The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania


TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko

In August 2015, the JASP welcomed Mihama area students from Nihon Fukushi University Affiliated High School’s taiko club, “Rakko” as part of the TOMODACHI/NAJAS Grassroots Exchange Initiative. The theme of this program was “Leadership in the Arts,” which engaged students in cross-cultural communication about art and the leadership skills necessary to create a thriving cultural environment.

At the same time, this program enabled musical exchange, as students taught songs and performance techniques to Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) students and had a joint performance at the end of the exchange week. During their stay in Pittsburgh, the students visited city government, local arts organizations, museums, and the Mitsubishi Electronic Power Products factory. Through their visits, they learned the role that arts organizations played in Pittsburgh’s renaissance. Furthermore, they found they could bridge the cultural differences between Japan and America, and continue to pursue their interests in the arts throughout their career–both in their own communities and across international borders.

In August 2016, ten Pittsburgh students and two chaperones traveled to Mihama, Aichi prefecture to complete this program, staying with host families, visiting cultural sites, and practicing with their Japanese counterparts.  Read their blog to find out more about their journey.

About the TOMODACHI Initiative

The TOMODACHI Initiative invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans in ways that strengthen ties and deepen the friendship between the United States and Japan over the long term. We seek to foster a "TOMODACHI Generation" of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciative of each other's countries and cultures, and equipped with the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world. TOMODACHI is led by the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy Tokyo, and is supported by the Government of Japan, corporations, organizations and individuals from the United States and Japan. Visit for more information.

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The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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