"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Invitation in March 2014

Short-term stay in Japan: U.S. Young Researchers Invitation
Group 4
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Period: March 2 – 12, 2014
Local Visit Destination: Kyoto Prefecture
Number of Participants: 11

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation

Group photo taken at the National Diet Building
Visit to the National Diet Building

Photo taken at NHK World
Visit to NHK World

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 The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
Visit to Miraikan, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
(Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)

Photo taken at National Institute for Research Advancement
Visit to National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)

Photo taken at Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd.
Visit to Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd.

Photo taken at Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
Visit to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
(Learning about Japanese local industries)

Photo taken at Shourinji Temple
Visit to Shourinji Temple
(Zen meditation experience)

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

Photo taken at Doshisha University
Visit to Doshisha University

Photo taken at Shimadzu Foundation Memorial Hall, Shimadzu Corporation
Visit to Shimadzu Foundation Memorial Hall, Shimadzu Corporation
(Learning about Japanese local industries)

Photo taken at Kodai Yuzen-en, Kyoto
Visit to Kodai Yuzen-en, Kyoto
(Experiencing Japanese local traditional craftsmanship)

Photo taken at Bikouen
Visit to Bikouen
(Japanese tea ceremony experience)

Photo taken at Kinkaku-ji
Visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

Group photo taken at Nijo Castle
Visit to Nijo Castle
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

Photo taken at Kiyomizu-dera
Visit to Kiyomizu-dera
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

Photo taken at IDE-JETRO
Independent research
(Visit to IDE-JETRO)

Photo taken at The University of Tokyo
Independent research
(Visit to The University of Tokyo)

Photo taken at Ministry of Defense
Visit to Ministry of Defense

Photo taken at Mitsubishi Corporation
Visit to Mitsubishi Corporation

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 has a very strong sense of "self" and a distinct national character. They take pride in hard work (sometimes too much) and productivity. Most people we met were very knowledgeable of the challenges and weaknesses they were facing, and the future issues that need to be prepared for. There was not disagreement about what those issues are.
    Japan's sense of self is also very evident in their culture, both historical and modern pop culture. There is a very long history compared to America and it is not forgotten or ignored when it comes to art, architecture, and ceremony.
    The hospitality also cannot be beat. Everyone was always friendly and helpful.
  • Having spent some time living and travelling in other Asian countries, the one thing that struck me the most about Japan is how easy it is to navigate and live. It is a very livable country. In addition to its openness to foreigners and guests, Japan has also been able to maintain much of its cultural heritage and integrity, making it a very unique country.

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

  • Before coming to Japan, I did not realize how kind and peaceful the Japanese people are. One of the things that have stricken me the most is how Japanese people will go out of their way to help you. Additionally, I was surprised at how safe I felt, even in a large metropolitan city like Tokyo. There is a sense of trust and mutual respect amongst the Japanese people that I did not expect. It makes Japan a very nice place to live. I also did not realize how innovative Japan was before visiting. I had heard that there were problems in big businesses of staff lacking creativity, but in all of our meetings, I was impressed with the ideas they had for the future.
  • My perspective of Japan is certainly stronger and more personal after participating in this project. I have a great appreciation for the efficiency with which society functions here, and a deep respect and admiration for the Japanese people. Everyone was exceedingly nice, helpful and often fun. I learned a great deal about Japan's security and women's status in a way I could not fully appreciate without experiencing the culture and meeting government, media and business leaders.

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

  • I would like to learn more about the tax codes that don't encourage corporate philanthropy as much as it's encouraged in the States. I would also like to learn more about corporate social responsibility programs and where they put their resources as well as where they see the most success. Additionally, I would like to learn more about emerging sectors of the Japanese economy and how the US can invest more in Japan.
  • I would like to continue to learn about Japanese politics and history. Additionally, I have a strong interest in learning the Japanese language. Because I like Japanese literature so much, I would love to read these authors in the original language.

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?

  • I am very impressed by my experience in Japan and am personally committed to build bridges between the US and Japan after I return. I plan on encouraging my workplace to sponsor more events that focus on the important role of women in Japan. In addition, as a result of one of the meetings I had during this trip, I hope to plan a program partnering with women's colleges in Japan on promoting women's empowerment in the workforce and in public service.
  • I will actively recruit visiting scholars and students to intern at the Wilson Center in D.C. I hope to build relationships and further collaborate with universities in Japan. I hope to play an active role in further cultural and academic exchanges with Japanese scholars and students.

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

  • I have enjoyed so much of my experience here, and I was finally able to do things I have dreamed of doing for many years. Even something as simple as the Shinkansen was a great time, and the access we were given as part of the project was something I never would have had on my own.
  • Thank you so much - this was a once in a lifetime experience. So neat to get to meet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Mitsubishi Corporation. I learned a ton about Japan I would have never learned from just reading newspaper.

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