(For the Japanese version of this article)

The 41st International Educators to Japan Program (IEJ Program 2016) [June 19-30, 2016]

The 41st International Educators to Japan Program (IEJ Program 2016)


In June of 2016, IIST implemented the IEJ Program,* in which Western educators involved in the teaching of Japanese children overseas are invited to Japan. The aim of this program is to convey Japanese business associations and Japanese schools’ gratitude to local school teachers and educators overseas and to enable them to deepen their understanding of school life, culture, and other aspects of Japan through school visits, home stays, and cultural activities.

*IEJ Program: Participants in the IEJ Program are dispatched by Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Japanese schools, and other organizations such as international schools overseas. IIST has been placed in charge of overseeing the visits to Japan by the international educators since 2008.

Program duration: June 19 (Sun) - June 30 (Thu), 2016
Place: Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara
Participants: 29 teachers and school administrators from U.S.A, Canada, and Belgium

Sponsoring Japanese Business Associations (listed in order of year of initial participation)

• Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA)
• Japanese Educational Institute of Houston
• Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago (JCCC)
• Dallas Japanese Association
• The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia
• Japanese Firms Association of Colorado
• Japanese Business Society of Detroit
• Toronto Japanese Association of Commerce and Industry
• Shokokai of Portland
• EU-Japan Center for Industrial Cooperation/ International School of Brussels (ISB)
• San Antonio Japanese Companies Association

In cooperation with:

• NPO “Music Bring Peace”
• Seiko Kimono Cultural Foundation (Suzunoya Inc).
• Nara International Exchange Volunteers Association (NIEVA)
• Ikaruga International Friendship Association (IIFA)

Activities, Visited places

6/19 (Sun)
Arrival in Japan

6/20 (Mon)
Orientation, Kimono wearing experience (Seiko Kimono Cultural Foundation)

6/21 (Tue)
Visits to Tachiai Elementary School in Shinagawa Ward and Hiroo Gakuen Junior and Senior High School (Tokyo)

6/22 (Wed)
Transfer to Hiroshima, visit to the Peace Memorial Museum; lecture on atomic bomb experience and peace studies

6/23 (Thu)
Visit to Motomachi Elementary School, visit to Miyajima-island, transfer to Kyoto

6/24 (Fri)
Visit to Doshisha International school (elementary school or junior and senior high school)
Free time in Kyoto

6/25 (Sat)
Transfer to Nara; visit to Todaiji temple; Home stay in Nara City (Nara group) or Ikaruga Town(Ikaruga Group)

6/26 (Sun)
Free time with host families, home stay

6/27 (Mon)
Nara Group: visits to Elementary School Attached to Nara Women's University
Ikaruga Group: visit to Ikaruga Junior Elementary School

6/28 (Tue)
Field work in Tokyo (arranged by participants themselves)

6/29 (Wed)
Wrap-up meeting, Farewell Dinner

6/30 (Thu)
Departure from Japan


In order to deepen their understanding of the classroom and school environment in Japan, the participants engaged in various activities such as observing classes, performing demonstration classes (in English) and getting a taste of school lunch. In addition, as a source of information for the participants and their students, this year they also visited a private school that is devoting much effort to the acceptance of returnee students.

At the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, some participants were seen dedicating a thousand folded paper cranes (a symbol of peace) made with devotion by the teachers themselves and their students. Regarding the visit to Hiroshima, many participants made such feedback comments as “It was an extremely important part of the program and gave us an opportunity to think about the study of peace.”

Other popular activities enabling the participants to come into contact with Japanese culture, history, and customs included a kimono wearing experience, home stays in a regional city, and visits to temples and shrines in Kyoto.

At this year’s wrap-up meeting, time was also set aside for the participants to make presentations on what they had learned through this visit to Japan. These presentations stimulated discussions and information sharing among the participants and also provided the organizers with much food for thought.

Welcome ceremony at Tachiai Elementary School

Welcome ceremony at Tachiai Elementary School

School visit: HIROO GAKUEN Junior and Senior High School

School visit: HIROO GAKUEN Junior and Senior High School

At Todaiji-Temple (Nara)

At Todaiji-Temple (Nara)

Wrap-up meeting: Presentation by participants

Wrap-up meeting: Presentation by participants

International Exchange Dept.

(For the Japanese version of this article)

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