J-Quiz is a one-day event that takes place in February or March, and involves High Schools from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Students will utilize their Japanese skills to write compositions, participate in cultural activities, and compete against teams from other schools in one of three difficulty levels. The winning team in each level is awarded a trip to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. Increasing cultural awareness and understanding is one of JASM’s main goals, and by bringing together young people with an interest in Japan, we hope to encourage the next generation of Japan experts!
Mondale Scholarship for College Students
Named after Walter Mondale, our honorary chairman and former Ambassador to Japan, the Mondale Scholarship awards $2,000 to undergraduate students enrolled in Minnesota colleges and North Dakota State University who want to broaden their knowledge of Japan through a combination of study and travel. Click here for details and an application form.
Takuzo Ishida Memorial Scholarship for High School Students
Named after Takuzo Ishida, a long-time contributor to the Japan-Minnesota community before passing away in 2019, this scholarship awards up to $1000 to students enrolled in Minnesota high schools who want to broaden their knowledge of Japan through a recognized exchange program. Click here for details and an application form.
ARTS AND CULTURE
By hosting Harukaze, the Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM) hopes to provide a special cross-cultural experience with rich selection of Western classical pieces and the works of Japanese composers in the Western tradition. It is our hope that through this performance that you will be moved by the music you hear and inspired by the dedication of the performers in making the music. This program also serves as an opportunity to express appreciation for the current members of the Japan America Society of Minnesota who continue to support the organization through their gifts and contributions to the building of bridges of cultural understanding and international cooperation between the peoples of Japan and the United States.
The Obon Festival, the largest Japan-related festival in Minnesota, takes place in Como Park every August. Modeled after summer festivals held across Japan, it features stage performances, cultural demonstrations, activities, and, of course, Japanese food.
The event is reminiscent of Japan's annual Obon holiday, an important cultural and family event. During this holiday it is said that ancestral spirits revisit their families for three days. Many people will return home to pay their respects at grave-sites, and often small paper lanterns are lit and floated down the river to guide ancestor's spirits. The Obon Festival also features the Bon Odori, or folk dance, in which all are invited to join in the circle and dance. The Como Park Obon Festival incorporates traditions such as the Bon Odori with Minnesota culture to create new traditions. Every year Mu Performing Arts, featuring the Mu-Min Chorus Mu-Daiko, and Mikaharu-kai Dance Group perform the Minnesota Bon Odori, celebrating Minnesotan culture with a Japanese flair. A collaborative effort between JASM, Como Park, and the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee (SPNSCC), the Obon festival is a chance for JASM to reach out to the community and directly promote cultural exchange. By creating a fun event for all ages, we hope to share the experience with people who fondly remember festivals in Japan, and those who wish to experience one for the first time.
Ever want to visit Japan? Here is your chance to do it without having to buy a plane ticket! JASM is bringing the sights, tastes, and sounds of a Japanese New Year to Minnesota through our Shinnenkai celebration.
Shinnenkai is JASM's annual New Year Celebration in which we hope that, by bringing the traditions of a Japanese New Year celebration to Minnesota, we can promote cultural exchange and new experiences in a fun environment. There will be cultural performances, delicious Japanese food, a raffle, and children's activities as we hope to create a fun family atmosphere that allows people of all ages to come together and experience a Japanese New Year!
Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership
After Walter Mondale returned to Minnesota in 1997, having served with distinction as Ambassador to Japan, JASM created the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership to recognize outstanding contributions to the building of understanding, cooperation and respect between the people of Japan and Minnesota.
Click here to view application criteria and nominate someone.
The Award was first presented to Joan and Walter Mondale to recognize his service as Ambassador and her ongoing efforts to promote the arts in both countries. Since then, the Mondale Award has been presented annually to individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions of their own:
2021 Sarah Walbert
2020 Bill Deef
2019 Patricia Katagiri
2018 Linda Hashimoto van Dooijeweert
2017 Mirja Hanson
2016 Stanisław Skrowaczewski & Yoko Breckenridge
2015 Matthew Welch
2014 Warren MacKenzie
2013 Yoshie Babcock
2012 Inkie Brons
2011 Takuzo Ishida
2010 Dean and Masako Potter
2009 Dr. Charles Graham & Shirley Huskins
2008 Chris Rossow
2007 Hiroshi Yamashita
2006 KCC Japan Education Exchange
2005 St. Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee
2004 Diane & Evan Williams
2003 Kimi Hara
2002 Edson and Harriet Spencer
2001 Minnesota International Center
2000 Ruth Tanbara
1999 Akiko Sako
1998 N.L. (Neal) Gault, Jr., MD
1997 Joan and Walter Mondale
Mondale Award and Scholarship Dinner
To further the Japan-Minnesota Partnership, JASM holds the Mondale Award and Scholarship Dinner every Fall. At this gala event, the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership and Mondale Scholarships are presented.
The Mondale Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the building of understanding, cooperation and respect between the people of Japan and Minnesota. The Mondale Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students enrolled in Minnesota colleges and universities who want to broaden their knowledge of Japan through a combination of study and travel. These awards are intended to both recognize and encourage the continued efforts to build a bridge between Japan and Minnesota. Proceeds benefit the merit-based Mondale Scholarship Fund; every year the Fund supports two or more Minnesota undergraduates studying in Japan.
NETWORKING AND BUSINESS
Corporate Roundtables feature local and visiting speakers with extensive experience in doing business between Japan and the U.S.. Everyone is welcome, and the meetings allow plenty of time for Q&A. Recent topics have included: How to use public resources to grow your business in Japan; how to partner with a Japanese company; and how to successfully integrate an acquisition.
Know me Kai
A pun on the Japanese word Nomikai (Drinking Party), the “Know Me Kai” provides an opportunity to socialize with JASM members and supporters, and welcome new arrivals to Minnesota.
The Japan-Minnesota Grassroots forum provides an opportunity for Japan-related organizations from throughout the state to share experiences and best practices, and discuss how they can work together to deepen the relationship between Minnesota and Japan. For details, click here.