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Japan-America Grassroots Summit

The Japan-America Grassroots Summit is an annual gathering of Japanese and American citizens, held alternately in Japan and America. It celebrates the historic friendship between Nakahama Manjiro and Captain William Whitfield. Manjiro was a 14-year-old fisherman when he was marooned off Japan’s coast. Whitfield rescued the young Manjiro, brought him back with him to the United States and shared his own home with him there. Years later, because of his rare command of English and unmatched experience in America, Manjiro played a pivotal role in the newly forming relationship between Japan and the U.S.

Every year since 1991, some 100 to 200 people have traveled across the Pacific to take part in the annual Grassroots Summit. Japanese prefectures and American states alternate as host regions for about one week, with locals sharing their homes and the unique features of their communities and guests enjoying sight-seeing, cultural activities, receptions, and homestays with them. Together, guests and hosts make meaningful memories in the spirit of genuine omotenashi -- hospitality and open-hearted friendship.

2024 Japan-America Grassroots Summit

in Wakayama, Japan


  • July 8: Departure from the U.S.
  • July 9: Arrival in Japan
  • July 10: Wakayama City Tour, Opening Ceremony & Reception
  • July 11-13: Homestay & Local Session Activities
  • July 14: Closing Ceremony & Farewell Reception
  • July 15: Departure from Japan & Return to U.S.

Japan-America Grassroots Summit Website

Wakayama Grassroots Summit Brochure

Register for the Grassroots Summit

What makes the Grassroots Summit a one-of-a-kind experience?


No better way to learn about life in a foreign country


Homestay hosts who share your particular interests


Local culture, the local landscape, and especially, the local people


Hundreds of locals working to make the experience special for their guests


People of all backgrounds, ages 3 to 93, some who speak the host-country language and some who’ve never tried, seasoned travelers and first-timers, all of them eager to explore, learn, and share

List of Past Grassroots Summits in Japan & the U.S.

Greater Atlanta Hosts Japan-America Grassroots Summit in 2016!


        October 4 ~ 11, 2016        

The Japan‐America Grassroots Summit is an annual 1 week cultural exchange program for Japanese and American citizens of all ages, held alternately each year in Japan and the United States. An average of 200 people travel across the Pacific to take part in strengthening the peaceful relationship between the two countries by fostering peace and friendship at the grassroots level.


English   |   日本語

Metro-Atlanta and the surrounding areas in Georgia hosted The 26th Japan-America Grassroots Summit 2016 in Greater Atlanta from October 4-11, 2016. The Summit, jointly organized by the John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE) in Japan and The Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG) with support from the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta, Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs aims to strengthen the peaceful relationship between Japan and the United States by fostering grassroots friendships through a one-week cultural exchange program for all ages.

This year’s Summit showcased Georgia’s local attractions, unique culture and customs, and special business opportunities to more than 200 visitors from Japan and over 300 American hosts. With 25 years of history and more than 40,000 Japanese and Americans participating, the Grassroots Summit is one of the most enduring and important bilateral international exchange programs.

While Japanese participants took part in tourist activities in Atlanta for 3 days, they also lived with host families and learn the American lifestyle in “Local Session” activities in the surrounding host communities for 3 days. Among the Japanese guests attending there will be students from two junior high schools from the still-recovering area of Fukushima through the efforts of the U.S.-Japan Council’s Tomodachi Initiative. Homestays are being arranged in fifteen “Local Sessions”: Alpharetta/Milton, Athens, Columbus, Dahlonega, Decatur, Dublin, Elberton, Fitzgerald, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Newnan/Chattahoochee Hills, Peachtree City, Rome/Floyd County, and Roswell.

Atlanta and Georgia are regarded as the center of Japanese industry in the Southeastern United States as Japanese-affiliated companies have invested over $10.4 billion in Georgia, where 547 Japanese-affiliated companies currently operate. These companies together employ nearly 37,000 workers state-wide. Georgia's imports from Japan in 2015 amounted to about $4.61 billion making Japan the 5th largest international importer. Georgia's exports to Japan in 2015 amounted to about $1.37 billion, making Japan the 6th largest export market. With more than 50 Georgia companies having major operations in Japan, the economic relationship between Japan and Georgia is something of which we can all be proud.

With Japan and Georgia sharing 11 Sister City Relationships with Japan (Elberton – Mure, Americus – Miyoshi, Gainesville-Izunokuni, Atlanta – Fukuoka, LaGrange – Aso, Augusta-  Takarazuka, Macon – Kurobe, Savannah – Shimizu, Columbus – Kiryu, Rome – Kumamoto, Dublin – Osaki), the cultural and educational connection Georgia and Japan share is certainly a key component of grassroots friendships and mutual understanding.


Metro-Atlanta and the surrounding areas in Georgia will be the host for The 26th Japan-America Grassroots Summit 2016  taking place October 4-11, 2016. Residents of 15 greater Atlanta cities will open their homes and hearts to the Japanese visitors for a three‐day  local home-stay program after the opening in Atlanta. The host cities are:

 1. Alpharetta/Milton 9. Gainesville
 2. Athens 10. Macon
 3. Columbus 11. Marietta
 4. Dahlonega 12. Newnan/Chattahoochee Hills
 5. Decatur

 13. Peachtree City

 6. Dublin

 14. Rome/Floyd County

 7. Elberton  15. Roswell
 8. Fitzgerald 

The 2016 Japan‐America Grassroots Summit is organized by The Japan‐America Society of Georgia (JASG) and the John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE), and presented in cooperation with the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta, host cities, and partnering  community organizations.



The Japan-America Society of Georgia, Inc.

is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote

mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the state of Georgia 

Phone: 404-842-1400    Email:

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