Japan in Georgia
Official relations between Japan and the state of Georgia were first inaugurated in 1973 with the establishment of a Georgia State Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism office in Tokyo. The opening of the Consulate General of Japan in the capital of Atlanta in April 1974 offered a major boost in bilateral political relations. The visit of the Emperor and Empress to Atlanta in June 1994 was a crowning touch to these developing political ties. Political relations and personal contacts are renewed and reinforced every year by Georgia state government officials at the Annual Joint Meeting of the Japan U.S. Southeast Association. The Japanese Government also sponsored a visit of two Georgia state legislators to Japan in late November-early December 1995.
Georgia is regarded as the center of Japanese industry in the U.S. Southeast. In fact, Japanese-affiliated companies have invested $10.4 billion in Georgia, where 547 Japanese-affiliated companies currently operate. These companies together employ 36,809 workers (as of January 2012). Some major Japanese firms in Georgia are Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp., NACOM Corporation, Yamaha Motor Mfg. Corp. of America, and YKK (USA) America, Inc. Georgia's exports to Japan in 2011 amounted to $1.2 billion, making Japan its 5th largest export market.
Cultural and Educational Organizations
- Atlanta Bonsai Society: An organization dedicated to promoting the art of bonsai in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area and providing instruction to its members and the general public.
- Atlanta Okinawa Kenjin Kai: Atlanta Okinawa Kenjin Kai: Organization for Japanese people originally from Okinawa or of Okinawan descent. They perform Okinawan dance at festivals throughout Georgia and introduce Okinawan culture at events such as JapanFest and Asian Cultural Experience.
- Chado Urasenke Tankoukai Atlanta Association: Tea Ceremony group that meets regularly at Nakato Restaurant.
- Columbus Saturday School: Japanese language supplementary school for children of Japanese expatriates.
- Dokushokai: Bi-monthly meetings of the Reading Circle feature bilingual, bicultural discussions of modern Japanese literature and foster communication and understanding between the U.S. and Japan. Members read the assigned text in either Japanese or English translation and discuss the book in the language with which they are most comfortable.
- Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese: Network of Japanese teachers in Georgia.
- Georgia Japanese Language School: The Georgia Japanese Language School was established in 1974 in order to educate the children of Japanese expatriates in Georgia.
- Georgia Ryukyu Kyoyukai: Practices Okinawan Drumming and Dance
- Ichiyo Art Center, Inc.: The Mission of the Atlanta Chapter of the Ichiyo School is to promote friendship and cooperation among its members through traditional Japanese ikebana and to develop and spread the Ichiyo style in the Atlanta and surrounding areas through workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, and educational programs of related subjects.
- The Japan-America Society of Georgia: The Japan-America Society (JASG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and the State of Georgia. They reach out to both Japanese business people and their families and Americans interested in Japanese culture with a variety of programs and networking events.
- The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia: The JCCG serves as a network for Japanese companies in Georgia, endeavoring to be a model for promoting strong Japan-U.S. relations within the Southeastern United States. It was established in 1981.
- Japanese Dance organizations: Hiko no Kai, International Mai no Kai, Kinuyo Shinobu Kai, Kozakura Kai, Nishizaki Suiga No Kai
- Japanese Embroidery Center: The Japanese Embroidery Center, located in Dunwoody, Georgia, was founded in 1989 by Shuji and Masa Tamura. The Japanese Embroidery Center (JEC) is a nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Japanese embroidery through the pursuit of Nuido, The Way of Embroidery.
- Japanese Women's Garden Club: Organization for Japanese women interested in gardening and socializing.
- Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO): JETRO helps U.S. companies set up an office in Japan quickly and cost-effectively by providing expertise, resources, and industry connections.
- JET Alumni Association of the Southeast: Organization primarily for former participants in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, but many Japanese nationals attend their events.
- Konnichiwa Club: Nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing Japanese culture to people in Atlanta.
- Momo no Ki Nursery School: Japanese language nursery school.
- Seigakuin Atlanta International School: Japanese Ministry of Education-approved, K-6 Japanese/English dual immersion school.
- Tomodachi Club of Georgia: Social networking association of Japanese and American women; part of the Japan-America Society of Georgia. The Japan-America Society of Georgia has a partnership club called the Tomodachi Club, which is a daytime women’s cultural exchange group. It was established in 1981 to promote friendship, cultural exchange and understanding among the Japanese and American women. Today the club has more than 50 members. The leadership of the Tomodachi Club includes two Japanese and two American Chairwomen overseeing the monthly-alternating small group meetings and general meetings.
- Winters Chapel Kindergarten: Japanese language nursery school.
- Georgia-Kagoshima (Since 1966)
- Elberton-Mure-cho (Kagawa) (Since November 21, 1983; formerly Mure-cho)
- Americus-Miyoshi-shi* (Hiroshima) (Since May 18, 1995; formerly Kohnu-cho)
- Gainesville-Izunokuni-shi* (Shizuoka) (Since May 20, 1981; formerly Oohito-cho)
- Atlanta-Fukuoka-shi (Fukuoka) (Since February 8, 2005; Friendship cities since July 20, 1993)
- LaGrange-Aso-shi* (Kumamoto) (Since June 30, 1979; formerly Aso-machi)
- Augusta-Takarazuka-shi (Hyogo) (Since April 3, 1989)
- Macon-Kurobe-shi (Toyama) (Since May 10, 1977)
- Columbus-Kiryu-shi (Gunma) (Since April 25, 1978)
- Rome-Kumamoto-shi (Kumamoto) (Since May 29, 1995)
- Dublin-Osaki-shi* (Miyagi)(Since May 29, 1998; formerly Sanbongi-cho)
Universities with Japanese Studies
- Agnes Scott College: Exchange programs with Sophia University, Chukyo University, Kansai Gadai University, Nanzan University, Ritsumeikan University, Toyo University, Kinjo Gakuin University
- Emory University: Major and Minor in East Asian Studies; major and minor in Japanese; exchange programs with Hokkaido International Foundation, ICU, Kansai Gaidai, Kwansei Gakuin, Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies, Princeton in Ishikawa
- Georgia Institute of Technology: Majors in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (ALIS) with Japanese; Global Economics and Modern Languages (GEML) with Japanese; International Affairs and Modern Languages (IAML) with Japanese; minor or certificate in Japanese; exchange programs with Fukuoka University and Waseda University
- Georgia State University: Major in Asian Studies; Minor in Japanese; Asian Studies Center was established in 2003
- Oglethorpe University: Minor in Japanese; exchange program with Otaru University of Commerce YOUC Program and Seigakuin University
- Spelman College: Japan Studies Minor; exchange program with Tokyo International University
- University of Georgia: Major in Asian Studies, Major and minor in Japanese Language and Literature; minor in Asian Languages and Literatures; exchange programs with Ryukoko University, Daito Bunka University, Kagoshima University, Kobe University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Kyushu University, Osaka University of Foreign Studies, Sophia University, Waseda University and Yokohama National University
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia New Year’s Party (January)
- The Japan America Society of Georgia’s New Year’s Kick-Off Party (January)
- The Japan Academic Challenge and Japanese Speech Contest (March)
Held annually. Both events are organized by the JASG, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia (JCCG), the Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese, and the Consulate General of Japan. Testing the students’ knowledge of Japanese culture, grammar and language, the Japan Academic Challenge is an annual quiz-show style competition where high school students compete. The Challenge is held throughout the Southeast and competition takes place on 4-different levels as students highlight their deep understanding of Japan. The Annual Japanese Speech Contest is also held on the same day as the Challenge for high school and college students. Each student prepares a memorized presentation entirely in Japanese competing for the grand prize of the competition.
- Macon Cherry Blossom Festival (March)
10-day annual festival celebrating Macon’s 300,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees.
- Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival (March)
The Cherry Blossom Festival originated as a way to encourage cultural understanding and friendship through international music, dance, games, food and crafts. The festival offers multiple stages for continuous entertainment, over 300 booths consisting of arts and crafts vendors, various children's activities and civic and nonprofit organizations.
- Azalea International Folk Fair in Valdosta (March)
Annual festival that features a large Asian component.
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia’s monthly golf game (April-December)
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia seminar (May)
- The Japan America Society of Georgia Annual Dinner (May)
Gives the membership an opportunity to gather as a whole and enjoy interesting keynote speakers and fascinating entertainers. The event usually garners nearly 250 attendees - made up of representatives from Japanese companies, Georgia companies doing business in Japan and the general membership.
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia Educators to Japan Program Orientation (May)
Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia Educators to Japan Program Orientation
The IEJ Program invites educators of Japanese expatriate students to visit Japan to help foster a better understanding of the Japanese culture and its people. In 1975 this invitational program was started in Los Angeles by the Japanese Business Association of Southern California, and has spread to include sixteen cities in 5 countries; the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium.
- Asian Cultural Experience in Atlanta (July)
Asian cultural festival featuring more than 1,500 volunteer participants representing 15 Asian countries.
- Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka
Each year, a group of four elementary school students from Georgia - ages 10 to 11 years old are selected to be Junior Ambassadors. The kids travel to Fukuoka, Japan (Atlanta’s Sister City) for a cultural exchange program and participation in the APCC. The Japan America Society is the official liaison office between the APCC, the city of Fukuoka, and the State of Georgia, and is in charge of all pre-departure preparations for the Junior Ambassadors.
- Columbus International Festival (August)
- JapanFest in Atlanta(September)
JapanFest is an annual celebration of Japanese culture. JapanFest will feature taiko drum concerts and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, cultural workshops including tea ceremony, kimono, and calligraphy, childrenfs games, Japanese food and beer garden, bonsai trees, and contemporary and traditional music. JapanFest is organized by The Japan-America Society of Georgia and The Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
- Anime Weekend Atlanta (September)
Largest anime convention in Georgia. AWA has a wide variety of events including video room showings of Japanese cartoons, a dealer's room with retailers who sell Japanese animation and manga related merchandise such as toys, videos, audio CD's and artwork, workshops, panel discussions on various topics including the current trends in Japan and how they will affect the United States, a costume contest where attendees dress up as their favorite anime or manga character, and scores of guests who have worked or currently are working in the industry.
- SEUS-Japan Conference (October)
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.
- The Japan America Society of Georgia Bonenkai (December)
The year-end event has become a winter tradition to celebrate the holidays with a diverse representation of the Society’s members and community. The annual event promises an evening of celebration and entertainment with around 250 people in attendance. The crowd includes a mix of representatives from leading Japanese companies, as well as Georgia companies doing business in Japan.