Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Faidra Papavasiliou

Second Advisor

Dr. Emanuela Guano

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Black


This thesis is an examination of the John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE) and its sole undertaking the annual Japan-America Grassroots Summit. The CIE’s goal is to foster greater mutual understanding between Japanese and American citizens through what it terms grassroots exchange. To achieve this, the CIE aids in organizing a weeklong cultural exchange program held alternately in the United States and Japan complete with a three-night homestay. As a participant-observer in the 25th Annual Grassroots Summit held in Japan, I address the underlying influences shaping this cultural exchange program and limits to achieving its goals. I also address how the summit’s structure and use of historical narratives affects the experiences of Americans who attend the summit when it is held in Japan.