About Us

The United States – Japan Bridging Foundation (USJBF), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization created in 1998, was established at the recommendation of the Japan-US Friendship Commission, an independent federal agency.  Historically, few American students studied in Japan relative to other countries and the Commission sought to encourage more study abroad in Japan to increase understanding and cooperation between Japan and the US.  Today the USJBF works with the Commission to help create appropriate programs for US undergraduates in Japan; develop faculty and curriculum at US home campuses that will allow students to form a solid base for study both before and after studying in Japan; and gather and disseminate information necessary to inform students of opportunities for study abroad in Japan and actively recruit them to do so.

Three core activities comprise the USJBF’s global education mission: recruiting students interested in study abroad; funding scholarships for exchange students; and mentoring those students.  Scholarships made available through the USJBF help prepare America’s young people to assume leadership roles in all aspects of cultural, educational, trade, and security relations between Japan and the United States.  USJBF Scholars are exposed to Japanese policy, academics, and business opportunities.  This experience better equips them to deal effectively with Japanese counterparts and to positively influence public life in the US.   Through this cultural and educational involvement, students cultivate lifelong learning and are attuned to cultural differences that facilitate working with people from any part of the world.  Besides granting scholarships, we work with donors and other partners to provide a comprehensive program that leverages scholarships to benefit the students and donors alike.  Several corporate donors have created named scholars programs in which they specify the criteria of “their scholars.”  We encourage students and donors to engage with one another – peer-to-peer and student-to-donor – through events, volunteer activities, mentoring, post-college career recruitment, and leadership development.  Donors enjoy mentoring the students and directly seeing the impact of their donation.

A sixteen-member Board of Directors and staff of three operate the Foundation.  Corporations – primarily US and Japanese – comprise the majority of donors.  Additional funding comes from private foundations, individuals, and in-kind donations.

Collaboration with the American Association of Teachers of Japanese:

The USJBF collaborates with the Bridging Project Clearinghouse at the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (Clearinghouse) to carry out its activities. Through the Clearinghouse, the USJBF actively recruits students to study in Japan.  We solicit applications twice a year to study for either a full year or one semester at universities throughout Japan.  We receive at least six applications for every one awarded, demonstrating both strong interest in studying in Japan and demand for financial assistance, given the extremely high cost of traveling to and living in Japan.  Today we award approximately 100 scholarships annually at a total value of $350,000.