Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 4/18/2022

U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program

The Japan U.S. Friendship Commission offers up to five leading contemporary and traditional artists from the United States an opportunity to spend three to five months in Japan through the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program.  Cultural understanding is at the heart of this program.  Artists participate as seekers, as cultural visionaries, and as living liaisons to the traditional and contemporary cultural life of Japan.  They also serve as connectors who share knowledge and bring back knowledge. Their interaction with the Japanese public and the outlook they bring home provide exceptional opportunities to promote cultural understanding between the United States and Japan. The Japan U.S. Friendship Commission funds this program with administrative assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Artists should have compelling reasons for their residency in Japan, and they should conduct preliminary research to identify contacts there.  The Commission encourages artists to consider collaboration with Japanese colleagues, as appropriate for the artistic field, and artists are free to interact with artists anywhere in the country. While many selected Fellows choose to remain in Tokyo, others have undertaken their residencies in other parts of Japan, urban as well as rural. Upon their arrival in Tokyo, artists will be predominantly on their own during the three to five month residency period; however, the International House of Japan provides in-depth orientation materials, expert advice and professional contacts, as well as some logistical support during the residency period.

For artists applying as a team, and intending to travel to Japan as a team, the application must include the name of all team members who will be traveling to Japan.

There are always two application deadlines for the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship. The first is for the application cover sheet. The cover sheet must be submitted as an attachment to an email, to JUSFC.creativeartist[at]arts[dot]gov by 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2021. The deadline for the narrative response questions, resume, letters of recommendation and work samples submission is 11:59 p.m. March 29, 2021. If you are selected to participate in the program, you will receive a phone call from the NEA during the first two weeks of July.


In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting travel restrictions, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are pausing the application process for the 2021-2022 U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Program until further notice. JUSFC and NEA prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our grantees, and stakeholders. We will continue to review safety and operational constraints on our programs, and make an informed decision on when the application process for the U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program should resume.


Eligibility Requirements
  • Candidates must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, who are primarily residing and working in the United States.
  • Candidates must live and work professionally primarily in the United States.
  • Candidates must be professional creative artists (contemporary or traditional) working as: architects, choreographers, composers, creative writers, designers, media artists, playwrights, librettists, visual artists and solo theater artists who work with original material (including puppeteers, and performance artists). Artists who create original work in a multidisciplinary form are also eligible. (Filmmakers who wish to travel to Japan to complete a film related to Japan should consult with the JUSFC staff to determine eligibility for other Commission grant support.)
  • There are additional eligibility requirements for librettists, playwrights, and creative writers (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry) outlined below.
    • Librettists and playwrights must have had a full-length work professionally produced and/or published in the United States at least once in the last five years.
  • Creative writer applicants must meet specific publishing requirements. Self-published work will not satisfy this eligibility requirement.  In the last 10 years writers must have published at least one of the following:
  • Twenty poems in five or more literary journals
  • Five different short stories or essays (of creative non-fiction) in two or more literary journals, anthologies, or publications
  • A book of poems of more than 48 pages
  • A novel or a novella
  • A book of creative non-fiction
Amount Description

Selected artists (Fellows) will each receive a grant award of $20,000 for a minimum of three months with $4,000 for each additional month up to five months to cover housing, living, and professional expenses.

Funding Type