Japan remained closed to foreigners for centuries until Commodore Perry and his fleet of ships sailed into Tokyo Bay in 1853, opening the island to Western influence through international trade.

After World War II, the United States imposed a military government under the command of Douglas MacArthur.  During this time many institutional reforms were made including a decrease in the power of the emperor, numerous changes in the government, and a gradual move toward democracy.

Japan, an island chain with rugged and mountainous terrain, is located between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. About the size of California, the climate is similar to that of California, with tropical temperatures in the south and is cooler in the northern islands.  Japan is a densely populated country, with a majority of the population in or near the capital, Tokyo, on Honshu Island.

Education in Japan is more structured than that of the United States, and students must pass many qualifying exams. In Japan it is very important to excel academically.  Literacy is close to 100 percent, and 95 percent of the population has a high school education.  Japanese students study English from the age of 12 throughout their schooling.

The official language of Japan is Japanese. It is a very complex and subtle language which is spoken nowhere else in the world as a primary tongue. Most sentences in Japanese can be expressed on at least four different levels of politeness.  Eighty four percent of Japanese people are both Shintoists and Buddhists.

Japan has an emperor, and is governed by a prime minister and a cabinet, and the Diet which is composed of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors.

 

The history of our relationship with Takaoka

In 1975, Howard Chapman, Evelyn Blitz, La Donna Huntley, Gabriel DeLobbe, Donald Doxsee, Pat Parker, and Mary Ball Brant formed a committee, appointed by Mayor Ivan Lebamoff, to explore a sister city relationship as part of America’s Bi-Centennial Celebration in 1976. Howard Chapman chaired this first committee.

Don Doxsee, a member of the International Committee of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, received information that the city of Takaoka would be a good match for Fort Wayne.  The Committee worked through Sister Cities International, and in 1976 a small delegation from Takaoka visited Fort Wayne to explore the proposed alliance.  Also in 1976, Fort Wayne Mayor Robert Armstrong presented a resolution to the Fort Wayne City Council to recognize the relationship.  In 1977, Mayor Armstrong led a delegation of about 50 people to Takaoka for the signing of the agreement.  In 1978, Takaoka Mayor Kenji Hori led the first official delegation from Takaoka to Fort Wayne.

This sister alliance has led to many exchanges of government officials, teachers, students,  artists, and private citizens.  Significant developments have been the Takaoka Koshimae Scholarship Fund, endowed by a prominent citizen of Takaoka, and the Fort Wayne Chapman Exchange Fund, endowed by a charter member of Fort Wayne Sister Cities International.

Fort Wayne Bishop Luers High School and Takaoka Fushiki School have a sister-school relationship, as do Fort Wayne Carroll High School and Takaoka Kogei School, Fort Wayne Snider High School and Takaoka Commercial School, and North Side High School and Koryo High School.

Takaoka is governed by a mayor and a city council.

Information above was obtained from the following websites:
www.japantimes.co.jp
www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ja.html
travel.state.gov/japan.html