Japan in Alabama
Political relations have a long history, going back to the establishment of the Honorary Consul of Japan position in Mobile in 1902. The Alabama Development Office opened an office in Tokyo in 1980. Alabama state government policy remains eager to attract foreign investment to the state. The state government is active in the Annual Meeting of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association, and seeks to expand ties with Japan not just in the economic field, but in a broad range of areas.
Alabama has attracted Japanese industry for years. This is shown by the fact that Japanese-affiliated companies have invested $3.439 billion in Alabama, where 117 Japanese-affiliated companies operate (as of January 2012). These companies together employ 14,024 workers. Some major Japanese firms in Alabama are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Rheem Manufacturing, Daikin America, Inc., and JVC America, Inc. Alabama's exports to Japan in 2011 amounted to $716 million, making Japan its 5th largest export market.
Cultural and Educational Organizations
- Alabama Bonsai Society: The Alabama Bonsai Society (ABS) is made up of dedicated bonsai enthusiasts from across the state of Alabama in general and in particular the greater Birmingham area.
- Alabama Okinawa Kenjinkai
- Azalea City Bonsai Society (Mobile)
- Birmingham Botanical Gardens Japanese Garden: Designed by Mr. Masaji “Buffy” Morai, the Japanese Gardens officially opened in 1967 and have been one of BBG’s most popular features since then. Largely through the hard work and guidance of volunteer Doug Moore, major modifications to a large part of the gardens were finalized in 1993 when the Japanese government gave it the title of Japanese Cultural Center. That important designation was made because Mr. Kazunori Tago, of Maibashi, Japan, one of the finest miyadaiku, or Japanese temple and shrine builders, created a traditional teahouse here. http://www.bbgardens.org/gardens-culture.php
- Birmingham Museum of Art – Asian Collection: The collection hails from China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia, and features outstanding examples of Buddhist and Hindu art, lacquer ware, ceramics, paintings, prints, and sculpture. Highlights include Jomon period pottery from Japan.
- Birmingham Japanese Language School: Japanese language supplementary school for children of Japanese expatriates.
- Central Alabama Koi and Water Garden Society
- Chado Urasenke Tankokai Birmingham Association: Drawn together by diverse interests in Japanese culture, Chado Urasenke Tankokai Birmingham Association has been gathering at Toshin-an teahouse in Birmingham, AL since 1999 to study chado, the "way of tea."
- The Children’s Hands-on Museum of Tuscaloosa – Japan House: http://www.chomonline.org/exhibits.html
- Huntsville Japanese Language School: Japanese language supplementary school for children of Japanese expatriates.
- Ikebana Society International(Birmingham)
- Japan-America Society of Alabama (JASA): Private, not-for-profit association working toward encouraging and developing friendship and understanding between individuals within the communities of Japan and the United States.
- North Alabama Japanese Business Association: Business group for expatriate Japanese businesspeople. They host a golf tournament.
- Sumi-e Society, Shibui Chapter (Mobile): http://www.sumiesociety.org/
- Anniston-Tatsuno-shi* (Hyogo) (Since July 26, 1986)
- Birmingham-Hitachi-shi (Ibaraki) (Since April 23, 1982)
- Birmingham-Maebashi-shi (Gunma) (Since October 21, 1998)
*Friendship City Relationship
- Dothan-Sakado-shi (Saitama) (Since January 19, 1988)
- Mobile-Ichihara-shi (Chiba) (Since November 10, 1993)
- Montevallo-Echizen-mura (Fukui) (Since October 3, 2008; Friendship relations since 1995)
- Tuscaloosa-Narashino-shi (Chiba) (Since April 26, 1986)
Universities with Japanese Studies
- Birmingham Southern College (Major in Asian Studies; Exchange program with Kansai Gaidai University)
- Samford University (Minor in Japanese)
- University of Alabama - Birmingham (Japanese classes)
- University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa (Major in International Studies with a concentration on Asia; minor in Japanese; exchange program with Kansai Gaidai University and Chiba University)
- Japan-America Society of Alabama New Year’s Party/Open House (January)
- Tuscaloosa Sakura Festival (since 1986)
Month-long event celebrating Japanese culture throughout the city of Tuscaloosa. The highlight is the one-day “Matsuri in the Mall” event. http://sakura.ua.edu/ (March)
- Sakura Festival at Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Annual event featuring tea ceremony, tours of the Japanese Gardens and the teahouse, Japanese dance demonstrations, flute and koto concerts, an ikebana exhibit, sword demonstrations, and more. http://www.bbgardens.org/ (March)
- Daikin Festival (Decatur)
Every year, Decatur-based industry Daikin America hosts a community party in celebration of the company's Japanese heritage. The annual Daikin Festival is held in May at the Morgan County Fairgrounds and features live entertainment, hot-air balloon rides, Japanese cultural displays and art contest. (May)
- Japanese Festival in Huntsville (since 1990) (May)
- Japan-America Society of Alabama Annual Dinner (May)
- Japan-America Society of Alabama Natsu Matsuri (July)
- JETRO/ JASA/ ADO/ Alagasco Business Seminar (October)
- SEUS-Japan Conference
The Japan-U.S. Southeast Association was established in December 1975 to promote trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and member states of the southeast U.S., Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. In 2007, the State of Mississippi joined the Association. http://www.seus-japan.org/ (October)
*Page updated May 2012
This directory was compiled by the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta with the support of The Japan-America Society of Alabama, The Japan-America Society of Georgia, The Japan-America Society of Charlotte, The North Carolina Japan Center, The Japan-America Society of Western South Carolina, and The Japan-Virginia Society. Specific listings have been gathered from information provided to the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta and from public information sources. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of listings, but we cannot guarantee that there will be no errors. The Consulate General of Japan takes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information listed in this resource directory, or for the conduct of organizations or businesses listed. Furthermore, links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.