About Us

Established in 1930, the Japan America Society of Chicago is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan, nonpolitical association that “fosters understanding between our two cultures, to cultivate personal friendship between our two people.”

The Society promotes dialogue, social interaction, cooperation and friendship among its members by serving as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on economic, political, business and cultural affairs that inform and shape U.S.- Japan bilateral relations in world affairs.

The Japan America Society of Chicago now serves as the principal clearinghouse in the Greater Chicago area and much of the Midwest on information pertaining to U.S. – Japan bilateral relations. The Society sponsors programs to serve some 1400 American and Japanese nationals interested in business and cultural issues in each nation. The Society serves this dual constituency by annually sponsoring some 50 business-related and cultural programs on a wide variety of subjects.

Business and Public Affairs programs have included presentations by high level Japanese business and governmental leaders. The Society has sponsored three Japanese prime ministers in the past decade, along with reform-minded political leaders, in and out of government, and a Japanese nobelist in physics who has headed a task force on the reform of the Japanese educational system. This tradition will be continued. As in the past, leading American executives from commerce, industry, and government will continue to enhance Society programming in the form of forums, symposiums, business luncheons and special events, such as our annual golf tournament and the Christmas/Bonenkai Gala to support scholarships and general programming activities. Future programming will increasingly focus on Japan’s leap into the age of information technology and investment opportunities in Japan for foreign corporations.

Cultural activities will also continue to be presented to provide balanced programming. Popular and traditional Japanese art forms, from rakugo comedy to contemporary Japanese popular culture have been presented. This tradition will be expanded to educate Americans on the richness of Japanese culture. New avenues will be explored and avant garde films produced and directed by a new wave of Japanese artists will become a common staple. Japanese language instruction will continue to feature evening classes with basic to advanced levels of instruction. Cooperation with the Art Institute of Chicago and its School, local universities, and the Japan Information Center of the Consulate of Japan at Chicago will be furthered and ties strengthened. The Society’s outreach program to public schools in the inner city of Chicago will continue in the form of scholarship assistance and curriculum development about Japan.

90th Anniversary Sponsors


Jean & Jim McClung


Barnes & Thornburg

Joyce Chelberg


Terri & Ed Grant

Jane & David Johnson

Suzanne & Michael Moskow

Ann & Stephen Potter


Kirkland Ellis
Mayer Brown

92nd Annual Program Sponsors

Grant Thorton
Mayer Brown

Joyce Chelberg

Edward A. Grant

Bradley Hamm

David D. Johnson

Kirkland Ellis

Jean & Jim McClung