U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowships 2017, Japan

About the fellowship 

The Japan U.S. Friendship Commission offers leading contemporary and traditional artists from the United States the opportunity to spend three to five months in Japan through the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program.  Artists go as seekers, as cultural visionaries, and as living liaisons to the traditional and contemporary cultural life of Japan.  They also go as connectors who share knowledge and bring back knowledge. Their interaction with the Japanese public and the outlook they bring home provide exceptional opportunities to promote cultural understanding between the United States and Japan.

Since 1978, the Japan-US Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) have worked  with the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan and the International House of Japan (I-House) to organize the United States-Japan Creative Artists’ Program. Each year five leading U.S.-based artists, representing all genres, are selected from the United States and are provided funding to spend three months in Japan.

This residency program allows the artists to research and experience both the traditional and contemporary artistic milieu of Japan. Artists are free to live anywhere in the country to pursue activities of greatest relevance to their creative process. While many artists chose to remain in Tokyo, others live in Kyoto or other cities, and still others work in rural settings or travel around the countryside. The International House of Japan provides in-depth orientation materials, expert advice and professional contacts, as well as logistical support during the residency period.

The program, which remains a high priority for the Commission and the NEA, is highly competitive and attracts several hundred applications each year. Since 1978, 160 U.S. artists, representing a diverse range of disciplines, have been selected to travel to Japan for this residency.

Primary Eligibility

  • Candidates must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • Candidates must live and work professionally primarily in the United States.
  • Candidates must be professional creative artists (contemporary or traditional) working as: architects, choreographers, composers, creative writers, designers, media artists, playwrights, librettists, visual artists and solo theater artists who work with original material (including puppeteers, and performance artists).

The Program accepts applications in all disciplines including, but not limited to, Architecture or Design; Choreography; Music Composition; Filmmaking/Media Art; Folk/Traditional Art; Playwright/Theater Art; Visual Art; Writing; Multidisciplinary; and Other Disciplines.

Please note that this is a federal grant. All **grant recipients** must have a valid DUNS number (you will need to acquire a DUNS number prior to accepting Federal funds).

**Grant Applicants do not require a DUNS number at the time of submission**

Application Deadlines

There are two application deadlines for the 2017 program. The first is for the application coversheet. The fillable cover sheet PDF must be submitted, as an attachment to an email, to: JUSFC.creativeartist@arts.gov by February 1, 2017. The deadline for the narrative response questions, resume, letters of recommendation and work samples submission is February 15, 2017. Notification: by June 30, 2017.

If you submit your application cover sheet by midnight ET, you will receive your NEA GO username and password on February 15th. You will have until February 19th to upload your materials and submit your letters of recommendation. Application cover sheets submitted after midnight ET on February 1, 2017 will not be considered. 

Application Guidance:

When answering the application questions, keep in mind that you will benefit from a focused description of your planned residency. Be as specific as possible in outlining why you wish to work in Japan at this time and how you can achieve your objectives in a three-month residency. If you have made preliminary contacts with Japanese counterparts, please include documentation that indicates their interest in your work.

We recognize that each artist's experience may prove to be profoundly different from what he or she anticipated as an applicant. However, applicants who demonstrate serious prior thought about how they plan to achieve their artistic goals in Japan have in the past proven to be the candidates most likely to benefit from the international experience. Successful residencies reflect a balance between expectations of accomplishing specific goals and being open to new processes and opportunities for collaboration.

Grant Award

  •   A grant award in the amount of up to $24,000 depending upon duration of the residency will be provided to each artist to cover housing, living, and professional expenses. Artists will be responsible for converting their dollar award into yen. Disbursement of the grant and financial responsibilities of the grantee will be outlined when awards are made.

  •   Up to $2,000 for round-trip transportation will also be provided.

    Because of the limited number of awards, artists supported as a collaborative team will receive one award of $20,000 and a maximum of $2,000 for travel of the team. In addition, while artists may wish to apply for other grants concurrently with the application to this program, selected artists may not hold a second award for financial assistance during the period of support of the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program.

Review Criteria and Selection Process

The U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program is extremely competitive; only five artists are selected for travel to Japan. Applicants should anticipate a highly rigorous review of their artistry and should have compelling reasons for wanting to work in Japan. Their work must exemplify the best in US arts. Generally this means that only those artists who have demonstrated expertise and established professional recognition (e.g. awards, featured shows, publications, etc.) in their field either regionally or nationally or who have shown truly exceptional promise at the local level are likely to be competitive. Proficiency in the Japanese language is not required.

Applicants in 2017 must be able to begin their three to five-month residency within the period between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.

Applications are judged by the following review criteria

  •   The artistic excellence of the applicant's work and artistic merit of the proposed residency;
  •   The extent to which working in Japan is consistent with the applicant's artistic vision and would contribute to his or her artistry;
  •   The applicant's potential to contribute to increased cultural understanding and dialogue with Japanese artists and/or the Japanese public;
  •   The availability of resources in Japan that are necessary to the artist's proposed residency;

With the assistance of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission will convene a panel to review applications. The panel will include previous recipients of the U.S.- Japan Creative Artists Program award, as well as other arts professionals with expertise in Japanese culture.

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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