About Japan Society
Japan Society is the premier organization connecting Japanese arts, culture, business, and society with audiences in New York and around the world.
At Japan Society, we are inspired by the Japanese concept of kizuna (絆)–forging deep connections to bind people together. We are committed to telling the story of Japan while strengthening connections within New York City and building new bridges beyond. In over 100 years of work, we’ve inspired generations by establishing ourselves as pioneers in supporting international exchanges in arts and culture, business and policy, as well as education between Japan and the U.S.
Now, more than ever, we strive to convene important conversations on topics that bind our two countries together, champion the next generation of innovative creators, promote mutual understanding, and serve as a trusted guide for people everywhere who seek to more fully appreciate the rich complexities and abundance of Japan.
From our New York headquarters, a landmark building designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura that opened to the public in 1971, we look forward to the years ahead, which will be defined by our digital and ideational impact through the kizuna that we build. Our future can only be enhanced by learning from our peers and engaging with our audiences, both near and afar. Please join us.
Japan Society connects American and Japanese people, cultures, and societies through a global lens.
Building & History
Activities at Japan Society are set against a stunning backdrop of indoor gardens, a reflecting pool and a waterfall. Facilities include a 260-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. Marking the 110th anniversary in 2017, renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto renovated the Society’s lobby garden, now featuring original artwork, handmade Nara ceramic tiles and two large-scale tropical bonsai ficus trees.
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.