JACL Kakehashi Program Overview

Up to 200 participants will be selected to participate in this year’s JACL Kakehashi Program, coordinated by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), and supported by funding from the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Selected participants will attend a 9-day trip to Japan where they will visit a number of historical and educational sites, experience traditional and cultural activities, and participate in lectures and workshops. Each trip will visit Tokyo and one other city to be announced.

Objectives of Program

(1) To promote mutual trust and understanding among the people of Japan and the USA to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation.

(2) To promote a global understanding of Japan’s economy, society, history, diverse culture, politics and foreign policy.

(3) To disseminate information on Japan’s attractiveness through communication devices including social networking sites.

The JACL Kakehashi Program is an international leadership program for:

  1. students currently enrolled in an accredited college or university OR a young professional who has completed a bachelor or master degree program from an accredited college or university
  2. between the ages of 18-25 years old
  3. Japanese American and/or Asian Pacific American heritage. By providing participants with a better understanding of Japan through a variety of fields, including politics, economics, and culture, the Kakehashi Project builds relationships between Japan and Japanese Americans. Kakehashi Project alumni are encouraged to become effective advocates in enhancing U.S.- Japan relations.


Kyoto, Japan: Kakehashi participants show off the fans they made in a sensu workshop, May 2014.

Kyoto, Japan: Kakehashi participants show off the fans they made in a sensu workshop, May 2014.

In 2014, JACL was proud to send four cohorts of student participants to Japan through the Kakehashi Project, hosted by the Japan Foundation. Participants traveled to Japan in May, July, and October, and explored cities and towns across Japan and took part in various cultural activities. Many found connecting to the traditional side of Japan very meaningful. Participants took part in cultural exchanges with their Japanese university peers to get to know one- another in the spirit of friendship. Participants were also invited to meet with Japanese professors, political leaders, and business executives to learn about different aspects of U.S. – Japan relations.

JACL developed the Japanese American Young Adult Invitation program as an international leadership development program. Today’s Japanese American youth are a part of a global community, and an understanding of international and U.S.-Japan relations is integral to their future endeavors. An extension of the JACL youth leadership development programs and of the work of the JACL U.S.-Japan Committee, the Kakehashi Project was established to facilitate cross-cultural understanding between Japanese Americans and Japanese, and to encourage a deeper understanding of U.S.-Japan relations.

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