International Center for Japanese Culture

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The International Center for Japanese Culture (日本芸術文化国際センター Nihon Geijutsu Bunka Kokusai Sentā), or ICJC is a non-profit institution promoting traditional and modern Japanese arts and culture. This institute is primarily designed to help students and adults explore and appreciate Japan’s rich and unique culture through music education, arts programs, special guest lectures, and live performances. ICJC is located on the campus of Yokohama International School in Yamate, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan. ICJC resides in a traditional-style Japanese house offering a performance/lecture space, a Japanese tearoom, a Japanese traditional music room, multi-purpose rooms, and an innovative multimedia resource facility.

YIS Curriculum Enhancement Programs

The center supports all curriculum programs and activities at Yokohama International School starting in the Early Learning Center through High School.

  • Early Learning Center

The center is guided by the Reggio Emilia academic philosophy where children creatively express themselves and learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing, ICJC programs serve to enhance this unique and child-centered curriculum with special hands-on learning experiences including Japanese printmaking, visual art and construction, drama, music, puppetry and shadow performance.

  • Primary Years Program (PYP)

Tying in directly to the IB (International Baccalaureate) student learner profile, ICJC faculty collaborate directly with YIS classroom teachers to enhance PYP beliefs and values in an eclectic array of Japanese traditional and modern arts-related classes. Students will find a new awareness of cultural values and traditions different from their own in living in the host country.

  • Middle Years Program (MYP)

Strengthening MYP’s three fundamental concepts of holistic learning, intercultural awareness and communication, ICJC’s distinctive arts programs reinforce middle school students’ broad and balanced educational needs. YIS students will have a clearer understanding and appreciation of Japanese cultural identities as well as their own.

  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP)

Diploma students in Grades 11 and 12 can directly interact with the center’s monthly guest lecturers in all fields of Japanese art and culture. Furthermore, a database of professionals in various disciplines and ICJC’s link with the community are invaluable resources for students exploring Extended Essay topics, Theory of Knowledge work and community service projects.

YIS Japanese Music Program

The driving force behind ICJC is the highly honored Yokohama International School Japanese Music Program. Established in 2003 by ICJC director Dr. Joseph Amato, it is the only English language-based primary/secondary curriculum for Japanese music education in the world. Focusing on a deeper understanding and appreciation of traditional Japanese music through education and performance, the Japanese Music Program seeks to reach a broader international audience for Japanese music through its activities in Japan and abroad.

ICJC Japanese Music Ensembles have been awarded prizes in several key national music competitions, while individual members have been honored with top solo awards. Ensembles have performed at concert halls, temples and other venues throughout Japan, with special performances at the Danish Embassy in Tokyo; the 150th Anniversary Yokohama Port Opening Festival; the Diwali Indian Festival; the International House of Japan (国際文化会館); various Tohoku Charity concerts and the TEDx Aoyama Conference. Overseas concert tours include Australia as part of the 2006 Year of Cultural Exchange, the United States in 2008, and China in 2010 as part of the 29th ISME (International Society for Music Education) World Conference and Germany in 2011.

The YIS Japanese Music Program has received funding to support its innovative curriculum and overseas tours from The Japan Foundation, Toshiba International Foundation, IBM Japan, Yokohama City, Minato Mirai 21 Area Management, International House of Japan (Tokyo) as well as funding from Subaru of America, The Noguchi Museum (New York) and Keio Academy of New York.

Evening Community School

ICJC’s professional artists and craftsmen share their expertise in small and intimate classes offering a vast array of tuition fee programs for high school students and adults including Japanese language, tea ceremony, calligraphy, Japanese dance, Japanese history, Japanese film, architecture, flower-arranging, kimono/clothing design, 13-string koto, shamisen, taiko and many more.

Friday Night Lecture Series

Regarded as one of Japan’s finest platforms for distinguished and engaging discussions, the ICJC Friday Night Lecture Series presents six evenings of lectures led by specialists in Japanese architecture, history, literature, music, visual arts and many more. The series offers the international community as well as Japanese audiences one-night presentations with the most relevant, engaged and original chroniclers of our present time. All lectures are free and held in the ICJC Lecture Hall (YIS Annex Building) or in the YIS auditorium beginning at 7 p.m.

Community Outreach Project

One of ICJC’s signature programs is the Community Outreach Project. Committed to sharing the beauty of Japanese music with a wider audience, Japanese music students at Yokohama International School perform in concerts and present workshops at senior centers, special needs schools for the blind and deaf, local Japanese schools, and area community centers. The main goals of ICJC’s Community Outreach Project are threefold:

  • To provide life-enhancing access to new social opportunities for children, youth and adults
  • To provide cross-cultural educational and musical experiences for both YIS students and collaborating community institutions
  • To enrich the local community with programs that develop cultural identity and enhance cultural heritage.

ICJC Board of Advisors

ICJC Board of Trustees

ICJC Membership Program

ICJC is a non-profit organization that relies on funding from a wide variety of sources including its membership program to provide quality educations and arts programs, concerts and community activities.

Yokohama International School

Yokohama International School is an independent, co-educational school for children ages 3-18. Established in 1924 as a pioneer in international education, the school offers a rich cultural mix, an exciting learning environment, and an excellent academic program. At the same time, it emphasizes students’ social and emotional development and offers an extensive range of co- and extra-curricular activities. Located in an historic district overlooking the Port of Yokohama, the school is easily accessible to residential and commercial areas of Yokohama and greater Tokyo. An IB World School, YIS is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


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