In 1965, Japanese educator Taizo Kaneko wrote to 50 colleges and universities throughout the United States, offering to send students from his newly founded university to live and learn with American students. Of the 35 responses he received, only one reply - from Willamette University's President G. Herbert Smith - constituted an unconditional and immediate acceptance of his offer. Out of the shared vision of these two individuals, a mutually enriching relationship was born.
After more than two decades of successful exchange programs between Tokyo International University (TIU) and Willamette University (WU), that visionary relationship was further strengthened and solidified by the establishment of Tokyo International University of America and the American Studies Program (ASP) in Salem, Oregon.
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the American Studies Program was indefinitely suspended. In Spring 2023, Willamette University was once again able to welcome ASP students from TIU back onto campus to participate in the program.
Through its long history and resilience, the American Studies Program represents the strong commitment of TIU and Willamette University to maintain their partnership, and to their students who are encouraged to question and explore the world around them.