Each year, the Japan-America Student conference aims to bring its delegates to multiple locations in order to experience a diverse range of cultures and history while also stimulating discussion, critical thinking, and the production of original work. This year, JASC76 will visit Los Angeles, New Orleans and Washington D.C. Throughout the conferences, delegates will work towards creating a presentation for the Final Forum at the final site. Each Roundtable’s presentation and work for each forum will be informed both by their experiences in JASC as a whole but also specifically each site itself and the programming they attend while there.
The City of the Angeles, founded by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s, continued to grow over the intervening centuries into the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Los Angeles has become a center of trade and manufacturing, and is most notably known as the “creative capital of the world,” with one of every six residents working as creatives and Hollywood being famous for its film industry. Although being arguably the most diverse city in the United States, Los Angeles still struggles with its complicated history and many social issues.
At this site, delegates will explore the urban sprawl of Los Angeles and its multitude of diverse neighborhoods, including Little Tokyo, the memory of Japanese immigration to the United States. They will experience how various groups from all around the world have found community with one another and will be able to contrast the ultra-rich celebrity culture with the resolute working class, seeing how art and creative expression can come from anywhere and anyone.
A completely unique city, owing to its French and Creole influences, New Orleans is world-renowned for its distinctive culture in all aspects of the word: music, food, architecture, and dialects, are just a few of many. Emerging from the tragedy wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is also a city of return and new beginnings while still trying to retain the rich cultural tapestry inherited from the past.
This cross-cultural and multilingual city will allow delegates to immerse themselves in an environment that is most likely new to everyone, learning how to navigate and adapt to unfamiliar situations. New Orleans is an opportunity to learn how numerous different cultures influence each other, coalescing to form something completely singular and unique. Delegates will also analyze how policy decisions affect people and their culture and how, in turn, decision-makers need to earn the trust of those people in the wake of disaster.
The capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. houses the necessary legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. In addition to these, D.C. acts as a repository for America’s knowledge, with both the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress calling the city their home. D.C. also plays a major role on the world stage, being a center for nonprofit organizations conducting research and formulating policy and embassies promoting communication and understanding between the countries of the world.
Here, delegates will think and discuss about Japan-America relations specifically and also the place of both nations in the wider world. Delegates will have the chance to examine policy theoretically and its actual implications in reality. In the Final Forum, delegates will create a presentation that not only reflects the JASC they experienced, both academic in programming and personally in life with the other delegates but also expresses their hopes and contributions to the future whether on a local, community scale or on the world stage. At the end of the conference, they will contemplate what it means to be a leader and a citizen of the world, finally reflecting on their time in JASC and preparing for a return to their normal lives, transformed by their once-in-a-lifetime experience.