Mission Statement & Overview


Japan Society's façade with centennial banners. Photo © Japan Society.
Mission Statement

Japan Society is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language and education. 

Overview

Japan Society is an American nonprofit organization supported by individuals, foundations and corporations that brings the people of Japan and the United States closer together through mutual understanding, appreciation and cooperation. More than a hundred years after the Society's founding, its goal remains the same—the cultivation of a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Today, Japan Society has evolved into a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia.

Activities at Japan Society are set against a stunning backdrop of indoor gardens, a reflecting pool and a waterfall. Facilities include a 262-seat theater, art gallery, language center, library and conference rooms. Japan Society's landmark building—located near the United Nations on 47th Street and First Avenue—was designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura and opened in 1971 as the first building in New York City by a leading Japanese architect. The classic elegance and simplicity of Yoshimura's original vision has been preserved even as the building has been enhanced by a substantial renovation.

Japan Society was founded on May 19, 1907 by a group of prominent New York business people and philanthropists, many of whom shaped the policies of exchange and collaboration that guided the Society until the outbreak of World War II. After the war, activities slowly resumed, and the stewardship of John D. Rockefeller 3rd from 1952 to 1978 led to a unified vision, a firm financial foundation, and a revitalized mission that continues to inspire and sustain the organization today.


Architect Junzo Yoshimura with one of his drawings for Japan House. 1970 or 1969. Copyright © Japan Society. All rights reserved. Architectural drawing for 1996 renovations, including the addition of a fifth floor to the building. Copyright © Japan Society. All rights reserved.

Built on land donated by Rockefeller, Japan Society's building was designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura and opened in 1971 as the first building by a leading Japanese architect in New York City. Located near the United Nations on 47th Street and First Avenue across the street from Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza park--just a short walk from Grand Central Station--activities at Japan Society are set against a stunning backdrop of indoor gardens, a reflecting pool and a waterfall. Furnished with a superb collection of tables, chairs and benches designed by master woodworker George Nakashima, the facilities include a 262-seat theater, art gallery, language center, library, conference facilities and over three floors of administrative space. The classic elegance and simplicity of Yoshimura's original vision has been preserved even as the building has been enhanced by a substantial renovation completed in 1998.

Calendar of Events

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