What is the Grassroots Summit?

The Japan America Grassroots Summit is an annual large-scale exchange of Japanese and American people, held alternatively in Japan and America. The Summit aims to strengthen the peaceful relationship between our two countries by fostering friendship at the grassroots level. It honors the friendship between Captain William Whitfield and John Manjiro Nakahama, in which Captain Whitfield shared his home with a young Nakahama Manjiro after rescuing him from the sea in 1841. The relationship was pivotal in building the Japan-US relationship after Japanese isolationism ended. In the same way Captain Whitfield opened his home to Nakahama Manjiro, the Grassroots Summit focuses heavily on a home stay program.

Washington State — September 18-24, 2018

The Japan-America Society of the State of Washington in partnership with the John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange in Japan will host the 28th Annual Japan-America Grassroots Summit 2018 in Washington State. Nearly 150 Japanese visitors will come to Seattle, where they will participate in various tours of the city. They will then disburse to 15 local sessions across the state to experience our region’s culture as part of the three-night home stays.

See the English brochure and the Japanese brochure.

Local Sessions:

Participants leave for their home stay town and stay with their host family for four days and three nights. Guests pre-select a “local session” of interest to them based on previews they receive in the application brochure. During the homestay days, the local town leaders and host families work together to share the best that their community has to offer. This person-to-person exchange and shared enthusiasm for local and cultural experience is the essence of the Japan America Grassroots Summit.

Local Sessions need host families and volunteers to help make the Summit a success!

See Local Sessions and Host Family Handbook v.4.


Lorraine Chachere

Tourism Coordinator, City of Auburn

Gregg Schrader

Building Official/Division Director, City of Bellevue Development Services Dept

Ellensburg/Kittitas County
Paul Jewell

District 1 County Commissioner, Kittitas County Board of Commissioners

Becky Newton

Economic Development Manager, City of Lakewood

Moses Lake
Deb Langshaw

Owner of Langshaw Investments

Allen Miller

President, Olympia Kato Sister Cities Association
Owner, Law Offices of Allen T. Miller

Port Townsend
David Timmons

City Manager, City of Port Townsend

Chris Johnson

President, Renton Nishiwaki Sister Cities Committee

Roger Richert
Past President, Renton Nishiwaki Sister Cities Committee

Ben Erickson

President, Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association

Charlie Bush

City Manager, City of Sequim

Debbie Bingham

Program Development Specialist, City of Taoma, Department of Community and Economic Development

Vashon Island
Akiko Leonard

Rita Brogan
Communications Consultant, PRR

Mount Vernon High School
Nate Shepherd

English and AVID, Mount Vernon HS

Tyee Middle School
Cheryl Lee