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




List of Our Past Interns

Koki MatsumuraJanuary 23, 2023 ~ March 30, 2023
Harin ParkOctober 3, 2022 ~ January 20, 2023
Chihiro MatsuoJune 29, 2022 ~ September 2, 2022
Moena YamakawaJune 29, 2022 ~ August 19, 2022
Jiwoo JungApril 4, 2022 ~ July 31, 2022
Satoshi MikiJune 2022
Isami February 24, 2020 ~ April 3, 2020
RioFebrary 3, 2020 ~ Febrary 27, 2020
DaichiFebruary 3, 2020 ~ February 27, 2020
Tomohiro IshiiJanuary 2020 ~ February 2020
Naoki KokubuNovember 1, 2019 ~ 
Randy UnJuly 2019 ~ September 2019
Tomomi July 1, 2019 ~September 13, 2019
Nanami KikuchiAug 7, 2019 ~ August 30, 2019
ChirikoJuly 2019 ~
Misako SatoJuly 22, 2019 ~
Kana KitahamaFebruary 6, 2019 ~ April 30, 2019
Aya OgataFebruary 1, 2019 ~ February 26, 2019
Yuno TanifujiJanuary 28, 2019 ~ March 30, 2019
Shari MonsonOctober 2018 ~ Febrary 2019
Midori NakanoAugust 16, 2018 ~ August 31, 2018
Hiroki IshiiJune 26, 2018 ~ August 31, 2018
Yuka MuroiFebruary 7, 2018 ~ March 2, 2018
Lee Hyung WooFebrary 2018 ~ June 2018
Nao MiyamotoJanuary 28, 2018 ~ April 1, 2018
Hitomi Kase January 2018 ~
Ryoko YamamotoOctober 11, 2017 ~
Raymond SimOctober, 2017 ~
Chihiro KurokawaOctober 9, 2017 ~ December 1, 2017
Tomomi TsukadaAugust 25, 2017 ~ September 13, 2017
Shohgo MiuraJuly 6, 2017 ~ 
Jumpei AsakuraEnd of February 2017 - Mid-March 2017