Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI)

What is JOI?

Delta State University offers Mississippi communities on-site workshop opportunities and presentations to learn Japanese culture as one of the host sites of JOI program from 2022 to 2024. The Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Program aims to promote awareness and understanding of Japan by bringing volunteer Japanese coordinators to regions of the U.S. where Japanese culture has been less accessible. Coordinators are hosted by U.S. nonprofits and educational institutions with a strong commitment to promoting Japanese culture.

I will be there!

Invitations from organizations interested in learning about Japan are always welcome. (e.g.) Schools, Museums, Libraries, Nursing homes, Child care centers, Cultural & Seasonal events.

Downloadable Brochure


You can check event and activity schedules and reports on our Instagram.

Mizuki Umebara

Program Coordinator

Mizuki Umebara was born in Kochi Prefecture, which faces the Pacific Ocean and is known for its beautiful and dynamic natural scenery as well as unique local cultural events such as the Yosakoi dance festival in the summer.

Having grown up in such an environment, she has always been interested in enhancing human welfare and learning about culture. Her curiosity crosses  borders and has brought her to travel and live in more than 10 countries.  She believes that learning about new cultures and developing an appreciation of different cultural values enriches people’s lives. With this mindset, she is eager to convey her knowledge of and passion for Japanese culture through hands-on activities, while at the same time learning about American culture from the local community.

Japan-related events and activities

Below are only examples of activities offered through the Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) program.
For available activities, please contact the program coordinator.

Creative Activity

It is always fun to make something. Expressing your creativity through hands-on activities can be a gateway to learning about and understanding a culture.



Japanese food cooking

Furoshiki: Cloth-wrapping

Japan Club at DSU (open to the general public)

This is a regular meeting for anyone who is interested in Japan. There is a different topic and activity in each meeting. For the latest schedule, please check the Instagram.

Japan Club at DSU

Seasonal & regional festivals in Japan

Let’s dive deeper. Beyond well-known aspects of Japanese culture such as origami, sushi, and calligraphy, participants can experience how Japanese people celebrate holidays and festivals. For example, in February we would learn about Setsubun (the day before the beginning of spring), while in September we would learn about the Moon Festival.


Moon Festival

More Japanese Topics

Japanese language

A variety of options are available and can be combined with other activities.

  • An easy introduction to the Japanese language (e.g., exploration of the writing system,  pronunciation practice, writing your name in Japanese letters)
  • Basic conversation lessons
  • Useful phrases for traveling in Japan


Japanese storytelling is one of a kind. Kamishibai is a traditional storytelling device. It is a set of pictures in a wooden box that will draw kids into the story.

Japanese traditional gaming

Japanese people in the past were highly inventive and created unique and fun toys. Let’s play with them and test your fine motor skills.

Miscellaneous topics

School life in Japan, History of Japan, Tips for Japanese business manners, traditional arts. If you have a particular request for a lesson, let’s design it together!

School life in Japan

History of Japan

Schedule an Event or Workshop

After the first contact, details including the date and topic can be discussed.
Please feel free to reach out even if you don’t have a solid idea.

Contact information

Mizuki Umebara

Contact form

Brief description about the request