Have you ever experienced that knowing any overseas' music or art broadened your interest in the country of origin? Such excitement when in contact with different culture or arts, overpasses the language barrier and creates our desire to know about others or deepen our understanding. The Japan Foundation introduces variety of Japanese culture to people in the world from art, music, theater, cinema up to fashion or design.
Introducing Japanese-language to overseas' people gives a big opportunity to enhance their familiarity or friendship to Japan. In order to let more people in the world to learn Japanese language, we have been improving the learning environment in each country by providing trainings to Japanese-language teachers, developping teaching materials, implementing Japanese-language proficiency test and so on.
When overseas' people want to know or learn about Japan, it would be very encouraging for them to have a Japanese expert nearby in their own countries. Through eyes of such expert, they can understand more about Japan. The Japan Foundation has been conducting symposiums or joint projects in order to deepen the dialogue among experts of each country in addition to support overseas’ researchers on Japan studies.
In the event of the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, which was held in Tokyo in December 2013, the Japanese government announced its new Asian cultural exchange policy to promote cultural exchanges with Asia mainly in ASEAN countries. It is called "WA (harmony-loop-circle) Project of Culture ～Make friends in Asia～". This project consists of two pillars which are bi-directional exchange of art and culture, and support to Japanese language learning. In order to carry out the project, the Japan Foundation established Asia Center as a new department unit in April 2014. Through this Asia Center, we will carry out various programs in order to promote and strengethen the cultural exchanges between Japan and other Asian countries towards year 2020 when Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic are scheduled to be held.