The Japan-America relationship is important since the combined output of these two countries accounts for 30% of global GNP.
There are layers and layers of relationships and resources shared by Michigan and Japan.
The Japan America Society has been center of it all for 25 years.
The Michigan-Shiga sister-state relationship began in 1968.
Detroit and Toyota have enjoyed a sister-city relationship for 55 years. 26 more Michigan cities are linked with Japanese cities through sister-city agreements.
There are more than 460 Japanese companies doing business in Michigan, most of them in the area of motor vehicles and parts manufacturing. These companies employ 35,000 Americans here in Michigan.
The procurement of goods and services by Japanese companies in the area is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.
The Japanese culture has been a vibrant part of the local communities since the turn of the 20th century, when Detroiter Charles Lang Freer acquired and shared a significant collection of Japanese art which would eventually form the basis of the Freer Gallery of Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
The Detroit Institute of Arts houses a number of Japanese masterpieces including the 19th century gilded 6-fold screen, ‘Reeds and Cranes,’ painted by Suzuki Kiitsu. An authentic Japanese tea house in Saginaw is the product of a collaboration with the city’s Japanese sister-city, Tokushima.
The Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids is home to an 8-acre Japanese Garden designed by renowned landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu.
Downtown Detroit’s Riverfront Hart Plaza was designed by the Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi and includes his stainless steel Dodge Fountain and Twisting Pylon sculpture.
The Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki practiced in Michigan for 40 years, gracing the Detroit area with several iconic buildings including the original Michigan Consolidated Gas Company building at One Woodward, home of the Japan America Society, and the McGregor Conference Center and surrounding Reflecting Pool and Sculpture Gardens on the campus of Wayne State University.
More than 2000 students are studying the Japanese Language at Michigan Universities.
An Annual public Japan Festival is held in October.
The top decision makers of local Japanese and American firms are directly involved in the Japan America Society.
They serve as officers, as directors and participate in the Society's programs.
The Japan America Society provides excellent opportunities for American and Japanese manufacturers to meet, make contacts and make friends.