Pre-College Education

Pre-College Education

The United States-Japan Foundation supports innovative education projects that help young Americans and Japanese learn about each other’s society, culture, and country as well as learn to work together on issues of common concern. The Foundation focuses on K-12 education and throughout its history has been at the forefront of supporting teacher professional development projects that train US teachers to teach about Japan and Japanese teachers to teach about the United States. In addition, the Foundation funds projects that work directly with students, that develop top quality curriculum materials on America or Japan for educational audiences in the other country, that connect schools and classrooms in the US and Japan, and that develop and improve instruction in Japanese language.

The Foundation seeks to respond to needs at the pre-college level as identified by experts in US-Japan education and practitioners in the field. We are open to diverse methodologies for engaging teachers and students in the study of Japan and the United States that range from history, art, and music to science and society (please see our recent grants section for examples of projects we have funded). The Foundation also proactively leads efforts to develop educational programs and projects when a significant need is discerned.

USJF seeks to support programs that:

  • Build human networks among teachers on both sides of the Pacific with a mutual interest in teaching and learning about Japan, the US, and US-Japan relations, particularly in the fields of social studies, science, and Japanese language instruction (support for language instruction is currently limited to Japanese-language programs in the United States)
  • Invest in programs in regions in both countries that have been underserved in terms of exposure to and resources for learning about the other country
  • Take advantage of new technology to bring Japanese and American teachers and students together
  • Enlist the expertise residing at institutions of higher learning and other NGOs in support of US-Japan studies programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels in both countries
  • Present the products of research and policy studies and media programs on US-Japan issues to an audience of pre-college students and their teachers, with the aim of fostering mutual learning and understanding among the young people who will be the future leaders in both countries, forced to come to terms with making policy and responding to the changing nature of the US-Japan relationship
  • Enhance, expand and preserve the study of the Japanese language at the pre-college level in the United States through teacher professional development opportunities, national standards, and performance assessments
  • Develop curricula and other products focused on Japan and/or the United States that area immediately relevant to and useful in meeting the demands faced by teachers at the pre-college level
  • Continue to support and enhance the US-Japan knowledge of the vast network of teachers and students who have been exposed to US-Japan studies over the years through USJF-sponsored programs

Proposed projects should seek to incorporate one or more of these elements in a way that is particularly suited to the need(s) in pre-college education they seek to address. That said, the above guidelines should not be seen as a deterrent to innovative new proposals and concepts. Applicants are encouraged to contact the staff of the Foundation early on in the proposal development process for feedback and guidance.

For a description of the application process, please click here.

Comments and questions regarding the guidelines are encouraged.

For more information regarding the Pre-college Education Grant Programs at the United States-Japan Foundation, please contact or via phone at (212) 481-8753.

Funding Programs

Pre-College Education Testmonials“The US-JF has helped the AmerAsian School since its establishment when it was small, unstable and unknown. Their endorsements had a positive message, “Each of your challenges has a purpose; keep on moving forward.” Those words have always empowered the students, parents and faculty.”

Naomi Noiri
Chair of the Board
AmerAsia School in Okinawa

Pre-College Education Testmonials“Thanks to USJF support, geography teachers in the United States and Japan now have access to a collection of classroom resources based on the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters of March 2011.”

Michael N. Solem, PhD
Educational Affairs Director
Association of American Geographers