The Japanese Language Contest is scheduled yearly and is held at a local high school, college or other facility in the spring. The Heart of America Japan-America Society collaborates with other local organizations to provide the opportunity for friendly competition and networking so that all students can showcase their Japanese language skills and enjoy meeting other students across the region. Events include all kind of activities that challenge the students’ knowledge of the Japanese language.
The Heart of America Japan-America Society sponsors many activities and has several civic responsibilities. Since 1972, HAJAS has engaged in a Sister City Program with the beautiful city of Kurashiki, Japan.
Since 1981, our members have helped sponsor over 70 American high school and first year college students in a summer home-stay program in Kurashiki as Student Ambassadors. Our Student Ambassadors study the Japanese language intensely and are well qualified to represent the Japan-America Society and Kansas City.Kurashiki Youth Goodwill Delegation Program
For over 35 years, the HAJAS membership has hosted almost 500 high school and college students from Kurashiki, Japan during summer visits to Kansas City. Host families from various locations in the Greater Kansas City area give our Kurashiki guests an opportunity to live with an American family and experience family life in Kansas City. For the students, the Society sponsors social activities, sightseeing, a visit to the Kansas City Mayor’s office, a host family exchange dinner which includes presentations from both hosts and visitors and a farewell party. Interested in being a host family? Write us to learn more.
The Heart of America Japan-America Society sponsors a booth each year at the Ethnic Enrichment Festival in Swope Park in August to showcase Japanese culture, food and items for purchase. The Festival features countries from around the world. We are happy to be a part of it!
The Japan Festival has been held since 1997. The Japan-America Society typically has members who actively plan and execute the festival, as well as committee chairpersons who are responsible for different facets of the festival plus over 250 volunteers before, during and after the festival. This is our biggest events of the year for promoting Japan and its culture. It is held in early October at the Johnson County Community College. Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/kcjapanfestival) and visit us at our Japan Festival website. (www.kcjapanfestival.org).
Would you like to practice Japanese you’ve studied? Formed in November 1993, Nijikaiwa is an informal gathering of individuals who get together to use their Japanese language conversation skills. Currently the meeting time and place is 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Thursdays at Perkins 11200 W. 87th st. Lenexa, Kansas 66214. There is no cost to join. It is not a class; there are no lessons – just a place to use what you've learned. People of all ages and Japanese language ability are welcome.
The HAJAS Scholarship Fund is presently administered by Johnson County Community College. The fund is established for a Japanese student studying in the U.S. or an American student studying in either country.
Shinenkai (The New Year Celebration - 新年会)
Each January the Society holds it Shinnenkai (New Year Celebration). It is a formal sit-down dinner with recognition of donors and members of the Society. Recently the celebration has been held at the Carriage Club.
Japanese Garden and Tea Room
The Loose Park Japanese Tea Room and Garden, dedicated in July 2006, was conceived as a cultural exchange between the Sister Cities of Kurashiki, Japan and Kansas City, Missouri. The Tea Room is set in a traditional Japanese style. The Japanese garden features a small ornamental fountain, large boulders, many shrubs and groundcovers with a pathway leading to the Tea Room. The small garden is a place for quiet meditation.
The Japanese Tea Room is a space designed for holding Japanese tea ceremonies. It is a ceremonial space available only for this traditional activity. The Heart of America Japan-America Society‘s ”Friends of the Japanese Tea Room and Garden” work group hosts monthly Saturday morning work sessions from March through November to assist Parks and Recreation Department and the Loose Park staff in the maintenance of the garden. Contact us for more information about the Tea Room or Garden.