Cultural Exchange

Through the years, various women’s organizations representing auxiliaries, cultural, educational and professional groups from Japan have met with JWS members for the purpose of fellowship and the exchange of ideas. One early exchange took place in 1962 when a group of JWS members embarked on the Japan Cultural Exchange Tour to meet with influential women from various prefectural organizations in Japan. The highlight of the trip was an audience with Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko.

In Hawaii, meetings have taken place with such organizations as the Fukuoka Women’s Newspaper group, Japan International Service Associates, the Shiga Prefecture Women’s Association and the Women’s Association of Hiroshima Prefecture. In an active but not atypical year (1995-1996), JWS members served as speakers or participants in exchange programs that included over 500 Japanese visitors from seven different civic and professional groups.

Themes of dicussion have included the status of women in the U.S. and Japan, concerns of women in the workplace, the role of women in community service, and the life of nisei (second generation) women in Hawaii.

In 1997, at the request of the Mayor’s Office, the JWS participated in the historical Japan America Conference of Mayors and Chamber of Commerce Presidents, held for the first time in Honolulu. As well as helping coordinate hospitality functions for the conference as a whole, members planned and hosted an elaborate two-day program of receptions, tours, and cultural events for the spouses of the participants.