Learn More About Our Program

There are two plaques commemorating the Sister City relationship between Kumamoto in Japan and San Antonio, Texas. These two plaques are located at the Kumamoto Garden at the SA Botanical Center.

Transform your knowledge of the world and of yourself through a summer exchange program to Japan!

Purpose: The scholarship is designed to foster broader world vision, leadership skills and to develop committed, long-term stakeholders in the community’s relationship with Japan started by the late Mrs. Naoko Shirane over 30 years ago. This program introduces students to the Japanese people, their history, culture and the industries impacting our community. The 14-day educational and cultural program acquaints 8 to 10 high school juniors with Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and sister city Kumamoto, plus 6 days of homestay with families in Omura City in conjunction with partner World Campus International.

The scholarship covers round trip airfare, ground transportation, lodging, food and entrance fees while in Japan. Following the tour, the Foundation provides letters of recommendation to accompany students’ college applications. The Foundation and San Antonio Education Partnership convene a seminar on scholarships and financial aid. Students are expected to promote the program during senior year and attend Japan America Society San Antonio events. All applicants must currently be a US citizen, and a junior in a high school located within Bexar County, Texas who expects to enter senior year in the fall of 2020. Each student is responsible for purchasing a valid US passport, travel insurance (approximately $60.00), a small gift for host families and any additional personal spending money while in Japan. The dress code and luggage requirements are detailed at the end of the application.


  • Personal Essay
  • Letter of Recommendation from Guidance Counselor, Teacher, Administrator, and one non-relative.
  • Character – courteous, mature, flexible
  • Interested in submersion experience in Japan: experiencing Japanese food, ceremonies, language, travel, homestay and working for the success of the group
  • Willingness to prepare using rigorous reading materials on Japanese history, economy, trade, and culture provided t0 the students, and attendance at orientation meetings.
  • Upon return to San Antonio: Be a willing exchange
    representative, speaking to groups of interested families and students, and interface with visiting Japanese student when in San Antonio.
  • Upon return, write a one-page article on your experience to be published on the Shirane Foundation website, school papers, and newspapers.

January: Call for applications. January 15, Deadline

January 2020 Announcement of Scholarship Recipients

2020 Overview of the Trip:

(some changes in the order of city visits may take place)

  • June 14 – Depart San Antonio
  • June 15 – Arrive Tokyo. Students begin work on video of Japan tour.
  • June 16 – Visit Keimei Gakuen High School, Tomb of Mrs. Shirane, Foundation namesake; tourism
  • June 17 – Meeting with Toyota Corporate Executives, Experience Toyota’s MEGA WEB concept cars; ride bullet train to Nagoya City to visit Toyota Memorial Museum.
  • June 18 – Cultural tours of Kyoto and Nara
  • June 19 – Fukuoka City, Tour Lexus Kyushu Plant, and tourism in Fukuoka City
  • June 20 – Day trip of Kumamoto Sister City, tour of Kumamoto Castle area, Suizenji Gardens, shopping. Evening in Nagasaki to prepare for World Campus International Week. Students present Video Draft.
  • June 21 – Omura City, Kyushu Homestay Experience begins.
  • June 22 – Homestay, cultural, educational programs
  • June 23 – Homestay, cultural, educational programs
  • June 24 – Homestay, cultural, educational programs
  • June 25 – Homestay, cultural, educational programs
  • June 18 – Homestay, Peace Study in Nagasaki, ‘Arigato (thank you) Event’ for families.
  • June 27 – World Campus International Program concludes. Travel to Tokyo – San Francisco – San Antonio

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Naoko Mitsui Shirane Foundation

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Donation Total: $100 One Time