Kakehashi Friendship Ties Program

At the generous invitation of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Dean Jorge Gonzalez & Associate Professor Motoko Ezaki led a delegation of students to Japan December 14-22, 2015.

Participants joined the Kakehashi program, a people-to-people exchange between Japan and North America designed and implemented by Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE). The students also presented their observation on March 28, 2016 at the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs Atrium.


Kakehashi Delegates Profiles

First Name Last Name Current Class   First Name Last Name Current Class
Jessica Berry  FR    Michael Ozaki  FR 
Chelsea Blankenchip  JR    Ricardo Parada  SO 
Charlotte Cullip  FR    Anthony Quach  SR 
Kira Elliott  FR    Amber Roman  FR 
Kelly Fitzgerald  SO    Audrey Shawley  SO 
Reed Foster  SO    Timothy Valero  SO 
Mayra Gonzalez  JR    Benjamin Veatch  SO 
Danica Gressel  SO    Benjamin Weiss  SR 
Emily Henderson  JR    Kailee Whitten SO
Anise Marshall  SR    Olivia Wilk  FR 
Marjorie Morales  JR    Rose Yasukochi  SO 
Natalie Myers  SO         



  • Promote mutual trust and understanding among the people of Japan and the USA to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation.
  • Facilitate a global understanding of Japan’s society, history, diverse culture politics and foreign policy.
  • Share the experience and motivate others through social media and Occidental's Global Crossroads, student news paper, KOxy, etc.


  • JICE pays for: Round trip international air tickets from/ to USA to/ from Japan by Economy Class, overseas travel insurance, accommodation in Japan, meals in Japan and transportation in Japan are arranged by JICE.
  • Participants pay for: personal expenses, (passport, vaccination), excess baggage charges,  travel expenses between Los Angeles and their home upon completion of the program, any meals or lodging upon completion of the program.

In-country program

 A sample itinerary is included in the JICE Applicant Guidelines.

  • US participants visiting Japan will be guests of the Japanese Government. The program is designed and implemented by Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), not Occidental College.
  • Attend lectures about Japanese society / history / politics and Japan’s foreign policy to enhance understanding of Japan.
  • Visit educational institutions, high-tech and traditional industries, World Heritage sites, provincial governments and have events, such as workshops, exchange of views with people of those places and so on.
  • Participate in activities that provide traditional/cultural experiences.
  • Promote Japan and document the experience through social media

Pre-travel program

Selected participants must attend 3-4 mandatory pre-departure meetings. Failure to attend and complete assigned projects will result in removal from the delegation.

Post-travel program

The Embassy of Japan and Consulates General in the USA will follow-up participants’ activities in order to analyze and heighten the effect of the Project.   Each participant is required to submit answers to the questionnaires that will be sent them by internet after returning to USA, one after 2months and the other 1 year later.

In addition, participants are expected to share their findings and experiences with family, friends, schools and communities by delivering presentations, disseminating information on Japan’s attractions through the media or other communication devices. They may also report their post-program activities and continue exchanging opinions and information with Japanese people through online community sites of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)* of Japan and JICE. (Details of the community site of JICE will be announced after arrival to Japan) https://www.facebook.com/youthexchange.mofa


Occidental criteria:

Priority will be given to participants with demonstrated interest in Japan & financial need. Applicants may neither be on academic or disciplinary probation nor under investigation for violations which may result in probation between application and departure. First-year through Seniors may apply.

Japanese government criteria: Applicant Guidelines are linked here.

(a) Applicants must understand and agree to the aims of this program.

(b) Applicants must have U.S. nationality or permanent residency in the USA.

(c) Applicants must be in good health condition.

(d) Applicants may not have already visited Japan through any invitation program organized by Japanese Government.