Japan Global Citizenship and Intercultural Communication Pilot Project

Program Overview

When you hear the word “Japan,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Anime? Sushi? Karate? You could imagine unlimited things regarding pop culture and tradition. But how much do you know about the U.S.-Japan relationship? Not too much, probably. Since WWII, the U.S. has had a big influence on Japan’s politics, economy, culture and history. Taking a look at what’s happening in Japan is a great way to learn about American society and how we influence other countries. Visit Japan, and you will find a mirror that reflects our community’s issues. 

In this program, you will meet new friends in Japan – aspiring journalists and communication scholars. Together with them, you’ll visit Okinawa, Fukushima and Tokyo for 10 days, meet and learn from locals, interview government officials, and explore the country’s beautiful places.

This program is lead by broadcast and digital journalism assistant professor Hanayo Oya.

Topics and Locations

During the field study, you will team up with the Japanese students and visit three of the most popular destinations in Japan–Okinawa, Fukushima, and Tokyo–which are also the best places to learn about U.S.-Japan relationships: 


The southernmost island of Japan and home to the indigenous Ryukyu people, Okinawa is Japan’s popular resort destination. Nearly 70% of the landmass of the U.S. military bases in Japan is concentrated on the islands. You will visit U.S. military bases to examine the role of the U.S.-Japan security alliance. You will also visit local communities outside the bases and learn how governmental policies have impacted indigenous communities over the decades. 


You will observe the recovery process of Fukushima twelve years after the great earthquake and tsunami hit the Tōhoku region. Over 450,000 people were left homeless, and more than 15,500 people died in the disaster. Study the impact of Japan’s nuclear energy policy on marginalized populations in Fukushima as well as its national and global contexts. Local students and reporters from the local area will meet you there. 


Welcome to one of the world’s most exciting cities! While immersing yourself in fun pop culture, you will explore critical issues that are familiar to American society, such as socioeconomic disparity, aging, and press freedom. Learn about press freedom issues by interviewing international journalists at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. To learn about the U.S.-Japan alliance, we may also visit U.S. military bases in the Tokyo area, such as Yokosuka and Tachikawa.

Expectations and Deliverables

As part of the field program, you are expected to deliver work on the topic and method of your choice. For instance, if you are studying documentary production, you will create a short documentary on a topic of your choice. Bottom line: you must present your “work” in a way that will be understandable to the general public — uninformed individuals.

Online Program (April-May)

To prepare for the field program, you must participate in and complete the online program (April-May). With this online program, you can meet your new friends in Japan who will accompany you on the field trip. You will discuss, analyze, and develop your knowledge vital to the field program regarding US-Japanese relations. Immigration, technology, communication, defense policy, social inequality, women’s political participation, and press freedom are some of the topics covered. Learn directly from experts and scholars working on these issues and get ready for the field program.

The online course will be delivered in English. Your new friends are not native English speakers–this is an excellent chance for you to develop your intercultural English communication skills!

Online Final Presentation

The program provides you with an opportunity to share what you have learned. For the presentation, you will have 2-3 weeks to prepare.

Tentative Schedule and Budget:

Application and Questions

Ten Newhouse students will be selected

Email to Prof. Hanayo Oya (BDJ) along with your CV: hoya01@syr.edu

In the title, please write: Japan program application (YOUR NAME)

For more information email Oya with the subject: Japan program inquiry (YOUR NAME)


This program is a joint project of the Global Reporting Education Program (GREP), a winner of the 2022 Fulbright Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund, the U.S. Department of State (Principal Investigator: Hanayo Oya). The Japan Program and the GREP share a common goal: develop future leaders of international/intercultural communication who can foster global citizenship and facilitate international collaboration to solve global issues.