Education & Family

What: The Junior Fellows Leadership Program is a culturally immersive learning and leadership experience, which takes place primarily in Japan.

Where: Students stay in the Tokyo metropolitan area with a host family while attending school and also take excursions to important historical sites around Japan.

July 6-27, 2015

Who: High school students between grades 9-11 (at the time of application), who possess strong leadership skills and demonstrate potential to become future leaders.

Tuition Cost: $3,500. Tuition includes orientation, all international and domestic travel, meals and accommodations. Full and partial needs-based scholarships available.

Download Program Information (PDF)

Download Fill-in Application (PDF)
Download Fill-in Recommendation Form (PDF)

Note: We suggest that you open the application form with Google Chrome or Internet Explore to fill it out directly. Or you can download and print the form to fill it out.

ROUND ONE: Applications must be received by 5 pm, Friday, January 16, 2015.

ROUND TWO: Group interviews with successful Round One applicants on Saturday, January 31, 2015.

Connect with American and Japanese future leaders and immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Live with a Japanese family, make friends at the local high school and join after-school sports and activities. The program includes visits to companies to meet leading professionals and trips to temples, shrines and other cultural sites ranging from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to the fashion district of Harajuku. In Japan you will also plan, prepare and present a project of your choice with the help of an advisor and Japan Society.

Program Highlights

• Meet current leaders in business, science, technology, humanities and the arts
• Visit leading companies in Japan
• Design and carry out an independent project exploring your future goals or interest in Japanese culture
• Participate in local Japanese high school classes and after-school activities
• Live with a Japanese family
• Visit important cultural and historic sites
• Learn basic, communicative Japanese during introductory language lessons
• Connect with past and present Japanese and American Junior Fellows throughout the program
• Become a part of the Junior Fellows Alumni network

Important Dates (subject to change)

• Application Deadline: 5 pm, Friday, January 16, 2015
• Group Interviews: Saturday, January 31, 2015
• May or June 2015: Student/Guardian orientation (by phone or video conference for students residing outside of the New York tri-state area)
• July 6-7, 2015: Pre-departure orientation at Japan Society in New York
• July 8, 2015: Depart for Japan
• July 9, 2015: Arrive in Japan
• July 10-26, 2015: In-country program
• Orientation in Tokyo, meet with local leaders, homestay, experience Japanese school life, carry out independent project, go on study trip and retreat
• July 27, 2015: Return to the U.S.


• Student/Guardian orientation in late May or June, 2015 (by phone or video conference for students residing outside of the New York tri-state area)
• Junior Fellows pre-departure orientation in New York
• Junior Fellows in-country orientation in Tokyo

The orientations provide an introduction to Japanese culture and manners, as well as safety procedures and the do’s and don’ts of the program.


Home Stay & Activities at Japanese Schools

Each Fellow will be placed with a host family and a high school in the Tokyo and Kanagawa metropolitan area for approximately 10 days. There will be one to three Fellows at each school. Each Junior Fellow will design and carry out an independent project and participate in classes with guidance from a host school faculty member.

Independent project examples include:

• Conducting research on current social problems faced by Japan and developing possible solutions
• Creating a series of brief podcasts, videos or articles about different people, stores and cultural characteristics found in your host town.
• Conducting research on the recovery efforts after the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami by visiting the affected area to interview locals and document current recovery efforts.
• Conducting a comparative study of teachers’ roles in Japan and the U.S.

Depending on the scope of each project, the Fellow will either go to the local high school each morning to work on the project or visit a project site with Japan Society’s permission. The Fellows will also participate in club activities after school on campus.
Upon returning to their home schools in the U.S., Fellows are encouraged and expected to present their projects to their school community/class.

Japan Study Tour

After the homestay and school experience, the Junior Fellows will travel together (with chaperones) to visit important cultural sites and meet leaders in various fields. Possible site visits include Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Previous Junior Fellows have had opportunities to speak with senior business executives, participate in traditional craft workshops, and meet leading photojournalists and manga artists. Program leaders have extensive knowledge of Japanese history, culture and society, and help the Junior Fellows to develop an in-depth understanding of Japan.


The Junior Fellows and Japanese host siblings participate in a two-day retreat at the end of the program. Fellows will present and discuss their independent projects and participate in meaningful cultural experiences together with their host siblings and cohort of Fellows.

Qualifications and Selection Procedure

Ten Fellows will be selected based on their future potential, demonstrated leadership skills and possession of qualities necessary to have a successful and engaging experience with other leaders in the program. These qualities include but are not limited to: adaptability and flexibility in a foreign country, emotional maturity, strong academic background and demonstrated interest in Japan. Knowledge of Japanese language is not required. The selection process includes a written application, teacher recommendations, school transcript and short essays. Finalists will be interviewed in person or via Skype/phone.


The total tuition cost is $3,500. This includes all international and domestic travel, meals, accommodations (dormitory-style and hotel) as well as all admissions during study trips and retreat. Fellows are responsible for incidental expenses, pocket money and meals not taken with host families or program staff.

Japan Society is committed to a needs-blind admission/participation policy.
Accepted Fellows in need of tuition assistance will be required to submit additional documentation. Please contact Japan Society for more information at

Guidelines for Application

All applications must include the following documents:

1. Program application form
2. Two (2) signed letters of recommendation, at least one from a teacher or faculty member at the student’s school
3. Copy of school transcript
4. Two (2) short, written responses to the following questions (recommended 400-word limit for each question):
Q 1. Why are you qualified to participate in the Junior Fellows program?
Q 2. How will you use this leadership program in Japan to achieve your future career goals?

Application Dates

• Friday, January 16, 2015 - Applications must be receivedby 5 pm
• Saturday, January 31, 2015 - Group interviews with finalists
• Beginning of February, 2015 - Final selection and announcement of 2015 Junior Fellows

Application Submission By Mail:

Japan Society Education Program
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Attn: Junior Fellows Program


You may submit your application online. Read the above-mentioned requirements and instructions carefully before you complete and submit your application online.  Please click here to submit your application online.


1. Application documents will not be returned.
2. Application documents submitted by those who are not eligible for this Fellowship or that reach Japan Society after the deadline will not be subject to screening and applicant will be so notified.
3. Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that his/her application is complete.
4. Due to the large number of applications received, we are unable to provide feedback to applicants who are not admitted.

Dream Navigation

Japan Society works with Dream Navigation to carry out this leadership program. Based in Kanagawa, Japan, Dream Navigation plans and carries out international cooperation programs in education, arts and sportsto develop further international friendship with nations and cities, including Maryland, Liaoning, China and Gyeonggi-do, Korea.

Inset photos, from top: Photo © Yumi Nagasawa/Japan Society; Photo © Allison Chandler; Photo © Yumi Nagasawa/Japan Society; Photo © Yumi Nagasawa/Japan Society.

The TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Leadership Program is supported by generous grants from an anonymous family foundation, Mr. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., ITO EN (North America) INC., and the United States-Japan Foundation. Additional support is generously provided by an anonymous donor, The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc. and the Wendy Obernauer Foundation.


This program is funded by TOMODACHI’s Fund for Exchanges through generous contributions from Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Hitachi, Ltd.


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