About the Program

A video welcome and introduction:

The TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program, as part of the Government of Japan’s Kakehashi Project, was created in honor of the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai’i, who believed that the relationship between the United States and Japan was the most important bilateral relationship in the world. His commitment to public service, justice, and U.S.-Japan cooperation inspired this program, which provides 200 American and Japanese university students the opportunity to develop a deeper mutual understanding of each other’s culture and people. The participants will also learn about Senator Inouye and his contributions to his state, country, and the U.S.-Japan relationship. The program aims to broaden the perspectives of global leaders who will carry the future of U.S.-Japan exchange.

The U.S.-Japan Council (USJC), a non-profit Japanese American-led organization dedicated to strengthening ties between the United States and Japan in a global context, supports the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program as part of the Kakehashi Project. Senator Inouye, along with other Japanese American leaders, created the Council in late 2008. The program is also part of the Tomodachi Initiative, a public-private partnership between USJC and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, which builds a new generation of American and Japanese young people through cross-cultural educational exchanges and leadership development.

“The Senator had an optimism and confidence in the next generation’s ability to continue to make the world better,” Irene Hirano Inouye, President of USJC who was also the wife of the Senator, said. “He was a strong supporter of TOMODACHI’s vision of investing in young people in the United States and Japan to create the next generation of leaders in our countries.”

This program is unique in that the participants from the United States and Japan will learn about Japanese Americans, their history in the United States, and examples of their leadership in the legacy of Senator Inouye as well as through engagement with Japanese American leaders who are USJC members.

The University of Hawai’i, Manoa was one of four universities selected to participate in this program. 23 students and 2 chaperones will travel to Japan from July 28-August 6, 2014 and will partner with Matsuyama University in Ehime.

The reciprocal portion of the program will take place during the 2014-2015 academic year, when 100 Japanese participants will travel to Los Angeles, CA, Washington D.C. and the city of their partner university, each site marking a stage of Senator Inouye’s life and career. Japanese students will learn about Senator Inouye’s contribution to politics and the Japanese American community while exploring historic and cultural sites in the United States.

“This experience provides students with an opportunity to consider how Hawai’i can contribute to U.S.-Japan relations,” Dr. Dennis Ogawa, who leads the group from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, said. “Like the students on this program, Senator Inouye was proud to be an undergraduate of the University of Hawai’i. The people-to-people friendships and inter-cultural relationships he experienced were invaluable.”

This program is administered by the Japan Foundation. The U.S.-Japan Council supports the implementation of this program, through coordination with the Japan Foundation and the Laurasian Institution. All U.S. participants will complete projects that reflect their understanding of Senator Inouye’s legacy through this program, which will be featured by the Daniel K. Inouye Institute.

For more information, please visit: http://usjapantomodachi.org/programs-activities/tomodachi-inouye-scholars-program/.