As the Midwest’s Japanese population grew, and interest in Japan intensified, many other organizations developed in Ohio and Michigan to support Japanese nationals and encourage cross cultural exchange. Japan America Societies, Japanese business organizations, student groups, language, martial arts, bonsai and ikebana clubs have flourished.
The Consulate General works to support and augment these vital cultural ties. Through events such as lectures, art exhibitions, speech contests, visitation programs and festivals the Consulate General seeks increased cultural awareness and understanding. Consulate General-administered Monbukagakusho (Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) grant and scholarship programs provide educational opportunities to Americans wishing to study in Japan. Another Consulate General program, JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, offers Michigan and Ohio university graduates the opportunity to work in Japan as an Assisant Language Teacher or Coordinator of International Relations. There are also opportunities for state university students to gain educational and cultural experience in Japan via programs such as the Japan Center for Michigan Universities in Shiga Prefecture. High school students can also take part in the Michigan/Shiga Student Exchange Program as well as local sister-city exchange programs.
Through these efforts it is the Consulate General’s goal to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the citizens of Japan and the citizens of Michigan and Ohio.