Kakehashi Group D at a train station, about to travel from Yokohama to Kyoto. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Nitahara)

Ninety Japanese American and Asian American participants traveled to Japan on Dec. 13 as part of the JACL Kakehashi Project.

The group is part of a broader program funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foster cultural exchange between different countries and Japan.

Participants are exploring Japan, beginning in Tokyo before splitting into groups to Osaka and Nagano. They will be provided educational sessions about Japan’s economy, politics, people, and community. The trip also includes a homestay experience in which students will be hosted by Japanese families.

This trip’s participants range in age from 18 to 25 and represent a diversity of states from Hawaii to Vermont to Florida — 13 states altogether. The group consists of college students and young professionals representing many colleges and universities as well as a broad spectrum of interests and majors.

JACL views the Kakehashi trip as an important channel for outreach to young Japanese Americans. JACL President Gary Mayeda is accompanying the group as a supervisor and offers his thoughts: “The Kakehashi trip is an important program for both JACL and the Japanese government to help young Japanese Americans to understand our shared cultural heritage and how it has played a role in shaping who we are individually and as a community. I expect to learn a lot myself.”

If you’re interested in participating in a Kakehashi trip, the next one will be March 12-20, 2018. To apply, visit the website (https://kakehashi.jacl.org/) and get your applications in by the deadline: Jan. 2, 2018.

In addition to the funding from the Japanese government, some domestic travel for student participants is provided by Southwest Airlines.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *