Youth Exchange


Kizuna Across Cultures (2011 - present)

As a part of Japanese reconstruction plans to promote global understanding of Japan’s revival efforts in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Japanese government launched the Youth-Exchange Project with Asia-Oceania and North America (Kizuna [meaning “bonds”] Project) in April 2012. Under this project, more than 10,000 youths from over 40 countries and regions have had an opportunity to participate in related programs.

While the original Kizuna program funded by the government ended in 2015, a private organization focused on youth exchange and global understanding between the United States and Japan known as Kizuna Across Cultures has a similar mission.

KAKEHASHI Project -The Bridge for Tomorrow- (2013- present)

The KAKEHASHI Project aims to heighten potential interest in Japan and increase the number of overseas visitors to the country. Additionally, the project strives to enhance international understanding of the “Japan brand,” or the nation’s strengths and attractiveness, based on Japanese-style values and “Cool Japan.” It is anticipated that this project will help to revitalize and boost the Japanese economy.

The KAKEHASHI Project is no longer government-run, but is spearheaded by the organization Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). Several of the programs are joint efforts with JICE and an outside institution. Please visit the partner organization website to find application information or contact JICE personally if your organization would be interested in aligning and creating a future joint program.

Moreover, participants for many of the programs are selected by recommendation only. If your school is interested in being a part of a future youth exchange program, contact us and tell us why your institution is a good candidate.

Other Youth Exchange Opportunities

There are many government-sponsored as well as private organizations that coordinate youth exchanges. The Japan Foundation Los Angeles as well as the U.S.-Japan Council are two resources we can recommend to prospective student and schools interested in organizing a youth exchange between the Midwest and Japan.