The Haijmari Project: US-Japan Sister Cities Origin Stories

Japanese Cherry BlossomsSister Cities International (SCI) is excited to announce the launch of The Haijmari Project: US-Japan Sister Cities Origin Stories. According to Japan’s Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), over the past 75 years there have been 400+ sister city relationships between the United States and Japan. Each partnership has its own unique story. Some are almost too remarkable to believe – friendships borne through a World War, recession, tsunami, pandemic, etc. Other partnerships began with a simple acquaintance or chance encounter with a curious foreigner. Regardless of how they formed, there is great power in capturing these inspiring stories of origin to show the power of citizen diplomacy for future generations.

SCI intends on compiling the most compelling and unique stories for a book. The book will be published in both English and Japanese, with the target completion date of Fall 2025 in coordination with the US-Japan Sister Cities Summit. The US and Japan will celebrate the 170th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2024, 185 years of people-to-peoples ties in 2026, and SCI will celebrate its 70th year in 2026. Goals of The Hajimari Project:
  1. Document these stories to show the impact SCI has had (and can have)
  2. Encourage US and Japanese Sister Cities to partner on telling their story together, helping them reconnect in the post-COVID world
  3. Advance the shared mission of SCI, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: cultivating people-to-people ties to foster mutual understanding and peace with other countries
Every US-Japan relationship on record will be asked to submit this online form with details of how they started their sister city relationship. The following information will be needed:
  • Names of Cities
  • Story/Specific Details (are there unique circumstances or connections through business, friendship, education, humanitarian, etc.?)
  • Important Dates
  • Key people involved
  • Pictures of the signing or key people
Questions? Please reach out to Kevin O’Donnell at [email protected]