TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program

The 2016 Emerging Leaders at the 2016 Annual Conference in Silicon Valley



The U.S.-Japan Council’s TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) identifies, cultivates, and empowers a new generation of Japanese American leaders. Emerging Leaders participate in leadership education, design and implement original USJC programming, and develop powerful, lifelong personal and professional friendships. A new cohort of leaders aged 24-35 is selected annually to attend the Annual Conference, become USJC Associates, and join program alumni in bridging the future of the U.S.-Japan relationship.


2017 Emerging Leaders program

In 2017, twelve Japanese American young professionals will be selected to attend the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference and Members Meeting in Washington, DC. The Conference is a forward-thinking public event where leading professionals and members of the U.S.-Japan community convene to explore cutting-edge topics that provide opportunities for growth and cooperation between the United States and Japan. By providing access to senior leaders and education on relevant topics, the program aims to motivate participants to promote strong and positive U.S.-Japan relations in their personal and professional lives.

The TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program is currently in its eighth year. Past participants have created a vibrant alumni network deeply engaged with the work of the Council. Continued engagement following the Conference is expected.

Selected 2017 applicants will receive transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, and Conference registration. At the Conference they will become U.S.-Japan Council Associates with the first year's membership dues waived (membership is normally by invitation and nomination).

Click here to download the program flier.


Applications have been closed.



(Partial List)

The U.S.-Japan Council’s TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program is supported by the generous sponsorship of companies, foundations and individuals. 







Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye
Mr. Colbert Matsumoto
USJC ELP Class of 2015


The U.S.-Japan Council’s TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program is supported by the generous sponsorship of companies, foundations and individuals. If you would like to make a donation to the program, please contact Dana Fager, Development Coordinator, at or 202-223-6842.


We also thank the many generous donors who have contributed to the USJC U40 Summit hosted by ELP alumni.



Photos from prior classes are available here:

2016 Emerging Leaders at the 2016 Annual Conference

2015 Emerging Leaders at the 2015 Annual Conference

2014 Emerging Leaders at the 2014 Annual Conference

2013 Emerging Leaders at the 2013 Annual Conference

2012 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference & Annual Members Meeting

2011 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference

2010 Emerging Leaders at the 2010 Annual Conference




“Hands down, the most powerful conference I’ve ever attended…. I’ve never had the opportunity to be in a room full of such inspiring leaders and individuals.”

 - Yuri Hongo, ELP 2016


“I have organized numerous leadership programs in the past and participated in many more, but ELP was by far the most meaningful program I've ever been involved in…USJC provided us with the best available platform, tools and resources to effectively advance strong U.S.-Japan relations.”

- Russell Saito, ELP 2016


“As a new member of the U.S.-Japan Council through the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), I was surprised to instantly become immersed in an environment of respect, humility, ambition, honor and comfort. I should have been intimidated to meet and dine with such accomplished members and attendees of the USJC Annual Conference. Instead, I felt at ease thanks to their sense of camaraderie and openness. I was overwhelmingly humbled and proud to become part of such a unique and accomplished family.”

- Erika Ninoyu, ELP 2016




2016 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program

2015 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program

2014 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program

2013 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program