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Connecting Japan and Minnesota over 50 years

The Japan America Society of Minnesota is a member-supported, non-profit organization established to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japanese and US citizens. Through our programs and events, we endeavor to promote an appreciation of cultural, educational, economic, public, and other affairs of interest to both peoples. JASM also connects and supports Minnesota's seven Japanese sister cities, two Japanese-language Saturday schools, over 100 Japanese corporate subsidiaries, and a host of other organizations dedicated to Japan-related topics from Anime to Zen. JASM is open to individuals, corporations, and other organizations interested in supporting its missionFounded in 1972, JASM is a member of the National Association of Japan-America Societies.


    • 2024-06-18
    • 2024-08-18
    • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

    The 2024 Obon Festival will be on Sunday, August 18th at Como Park. We will look for volunteers starting in June/July.

    Please find information below on the various booths you can volunteer at and make this event successful together!

    (Picture: 2023 Obon Festival first shift volunteers)

    • Calligraphy - assist calligraphy master and help people do calligraphy (previous experience with calligraphy preferred) 

    • Yo-Yo Tsuri - a game where participants fish for floating balloons. Volunteers will need to organize booth, prepare water balloons, prepare hooks, and help run game. 

    • Balloon Makers - help make balloons for Yo-Yo Tsuri 

    • Kingyo sukui - our version will involve participants fishing for rubber fish with scoopers. Volunteers will need to prepare tubs of water, and help run game. 

    • Japanese Quiz - conduct J-quiz by asking participants questions and encouraging participants

    • Main Booth - sell variety of JASM merchandise and conduct membership outreach 

    Everyone aged 18 and older is welcome to volunteer, with current JASM members given priority. Whether you're new to Obon or an experienced volunteer, we look forward to having you!

    ** Please note that all volunteers need to attend a volunteer workshop before the festival to get necessary information.  Time and location to be determined.

    We're looking forward to working with you!

    • 2024-07-14
    • 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    • Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden
    • 67

    This picture is from last year's workshop.

    Please join us for the "Bondori Workshop" on Sunday,  July 14th  from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden.

    Bon Odori is a traditional dance performed during Obon Festivals throughout Japan. Before JASM's Obon Festival at Como Park, dancers will be teaching the Bon Odori. Please join us if you'd like to learn the Bon Odori. 

    This is a family-friendly event, all are welcome. No prior experience is necessary to participate. Please wear clothes that are easy to move in. 

    This event will be a fun way to get some exercise and learn about a regional dance of Japan. Please sign up today! We are looking forward to seeing you there.

    Maria Traxler is a current member of the Kizuna International Yosakoi Team. She danced in the 2019 Kochi Yosakoi Festival as a Kizuna member, as well as in the 2015 Kochi Yosakoi Festival as a member of the Shimanto Town team Shimamuta.

    (Photo: Maria Traxler)

    You can watch the video from last year. 

    This event is free for all and open to the public!  However, we would still like for you to register. 

    Additionally, as always your donations are muchly appreciated

    LOCATION: Lawn across from Spoonbridge and Cherry @ Minneapolis Sculpture Garden 14357 Loring Greenway, Minneapolis, MN 55403 or click here for Google maps.

     This picture is from the workshop 2022

    • 2024-07-18

    Mondale Scholarship applications open!

    The Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM) will award the Mondale Scholarship to undergraduate students enrolled in Minnesota colleges or North Dakota State University who want to broden their knowledge of Japan through a combination of study and travel. Former Ambassador Mondale has continually promoted a deeper understanding of Japanese business, government, culture, and language among corporate leaders and employees in America. The Japan America Society of Minnesota is proud to have this opportunity to assist Minnesota/North Dakota students in their quest for a study experience in Japan since 1998.

    The selection committee has the discretion to award up to $2,000 for each scholarship. In a typical year, between 3 and 5 scholarships are awarded. The awards are specifically to be used for travel to or within Japan before, during, or after the student’s specified term(s) of study.

    July 18, 2024 - Application Deadline

    July 29, 2024   - Send interview invitations to candidates

    Aug 9, 2024 - Complete interviews of candidates

    Aug 12, 2024 - Award scholarships

    Find out about what goes into the application, read testimonies from past Mondale Scholars, and get all the details here: https://mn-japan.org/Mondale-Scholarship
    • 2024-08-16

    Currently, we are looking for nominations for the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership. If you think you know an individual or organization who is perfect for this award, please let us know! 

    Please click here for a list of criteria for the Mondale Award and here to nominate someone. 

    The due date for nominations is August, 11, 2024. 

    Every year, the Japan America Society of Minnesota presents the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership to an individual or organization that has been nominated by the membership and selected by a committee of the Board of Directors. Purpose: The Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership is presented by JASM to recognize outstanding contributions to the building of understanding, cooperation and respect between the people of Japan and Minnesota. 

    After Walter Mondale returned to Minnesota in 1997, having served with distinction as Ambassador to Japan, JASM created the Mondale Award for Japan-Minnesota Partnership. The award was first presented to Joan and Walter Mondale to recognize his work as an ambassador to Japan and her ongoing efforts to promote the arts in both countries. The Mondale's epitomized JASM's core value of fostering meaningful connection between Minnesota and Japan. Through this award, JASM celebrates individuals and organizations who are dedicated to bringing Japan and Minnesota closer together.

    Recent awardees include: 

    Dick Stahl (2023)

    Gayle and Judith Fleming (2022)

    Sarah Walbert (2021) 

    Bill Deef (2020)

    Patricia Katagiri (2019)

    You can find a complete list of awardees by clicking here.

    We cannot wait to receive your nominations! 

    • 2024-08-18
    • 3:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

    Please save the date  for Obon Festival 2024 at Como Park on Sunday, August 18 from 3 PM to sundown for a celebration of Japanese culture and tradition.  There will be food, singing, dancing, martial arts, and of course, lantern lighting! This is a family friendly event perfect for everyone. 

    Please stay turned for the update!


    JASM Activities that will be at Obon Festival: 

    Calligraphy - Try your hand at calligraphy or ask the calligraphy master for a message on a fan (with a donation of $15 or more)

    Yo-Yo Tsuri - A game where participants fish for floating balloons

    Kingyo sukui - In our version, fish for rubber fish with scoopers

    Japanese Quiz - Test your knowledge of Japan and win a prize

    Main Booth - Find variety of JASM merchandise and other fun items.

    Visit JASM Main Booth for Obon Festival Masks!


    We hope to see you there!

    • 2024-09-21
    • 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    • Pioneer Creek Golf Course 705 Copeland Rd #9787, Maple Plain, MN 55359
    • 72

    JASM will be holding our 3rd annual charity golf scramble event in September at Pioneer Creek Golf Course in Maple Plain, MN on September 21st.

    Please save the date for this event!

    We will announce the details as soon as we know.

    Enjoy a fun day of competition with friends while supporting JASM. This event is limited to 72 participants. 

    • 2024-11-16
    • 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Oak Ridge Country Club 700 Oak Ridge Rd, Hopkins, MN 55305

    Please mark your calendars for the 2024 Mondale Award and Scholarship Gala will be held in person on Saturday, November 16th at the Oak Ridge Country Club in Hopkins.

    Both the MondaleAward and Mondale Scholarship will be presented at this event. The Mondale Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the building of understanding, cooperation, and respect between the people of Japan and Minnesota. 

    The Mondale Scholarship is presented to students enrolled in Minnesota colleges and universities who want to broaden their knowledge of Japan through a combination of study and travel.

    Please keep an eye out for registration information which will come in September.

    • 2024-12-12
    • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    • TBD
    • 50

    The 2024 Annual Meeting  is scheduled on December 12th at 6:30 pm this year. The location is to be dermined.

    At the meeting, we will be reflecting on the year as a whole and looking forward to next year. We’ll discuss additional ways we can further JASM’s  mission and will hold elections for board members.

    Mark your calendar!


JASM is supported by hundreds of individuals and over 40 Companies and Non-Profit Organizations. Special thanks to the following sponsors:

Corporate Benefactors

Daikin Applied 

Delta Air Lines, Inc.  

Taiyo International, Inc.

Corporate Patron

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Miller Milling Company


Corporate Sustaining Members


Hamre, Schumann,  Mueller & Larson PC   

Japan Lifeline Co.Ltd

Mall of America

Metropolitan Airports Commission

Naigai Industries U.S.A. Inc. 

Satellite Industries, Inc.

Surdyk's Liquor & Cheese Shop

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.

Corporate Contributors

Satellite Industries, Inc. UMEI    

Partners in Service

JK's Table     Kiku Enterprises, Inc.     

Metoree   Minnesota Trade Office

Origami Restaurant     Sakura Restaurant

Saint Paul Saints Baseball Club     Saji-Ya Restaurant

Suishin Restaurant

TOMODACHI     Voyager Group Inc.

Nonprofit Members

Concordia Language Villages     Economic Club of Minnesota     Global Minnesota

JETAA Minnesota     JETRO Chicago     JP Network, St. Cloud State University

KCC-Japan Education Exchange     Macalester College Asian Language & Culture Department

Minneapolis Japanese School     Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minnesota Council of Teachers of Japanese     Minnesota Orchestra     

NDSU-Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection     Twin Cities Aikido Center

UMN Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

University of North Dakota-Grand Forks     Winona State University Global Studies Dept.

Contact Us


P.O. Box 26639

Minneapolis, MN 55426

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