The Kakehashi Project is a government-funded grassroots exchange program that brings groups of Americans to Japan for engaging, focused and customized experiences. After candidates are identified by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the selected group participates in a seven- to ten-day trip depending on the group’s interest where they meet and learn directly from Japanese counterparts. 

Jonathan Lomas, majoring in management and minoring in Japanese at UNG, was selected for the Kakehashi Project as one of 30 university students from the U.S. and Canada who won a Japanese speech contest. The group visited Japan in February 2023 and participated in a series of activities promoting their understanding of Japan with regard to Japanese politics, economy, society, culture, history, and foreign policy.  

“The Kakehashi Project was an unforgettable experience for me. It showed me a lot of new things and gave me various experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have – seeing the Buddha statue, going to Hase Temple, JoJo World, etc. It was also incredible to be able to be in the prime minister’s office. To me though, the most impactful thing about the Kakehashi Project was the people I interacted with through it. I quickly became friends with my new groupmates, and my favorite part of the program was without a doubt the time we spent with the students at Kanagawa University. The moment I met them I knew we would be friends for a long time. I encourage anybody who has a chance to study abroad to do so. The experience is literally life changing.” 

Jonathan won the first prize in the category two at the annual Japanese Speech Contest in Atlanta in 2020. See the recognition page of the Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese:–recognition/speech-contest-and-academic-challenge-winners-2020.


See the government’s online article on their visit: