The activities of the center consist of five pillars:
There are a variety of books on Japan featuring topics such as politics, history, folklore, geography, literature, art, and pop culture. Videos related to Japanese culture play in our museum area for visitors to enjoy.
Kimonos, folk crafts, folk art toys, crafts, etc. are permanently exhibited to introduce Japanese life culture. In addition, our "Cool Japan" section features common items found within Japanese pop culture.
We hold events such as hinamatsuri, or "Doll Festival," and bunka no hi, or "Culture Day." We also coordinate additional cultural events with schools and Japanese culture clubs associated with the surrounding universities. Occasionally, our students will perform a tea ceremony demonstration in our authentic Japanese tea room for visiting groups with reservations.
A corner of our museum is dedicated to Nishinomiya City in Hyogo Prefecture, which is a sister city of Spokane City and home to our university in Japan. There are books on display, photos, and special products that introduced Nishinomiya. A model of the shrine donated by the Nishinomiya Rotary Club and goods of the Hanshin Tigers, the local baseball team, is also on display.
This program was started by Dr. Sidney Gulick in 1927 after witnessing the deteriorating relationship between Japan and the United States. Dolls were exchanged between the two countries as a sign of goodwill and to promote understanding and peace. In the spirit of this original Friendship Doll program, Michiko Takaoda, former director of the Japanese Cultural Center, created a new Japanese Friendship Doll program at Mukogawa U.S. Campus in the early 1990s. Since then, over 1000 dolls have been given to various schools and organizations around the United States to promote cultural understanding.