The Center understands the importance of empowering our youth to play an active role in preserving culture while celebrating community. We are committed to offering an array of programs for middle school, high school and college students to support their growth and encourage interest in community service, Japanese culture and history.

U.S.-Japan Youth Cultural Exchange Programs with Japan (2022-23)

The Center has been providing youth cultural exchange opportunities between the United States (U.S.) and Japan since 1997, through the Shinzen Nikkei Youth Goodwill Program (Shinzen Program) and the Takahashi Youth Ambassador Fellowship Program (Takahashi Program).

This year, we hope to resume these programs with travel to Japan in the Spring and Summer of 2023, if there is interest.

Please take this survey and share it with others, so the Center can gauge interest and plan for cultural exchange programs with Japan for 2022-23. We would appreciate BOTH parents and youth completing the survey. We will need a good response to move forward with the program.


Take our interest survey CLICK HERE.


Kase Nikkei Community Scholarship Program - $5,000 Educational Scholarships

The Kase Nikkei Community Scholarship Program (Kase Program) was developed to provide financial support for youth who are pursuing their college education and an opportunity to obtain work experience supporting a Japanese American community nonprofit organization. Their participation in an eleven-week community and career development internship program at the Center will increase their understanding of contemporary social, cultural, civic and preservation issues affecting our community; allow them to gain valuable skills in a professional environment, and work on projects tailored for their personal and professional growth.

Download info and application:
Kase Scholarship Program Application_2022

Kase Nikkei Community Scholarship Program Additional Information for 2022

Program dates and details: 
Summer Internship: June 13-August 19, 2022 (full-time and some weekend dates)
In-person internship to take place at the Center/JCCCNC. 
Number of participants: Up to Four (4) Students
Eligible participants: Must be 18 yrs old at the start of the program AND has recently graduated or will be continuing college in the Fall


  • Eleven-week summer internship at the Center with a personalized intern work plan and mentoring by an experienced supervisor.
  • Career development workshops by trained professionals.
  • Weekly meetings to develop leadership skills and to meet with community leaders to discuss issues that are affecting local Japantown communities.
  • Two statewide retreats to work with peers in other regions and discuss issues facing the Japanese American community, including preservation, communications and leadership.
  • A $5,000 educational scholarship for each student.

Applications are due May 8, 2022

Download: Kase Scholarship Program Application_2022

For more information, please contact Lori Matoba at (415) 567-5505 or by email.

About G. Kase 
G. Kase was a strong supporter of the Center and considered the JCCCNC as a second home in the community. G. Kase believed that supporting the leadership development of Japanese American youth is vital to the future of our community, helping to preserve its rich history, heritage and traditions for generations to come. This Scholarship Fund has been the wish of the Kase family to provide financial support and an opportunity to go to college for those who might not have had the ability to do so otherwise. 

Takahashi Youth Ambassador Fellowship Program

The Takahashi Youth Ambassador Fellowship Program (Takahashi Program / TYAFP) was created as a dynamic youth exchange program between the United States and Japan. The significance of a first-hand cultural experience is invaluable in helping a young person in the Japanese American community define his or her own identity and establish a greater connection to their sometimes seemingly distant heritage, as well as encourage continued interest in Japan, its people, culture and history. More info

Click here to learn about the 2014-15 Takahashi Program and Fellows.

Shinzen 2007 - Kobe

Shinzen USA Nikkei Youth Goodwill Program

Shinzen in Japanese means international goodwill or amity. This cross-cultural exchange program promotes the values of fair play and competition while fostering ties between the Japanese and Japanese American communities.

The Shinzen Nikkei Youth Goodwill Program has been able to provide unique opportunities for not only the exchange of friendly competition but also for building a foundation for the exchange of ideas and important values of our young people today, ensuring a strong future for our U.S.-Japan relations.

Learn more (click link): Shinzen Program.

Nikkei Community Internship

The Center is one of the community based organizations that participate in the Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program offered by the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council (CJACLC), Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC) in Northern California and Kizuna in Southern California.

The NCI Program is an eight-week summer (June-August) community involvement and leadership development program for Nikkei college students in California which is critical to the development of future leaders of the Japanese American community.


Nikkei Youth Cultural Heritage Program

The Nikkei Youth Cultural Heritage Program, in cooperation with the Kobe YMCA Language Program (Hyogo Prefecture, Japan) is designed for participants to gain a better understanding of their cultural heritage and discover Japan in a unique and exciting way. This one-month summer Program will allow participants to immerse themselves in Japanese culture through weekday Japanese language and writing classes; introductory classes in traditional Japanese art forms; late afternoon and Saturday excursions exploring different parts of the Kansai region; all while having the opportunity to use and practice their Japanese language skills on a daily basis with their homestay family.

For more information on the Nikkei Youth Cultural Heritage Program, please call (415) 567-5505 or email Programs.