Japan in North Carolina



The State of North Carolina established its Japan Office of the Division of International Trade, Department of Commerce, in Tokyo in 1978. The state government actively participates, along with state agencies and private corporations, in the Annual Meetings of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association, which was founded in 1976. North Carolina seeks to broaden its relationship with Japan not only in political terms, but in two-way economic, cultural, and educational terms as well, and harbors great potential for the expansion of meaningful exchange programs.

Sister Cities



North Carolina has attracted Japanese industry for years. This is indicated by the fact that Japanese-affiliated companies have invested $4.7 billion in North Carolina, where currently 297 Japanese-affiliated companies operate. These companies in total employ 21,999 workers (as of January 2012). Some major Japanese firms in North Carolina are YKK AP America, Bridgestone/Firestone, Honda Power Equipment Manufacturing, and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave. North Carolina's exports to Japan in 2011 amounted to $1.6 billion, making Japan its 4th largest export market.

Cultural and Educational Organizations

  • The Asian/Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) (Durham): The focal point of research and teaching on the Asian/Pacific region at Duke University.
  • Chapel Hill-Durham Nihonjin-kai: A social association of Japanese residents, mainly of exchange professors and students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University, but including others from the area.

  • Fayetteville Okinawa Kenjin Kai: Social club for people of Okinawan descent.

  • Ikebana International, Chapter #49, Charlotte, NC: Our Chapter's purpose is to cultivate and perpetuate the art of Japanese flower arranging known as Ikebana and Japanese culture through meetings, demonstrations, workshops and public exhibitions. Our motto is "Friendship through Flowers," and so we also seek to strengthen relationships among all people. Non-members are welcome to join our meetings. 日本語でも大丈夫です。

  • Jacksonville Okinawa Kenjin Kai: Social club for people of Okinawan descent.

  • Japanese-American Cultural Exchange (Raleigh): A social association of Japanese residents, mainly of exchange professors and students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University, but including others from the area.

  • church-based social organization; offers classes in the English language, origami, Japanese cooking, and the game of Go.

  • Japanese Association in Charlotte: The Japanese Association in Charlotte was established in 1979. In addition to the Charlotte Bon Odori in the summer, it organizes a golf tournament twice a year, a softball tournament in the fall, and a New Year's party in January.

  • Japanese Business Retired and Private Local Business Group (Charlotte):Comprised of retired local Japanese company employees and members of the local community.

  • Japanese Language School in Charlotte (Japanese only): Japanese language supplementary school for children of Japanese expatriates.

  • Japanese Language School of Raleigh: Japanese language supplementary school for children of Japanese expatriates.

  • Japanese Restaurant and Chef Group (Charlotte): Comprised of local Japanese restaurateurs.

  • Nippon Club of the Triangle: The Nippon Club of the Triangle was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization committed to providing intercultural programs and activities in the Triangle region (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) of North Carolina.

  • North Carolina Japan Center (Raleigh): The NC Japan Center serves as a focal point for interaction between Japan and North Carolina, and is a statewide resource intended to assist all citizens, universities, companies, and public and private institutions in relations with the Japanese. Because of its role, the Center has historically received funding from the State, the University, and from corporate sponsors who support its mission of outreach and public service. Founded in July 1980 by Governor James B. Hunt, the Center continues to strengthen the state's academic, economic, scientific, and cultural ties with Japan. Its Academic Advisory Board consists of faculty from colleges across the University, providing guidance and direction for academic exchange and development. An external Board of Advisors includes prominent citizens of North Carolina who have a strong interest in Japan and US-Japan relations. Additional chapters are located at East Carolina University, Wake Forest University, Appalachian State University, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, UNC Wilmington, and Campbell University.
  • Piedmont Japanese Business Association: Association of Japanese companies in the Piedmont area (Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point) with approximately 110 members.

  • Piedmont North Carolina Bonsai Association: The Piedmont North Carolina Bonsai Association is a small, but dedicated group of individuals who meet to discuss and share our mutual interest in the art of bonsai. We have recently changed our name from The North Carolina Bonsai Association in order to better reflect the region of North Carolina where our members live. We focus on bonsai materials that are native to the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and on developing raw stock material into new specimens. We welcome visitors of all ability and interest levels.

  • Triangle Bonsai Society: Although centered in the Triangle, Triangle Bonsai Society has active members living throughout the eastern half of North Carolina. Triangle Bonsai Society promotes the art of bonsai through meetings, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations, featuring local, regional, national, and international bonsai artists.

  • Triangle Center for Japanese Studies: The Triangle Center for Japanese Studies was established by faculty from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University to encourage inter-institutional collaboration and provide resources for the development and promotion of Japanese Studies and Japan-related education throughout the Triangle and the Southeast. With the aim of strengthening the well-established Japan Studies community in the Triangle, the Center administers a number of programs, including research groups and a monthly forum, that encourage further interaction between faculty and students of Duke, UNC, and NCSU. Graduate students, in particular, are encouraged to participate in the Center’s initiatives and take advantage of the opportunity to conduct research alongside their peers and professors. The Center also actively promotes continued faculty and student achievement by providing grants that fund individual research efforts and ensuring that library resources meet current needs and interests. Reaching beyond the university campus, the Center engages the wider Triangle area through speakers, film series, and other events that are open to all.

  • Triangle Chanoyu Club: Tea ceremony club that practices in the Triangle area.

  • Triangle Japanese Business Association: Association of Japanese companies in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Research Triangle area that was established in 1994. It currently has 25 member companies.

Universities with Japanese Studies

Appalachian State University: Minor in Japanese

Duke University: Major and minor in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with Japanese concentration; master's degree in East Asian Studies; exchange programs with International Christian University, Kyushu University, Kansai Gaidai University, Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies, Nanzan University, Waseda University

Elon University: Minor in Asian Studies; Exchange program with Kansai Gaidai University

Guilford College: Exchange program with International Christian University

North Carolina State University: Minor in Japan Studies; Exchange program with Sophia University, Nagoya University, Hiroshima Shudo, Kwansai Gakuin University

St. Andrews Presbyterian College: Major in Asian Studies

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill: Major in Asian Studies, Minor in Asian Studies, Minor in Japanese; Exchange program with Keio University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Nanzan University, Sophia University, International Christian University, Waseda University

University of North Carolina - Charlotte: Major and minor in Japanese; Exchange program with Doshisha University, Gakushuin University, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS), Obirin University, Oita University, Sophia University, Chukyo University, Kansai Gaidai University, Nanzan University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Ritsumeikan University, Toyo University and JF Obirin University

University of North Carolina - Greensboro: Major and minor in Asian Studies; Exchange program with Kyoto Sangyo University, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Nara Women's University, Seinan Gakuin University

Wake Forest University: Major in Japanese language and culture, minor in Japanese language and culture,interdisciplinary minor in East Asian Studies; Exchange program with Kansai Gaidai University

Annual Events

Nippon Club of the Triangle New Year's Party (January)

Nippon Club of the Triangle Rice Pounding (January)

Southeastern Japanese Speech Contest at Duke University(March)

Nippon Club of the Triangle Kodomo no Hi (May)

Nippon Club of the Triangle Summer Festival in Raleigh (July)

Bon-odori in Charlotte (July):The largest Japanese Bon Festival east of the Rocky Mountains. Organized by the Japanese Association in Charlotte.

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.


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.