographically and culturally. Having lived in the US, China and traveled in Europe, I was taken with the kindness and generosity of the Japanese people everywhere we went. From our guides to professors to strangers on the street, I always felt respected. I was also very impressed overall by the excellent quality of food and a huge range of activities available to the public and tourists.
    Overall, I think Japan's natural beauty – as we saw in Miyajima – and the beauty of its people –perseverance, kindness, ambition, respect, dedication, commitment to peace, admiration of respect for history of tradition – are its greatest strengths.
  • Japan is a very beautiful country and the Japanese we interacted with were warm and friendly. Evident throughout the trip were Japan's strengths in technology and innovation as well as its promotion of peaceful diplomacy.

2.How do you change your perspective of Japan through the project?

  • Before this trip, everything that I knew about Japan was from the American perspective and much of it was related to WWⅡ. I was very impressed by the focus on Japan as a peace builder and a rebuilder. It is incredible to think about the rebuilding that has happened in Hiroshima and Japan in general since the end of the war.
    I was also struck by the dualities and contradictions that I saw here. The old with the new, Japan as a peace builder and simultaneously rebuilding their military.
    Another thing that I am thinking about after this trip is the very different geographic position and circumstances of Japan.
    Also, it is very interesting to see how Japan collectively reconciles the WWⅡ history, their relationships with other Asian powers and their alliance with the US.
  • This has been an educational experience for me. Prior to this trip, I did not pay much attention to Japanese matters. This trip gives a comprehensive view of Japan and deepens my understanding of Japan in many areas such as Japan's economy and social life.

3.After returning to the U.S., what aspect(s) of Japan do you want to learn more?

  • I plan on continuing my research on Regional Energy Security and Japanese energy policy and will continue to be in touch with the contacts I've met here in Tokyo. I also will continue learning about other areas of Japan outside of Tokyo and Hiroshima.
  • Personally, arts and culture from Japan will be my next step to research. For my work, there is a lot of opportunity to bring artists and cultural offerings to Houston, Texas and the United States at large.

4.It is hoped that you will promote further mutual understanding between our two countries, serving as bridges in the Japan-U.S. relationship. What will you do to deepen understanding of Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • Produce thoughtful and in-depth writing about Japan. Make connections among journalists, activists and researchers in both countries.
  • I will explain, as best as I can, the Japanese perspective in controversial issues. I will try to break down stereotypes about Japanese people and culture. I hope those that we have interacted with will also tell their friends, family, and colleagues about "real" Americans, not Hollywood characters.

5.Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • The KAKEHASHI Project has afforded me a rare opportunity: to experience Japan from a wide perspective and to learn far more about the country as a whole than possible as a tourist. With exposure to arts, policies, and innovations, I now feel informed and enlightened.
    The tour offered a good variety of learning and experiences.
  • It was one of the greatest thrills I've ever had to participate in this project. Having been to Japan once before as a tourist, this gave me the opportunity to see the country through an entirely different lense. I am enormously grateful for the opportunity and sincerely hope to return in the near future. The world needs more such exchanges – It is key to helping understand each others' societies beyond what we see in the media.
    I am going home with a great deal of gratitude and with plans to explain my experiences to my friends, family, and colleagues!

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