Recent & Upcoming Activities

  • Submit a Request for our Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator: ​Interested in holding a presentation or cultural workshop about Japan at your school, organization, or business? Perhaps you'd like some assistance with receiving a delegation from Japan? Alex Akiyama, or Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Coordinator, is available to help with all of that and more.Get started by filling out our new JOI Coordinator Request Form. If you have questions, take a look at our brochure or send Alex an email.
  • Iowa Student Studying In Yamanashi For Kofu Japan Scholarship: ​In January 2016 DMACC student Kate Shaw was chosen to be a citizen diplomat between Yamanashi and Iowa.  While in Japan Kate will study Japanese law and nursing at the Yamanashi Prefectural University in Kofu. Kate will be documenting her trip in her blog seen here We wish Kate the best of luck and look forward to hearing about her trip!
  • Yamanshi College Program: Iowa Sister States partnered with the University of Iowa and the University of Yamanashi to offer a job shadow experience for U of Yamanashi students for this March 10-18, 2017! There will be 12 students total and we are currently looking for Home Hosts for the 8 boy students! The students will take part in a job shadow during the weekdays and have the nights and weekend to spend with their host families. If you have any questions or are interested in hosting please contact Alex Akiyama at
  • The Yamanashi Prefecture has recently released a tourism video advertising their culture, cuisine, and iconic places.  Click here to watch the full video!
  • 2015-2016 Scholarship Recipients

                     - Scholarship to Iowa: Each year Yamanashi sends a scholar to study at DMACC in Des Moines.                            This year's recipient is Yuka Takasu. Yuka will be studying at DMACC from for the Fall semester.                             Yuka is interested in a career in AgriTourism and International Studies. After her semester at                                   DMACC Yuka will intern at Iowa Sister States. 

                      - Scholarship to Yamanashi : Each Year ISS sends an Iowan scholar to study at Yamanashi                                     Prefectural University to do graduate level classwork and to work on a research project. This                                   year's recipient is Kate Shaw. Kate arrived in Yamanashi on June 2016. She currently taking                                    classes classes throughout the year along with working on her research paper. You can follow 

​                        Kate's experience at



In 1959, a typhoon devastated Yamanashi Prefecture. In response, Iowa sent 35 breeding hogs and 100,000 bushels of corn to help with the recovery - an event that is famously known today as the 'Iowa Hog Lift.' Yamanashi and Iowa would become Sister States in 1961 by a formal agreement, signed between Governor Norman Erbe of Iowa and Governor Hisashi Amano of Yamanashi. This agreement marked Iowa's very first Sister State relationship.

In 2014, Iowans provided immense support to the citizens of Yamanashi when their agriculture sector was devastated by severe winter weather. Click below to learn more about the Yamanashi Relief Fund, which was coordinated by ISS:




In the News



Meet the Leadership

Chuck Safris, Chair

Chuck Safris has served on the Yamanashi Committee in various positions over the last 15 years. Chuck grew up in Des Moines, graduated from Roosevelt and attended Iowa State University. He graduated in 1963 and went on to the US Air Force.  Chuck served in Vietnam and left the service 7 years later. Chuck then returned to Des Moines and worked at Iowa Power and LIght Co. (Midamerican Energy) in Management.  He retired as assistant VP of Telecommunications and Data Services. Chuck is interested in natural science including fossils and minerals.  He enjoys canoeing, camping and bicycle riding and serves on several other community volunteer committees, including Living History Farms.

Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan