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Heart of America

Kurashiki Youth Goodwill Delegation Program


We have enough families for our 2023 Japanese exchange student - thanks to all of you!

But we are always looking for families to host high school students from Kurashiki, Japan (Kansas City’s sister city) in one week blocks - usually the last week of July and first week of August. 

If you are interested in hosting in the future, please fill out a Host Family interest form:

Host Family Interest Form

For more information, contact Jun H. Shrout at or (816)590- 3747.

More Information About Our 2023 Program

Kurashiki is Kansas City's Sister City in Japan.  Each year the Heart of America Japan-America Society sends three students from the KC area to Kurashiki.  At the same time, Kurashiki sends seven students (ages 15-16) and an adult chaperone to visit the Kansas City area.  In 2023, the students will arrive in KC on July 25th.  We keep them together in a hotel for three nights.  During that time, we will take them to a high school, a farm, Worlds of Fun, and to meet the Mayor of KC. Usually we will take them to a Royals game, but they aren't in town then.  So, we will plan another activity with them.  We like to keep them together to get acclimated to the US and practice their English skills.  They do speak English, but at first are shy--afraid their pronunciation is incorrect.

Week One Host families will pick up the students on July 28, usually at Loose Park in Kansas City.  They will stay with their host families until August 3rd.  There will be a dinner  at the Meadowbrook Club House (91st and Nall).  The host family is invited to attend.  There is usually entertainment by the students.  The second host family is also invited to this dinner.  Then the student will go with the Week Two family until August 8th.  There will be a farewell dinner for both host families and students in Prairie Village.  The students will spend the night near the airport and leave for Japan the next morning. 

On August 2nd, we ask the Week One host family to take the student to Deanna Rose Farm in the morning to drop them off.  We will take them to the farm and on to a lake picnic..  We will meet the host family back at Deanna Rose about 8 PM.

We ask that host families not leave the student at home alone.  We try to get families with school age children.  We are hosting three girls and four boys.  The students are here to learn about American families and living in the US.   They love to shop!  Walmart and Target are favorites.  They would like to see stores and maybe even cook a meal for you.  If your children are in sports, take them to practices or games.  They can attend church with you and other family outings.  

We will have a host family meeting before the students arrive to give you more information.  If you are interested or have questions, contact HAJAS at .

This is a fun opportunity for you and your family to meet someone from Japan and share the US with them.

Kansas City, Missouri -- Kurashiki, Okayama

Established: May 1972 

Annual student exchanges -- to and from Kurashiki;
Adult exchanges on each 5th year anniversary -- to and from Kurashiki;

For the 25th anniversary in 1997 of the Sister Cities relationship -- Kurashiki donated 25 Yaezakura double flowering cherry trees that were planted in a midtown park (Loose Park) in Kansas City -- Kansas City donated 25 Flowering Dogwood trees (the State tree of Missouri) that were planted in the heart of the city of Kurashiki in Friendship Square;

For the 30th anniversary in 2002, the Kurashiki government and citizens donated monies for a Japanese Tearoom and Garden that was placed in Loose Park -- the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and Greater Kansas City citizens donated monies to fully fund the project (the Tearoom and Garden were dedicated in 2006 with Kurashiki Mayor Furuichi and a delegation from Kurashiki and local Kansas City governmental officials and citizens); 

For the 35th anniversary in 2007, Mayor Kenzo Furuichi brought 480 Kurashiki governmental officials and citizens to Kansas City for a week's stay on a JAL jumbo jet to celebrate this special anniversary -- many activities were planned for the delegation during their stay -- this was probably one of the largest Sister City delegations to come to its Sister City in US history!;

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