Education & Family

What is the TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Student Exchange Program? A culturally immersive learning experience in Japan.

Where will I stay?
Students live in the Tokyo metropolitan area with a host family, experience school life in Japan and visit historical sites.

When is it?
July 1–24, 2014

Who will go?
Ten high school students who are freshmen, sophomores or juniors at the time of application and are potential future leaders.

How much does it cost?
$3,500, with full and partial need-based scholarships available. Tuition includes orientation, all international and domestic travel in the U.S. and Japan, and meals and accommodations.

Download application (PDF)
Download poster (PDF)

DEADLINE EXTENSION: Applications must be received by Thursday, January 23rd, 2014.  Please note that Japan Society will be closed on Saturday, January 18th and Monday, January 20th.

! Explore your leadership potential and join fellow students from the U.S. and Japan this summer with the TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Student Exchange Program. Live with a Japanese host family, meet local teens at the neighborhood high school, join after-school clubs and gain an insider’s view of the community through a creative project of your choice. The program would not be complete without visiting temples, marveling at Harajuku fashion, slurping piping hot ramen and battling rush hour crowds in Tokyo!

Program Highlights

• Design and carry out an independent project exploring an aspect of Japanese culture or a future aspiration.
• Meet with leading professionals in the arts, business and entertainment.
• Live with a Japanese family for two weeks.
• Participate in local high school activities.
• Visit cultural and historic Japanese sites.
• Learn Japanese during introductory language lessons.
• Bond with Japanese and American Junior Fellows during the study trip and an end of the program retreat.
• Continue to expand your network after the program by becoming a Junior Fellows Alumni.


Program Dates (subject to change)

• May or June 2014: Student/Parent orientation (by phone or video conference for the long-distance fellows)
• July 1-2, 2014: Fellow pre-departure orientation in New York
• July 3, 2014: Depart for Japan
• July 4-23, 2014: Arrival in Japan; Tokyo orientation in Japan and study tour; Homestay, activities in Japanese schools, and independent project; End-of-program retreat.
• July 24, 2014: Return to the U.S.


• Parent/guardian orientation (by phone or video conference, May or June, 2014)
• Junior Fellows pre-departure orientation in New York (before departure in July 2014 at Japan Society)
• Junior Fellows orientation in Tokyo

The Junior Fellows orientations include language instruction, an introduction to Japanese culture and manners, and an overview of rules, regulations and safety procedures. 

Japan Study Tour

After the Tokyo orientation, the 10 Junior Fellows will travel together 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. The program leaders have extensive knowledge of Japanese history, culture and society, and guide the Fellows to an in-depth understanding of Japan.

Home Stay & Activities at Japanese Schools

Each Fellow will be placed in a host family and high school in the Tokyo metropolitan area for approximately two weeks. There will be one or two Fellows at each school. With guidance from a host school faculty member, each Junior Fellow will design and carry out a project of personal interest and participate in classes.

Project Examples include:

• Creating an "insider's guide" to your host town.
• Creating a series of brief podcasts, videos or articles about different people, stores and cultural characteristics of your host town.
• Assembling a collage representing a portrait of the town, school or neighborhood.

Depending on the project, the Fellow will either go to the local high school each morning to work on the project or visit a project site. In the afternoons, Fellows will participate in club activities at their assigned school. After returning to their home schools in the U.S., Fellows are encouraged to present their experiences and project to their school community. 


The 10 Junior Fellows and Japanese students from their host schools will participate in a multi-day end of the program retreat in Japan. Fellows will share the results of their projects and participate in fun, cultural experiences, such as Japanese cooking classes, martial arts demonstrations, farm produce tastings, and present and discuss their independent projects.

Guidelines for Application

Required Documents

• Program application form
• Two (2) signed letters of recommendation, at least one from a teacher or faculty member at the student's school
• Copy of transcript
• Two (2) short, written responses to the following questions (recommended 400-word limit for each question):

                         • Why are you interested in participating in the Junior Fellows program?

                         • How might you use this experience for your future goals?

Selection Procedures

Ten Fellows will be selected based on their future leadership potential and demonstration of qualities necessary to a successful exchange experience. These qualities include but are not limited to: adaptability and flexibility in a foreign country, emotional maturity and a strong academic background and interest in Japan. Knowledge of Japanese language is useful, but 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.

Application Dates

• January 23, 2014: Applications must be received by this date
• February 2014: Interviews of finalists (alternate dates available)
End of February 2014: Final selection of Fellows 


Tuition is $3,500 and includes airfare, accommodations and meals during the orientations, tour and retreat, meals taken with homestay families, orientation sessions and classes, visa fees and entry fees during field trips. 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 for the TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Student Exchange Program. Accepted Fellows in need of tuition assistance will be required to submit additional documentation. Please contact Japan Society for more information.

Please submit your application and documents to by 5 pm, January 23, 2014:

Submit online:

You may submit your application online. Click here to begin.

Submit by mail:

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


1. Application documents will not be returned.

2. Application documents submitted by those who are not eligible for this Fellowship or which reach Japan Society after the deadline will not be subject for screening and 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.

About the TOMODACHI Initiative

The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership, born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, that invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as entrepreneurship and leadership programs.

About Dream Navigation

Japan Society and Dream Navigation are working together to carry out this exchange. Based in Kanagawa, Japan, NPO Dream Navigation plans and carries out international cooperation programs in education, arts and sports to develop further international friendship with nations and cities all over the world, including Maryland in the U.S., Liaoning in China and Gyeonggi-do in Korea.

Further Questions

For more information, contact the Education Program at Japan Society at (212) 715-1275/1216 or

Education Programs are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, Jon T. Hutcheson, and Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao. Student and Family Programs are supported by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

The TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows Student Exchange Program is supported by a generous grant from an anonymous family foundation, Mr. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. and ITO EN (North America) INC. Additional support is generously provided by an anonymous donor and the Thornton-Donovan School.

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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