The Society organizes several programs that occur on a regular or semi-regular basis. The Society’s ongoing programs are created to fulfill the local need of promoting Japanese culture within the Nation’s Capitol area.

While these programs cover a wide range of subjects – from the history of Christianity in Japan to whiskey tastings – their shared goal is to introduce Americans to the many facets of Japanese culture that may not be as publicized within the mainstream media or popular culture.

Public Affairs / Policy Programs

Japan 360 – Japan 360 is a series of programs held throughout the year that take a look at Japan, as well as US-Japan relations, from every angle. These talks cover a wide range of topics, including economics and business, science and technology, society and social issues, domestic policies and current events, history, foreign affairs and national security, and traditional and popular culture. We encourage everyone to broaden their interests in Japan and attend one or two (or more!) parts of the Japan 360 series.

Some past topics have included:

  • Japan Matters: Why Japan Will Always be Important to America
  • Growing up Global: Third Culture Kids
  • The Japanese Tea Ceremony: Tea Life, Tea Mind
  • Japan’s Agri-Food Sector & the TPP
  • Buddhism in Japan

Social Programs 

Happy Hours – JASWDC holds happy hour/networking nights several times a year. Whether they are themed, such as our Tanabata Happy Hour held during the summer with yukata and kakigoori, or held in collaboration with other organizations such as the Japan Global Initiative (JGI) study abroad students, these events are designed to bring people with the same interests together to talk, mingle, and eat! The Society’s happy hours gather a wide range of people from different fields and backgrounds, but everyone has one thing in common: a connection to Japan.

Bonenkai – The Society’s Bonenkai, or year-end party, is held to celebrate the passing of the current and to welcome the upcoming one. Held in the JASWDC office, the annual bonenkai brings together both JASWDC members and non-members alike.

Sake/Shochu/Whiskey Events – The world of traditional Japanese alcohol is one that is highly complex in nature. The production of sake, shochu, and Japanese whiskey is a combined narrative of Japanese and American history, art, agriculture, and a never-ending quest for beauty even in the smallest things. JASWDC’s sake, shochu, and whiskey events are both educational and fun – whether it is a tasting, a sake vs. shochu “contest,” or any other kind of program, we are sure to satisfy your palate.

Karaoke Events – Occasionally JASWDC will sponsor karaoke events at local karaoke boxes (with Japanese songs!) in Washington DC as an opportunity to meet new people and bring friends out to have a good time. These evenings include food, drink, and song – but you have to come ready to sing!

Izakaya Pub Quiz – Traditionally held in collaboration with the JET Alumni Association of DC (JETAADC) every summer, the Izakaya Pub Quiz is a spin on the traditional trivia games held at bars.

J-Book Club

The J-Book Club meets monthly to discuss both fiction and non-fiction books that are related to Japan in some way. Whether the book is about Japan/the language/its customs, is set in Japan, or was written by a Japanese author, the club brings together those who wish to marry their two interests of Japan (or simply other cultures) and literature.

J-Book Club meets once a month on Mondays at the JASWDC office. Dates for the next few months can be found on the Upcoming Events page. For more information regarding the club, please contact former Amy Sherman at


Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization with more than 300,000 members in 126 countries, aimed at improving members’ public speaking and leadership skills.

Japanese-English Toastmasters (JEToastmasters) provides a supportive and encouraging forum for those who want to take their personal and professional development to the next level. Members give speeches and evaluations in English, Japanese, or both languages. All levels of Japanese and English language learners are welcome!

JEToastmasters meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month at the JASWDC office. For more information, please contact Mark Lekowski at

Community Partnerships and Other Programs

As a Washington, DC-based organization, JASWDC works with several other local groups to help foster Japan-related programming in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Over the years, we have partnered with several other organizations to assist them with our own resources and abilities. Many of these programs happen annually:

  • Obon Festival at Ekoji Buddhist Temple
  • Fiesta Asia Street Fair in downtown Washington, DC
  • Otsukimi Moon Viewing with the U.S. National Arboretum
  • Tanabata Festival with the Hillwood Museum Gardens & Estate

JASWDC also hosts other public affairs/policy, social, and cultural programs throughout the year that may not be listed here. We hold many of these programs with other Washington, DC institutions, such as:

  • The Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC) and the Embassy of Japan
  • The DC Mayor’s Office on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA)
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Freer | Sackler Art Galleries
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • The George Washington University Luther W. Brady Art Gallery

Simply put, the Society is an organization that is always doing something – and not necessarily the same things. Our list of upcoming programs is ever-changing, and we strive to create events that are both educational and enjoyable.

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