January 12, 2016 - The TOMODACHI Initiative* and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (“Honda”) conducted the “2016 TOMODACHI Honda Cultural Exchange Program,” a two-week long cultural exchange program in Los Angeles, California from December 26, 2015 through January 9, 2016.
Fully funded by Honda, the TOMODACHI Honda Cultural Exchange Program selects high school students from the disaster-affected prefectures of the Great East Japan Earthquake and is being implemented for a three-year period between 2015 and 2017. In the first year of the program, a group of 20 high school students from Miyagi Prefecture participated, and this year, 20 high school students from Iwate Prefecture participated in the program.
For this program, the students participate in an iconic American New Year’s tradition, the historic Rose Parade sponsored by American Honda Motor Co. The Japanese students also performed original music together with approximately 250 students in the local community, deepening relationships through this cultural exchange.
With this year’s Rose Parade theme – “Find Your Adventure” – in mind, the students assisted in the decoration of the American Honda float which was created within the concept of “Nature’s Hope.” They displayed the harmony between the United States and Japan by showcasing various animals and plants found in the Sanriku Fukko National Park (“Sanriku Reconstruction National Park”) in the disaster-hit Tohoku region of Japan as well as national parks in the United States. In addition to the participation in the Rose Parade, the students from Iwate experienced various cultural exchanges including dialogue and exchanges with college and high school students from the local community, volunteer activities, and homestays.
Created by the TOMODACHI Initiative and Honda to develop and deepen exchanges among the next generation of leaders of the United States and Japan, the “TOMODACHI Honda Cultural Exchange Program” invites students from areas affected by the Earthquake who are engaged in music to visit Los Angeles, California. The program provides opportunities for the students to experience American traditions and culture through music, which is an universal language. This 3-year partnership guided by Honda’s corporate slogan “The Power of Dreams” will not only create opportunities to promote mutual understanding and friendships between people in the United States and Japan but also give the chance for Japanese people to express their gratitude for the support offered by U.S. citizens for the recovery of the Tohoku region.
*About the TOMODACHI Initiative
The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs. 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, appreciate each other’s countries and cultures, and possess the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world.
TOMODACHI Initiative website: http://usjapantomodachi.org
2016 Rose Parade