To honor the life and legacy of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced the award of 200 exchanges to the U.S.-Japan Council on May 28, 2013 at the U.S.-Japan Cou n cil’s Sym p osiu m in Tokyo. These ten-day exchange visits are part of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Japan’s (MOFA) KAKAEHASHI Project --The
Bridge for Tomorrow. The KAKEHASHI Project is a fully-funded, large-scale youth exchange p rogram between Japan and the United States aimed at heightening potential interest in Japan and increasing the number of overseas visitors to the country, as well as enhancing international understanding of the ‘‘Japan brand,’’ or the nation ’s strengths and attractiveness. The p roject is also anticipated to revitalize and boost the Japanese economy. The U.S.-Japan Council worked closely with MOFA and the Japan Foundation to create opportunities during the visit for unique program content
highlighting the legacy of Senator Inouye. Funding p rovided by the Daniel K. Inouye Institute grant, the U.S.-Japan Council was able to draw on the expertise of its membership to support the design and development of a thematic framework centering on Senator Inouye’s contributions and legacy. The funds made possible d irect financial
support to the U.S. schools as well as allowed for coordination and development of curriculum and materials that the U.S. and Japanese universities could use in their implementation of the excahnges.
The four U.S. schools selected to participate in the invitation portion of the exchange were DePaul University (Chicago), Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), University Massachusetts, Boston and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Each of the U.S. universities traveled to Japan under a theme inspired by a dimension of the Senator’s legacy such as diversity and leadership; multicultural identity and community service; the Japanese American experience, advocacy and public service. For most of the U.S. students, in addition to this trip being their first contact with Japan, it was also their first time learning about the Senator. The final reports, blog posts, reflection and final p rojects clearly show the impact this p rogram had on students’ academic and p rofessional interests as well as their personal development. In many, it
sparked an interest in learning more about Japan and a desire to return to Japan for work or study abroad . The Senator’s legacy inspired others to think about their future as leaders, how to be conscientious members of a global community and ways they can contribute their time and talents in service to others in the future.
In addition to bringing new voices and fu ture leaders into the U.S.-Japan relationship, this p rogram has strengthened as well as created new institutional partnerships between American and Japanese universities among colleagues within
their academic fields, not just through international study or study abroad centers. These partnerships, based on people-to-people relationships have the potential to expand university capacities in both nations to increase the numbers of international students coming for academic study, thus contributing to the US and Japanese government’s lon g term ed u cation al in tern ation alization goals. The success of the exchanges this summer make u s enthusiastic and excited for
the visits by the Japanese students to the United States, in March 2015. We at the U.S.-Japan Council look forward to welcoming the 100 Japanese visitors to Washington, DC where the Senator spent much of his p rofessional life serving in the United States Congress, as well as host cities across the country.