Kitakyushu, Japan and Norfolk, VA have have been affiliated since 1959. The affiliation began with Moji, one of the five towns that merged in 1963 to form the present-day Kitakyushu. Located in northern Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island, this city of over 1,000,000 is a commercial port and industrial center situated halfway between Tokyo and Shanghai. It is surrounded by beautiful mountain regions where ancient crafts of pottery, weaving and glass work are still practiced today. Kitakyushu boasts numerous museums, universities, and parks.
Norfolk Sister City Association oversees multiple programs with counterparts in Kitakyushu, including but not limited to:
- Summer Educational Cultural Program with Kitakyushu since 1987
- U.S.-Japan Teachers’ Conference and Educational Symposium since 1989
- Exchanges of Norfolk Public School teachers and university professors with counterparts in Kitakyushu
- International Engineering Design Challenge competitions between Old Dominion University and Kyushu Institute of Technology in 1996
- Intensive summer courses at Old Dominion University’s English Language Center for Kitakyushu University students
- Participation of Norfolk city development officials and business leaders in biennial Nishi Nippon Trade Fair in Kitakyushu
- Cultural exchanges of performing arts groups, including musicians, dancers, drummers, and martial artists
- Cultural visit and concert tour of “Voices of Virginia” from the Governor’s Magnet School for the Arts to Kitakyushu in 1994, 2006 and 2009
- Official out-bound youth exchange to Kitakyushu, July 5-13, 2010
- Planning for Zoo Exchanges to begin between Kitakyushu and the Virginia Zoo in 2012
- Japan Relief Fund Raising Event during Harborfest 2011
- Host Japanese Naval Officers at an “American” cookout, August 4, 2011
- 2012 Youth Summit, inbound youth delegation from Kitakyushu
- November 2012, Governors School of Arts, Voices of VA outbound to Kitakyushu
- June-July 2015 a delegation of eleven students and two chaperones travel outbound to Kitakyushu
- February 2017 – A delegation of ten university students came to Old Dominion University for a thirty-one day English Language immersion program. These students delivered a YGC Program to the 3rd and 8th grade students at the Academy of Discovery at Lakewood.
- October-November 2017 – Students from the Governors School of the Arts traveled to Kitakyushu for two weeks. NSCA provided a scholarship for two Norfolk Public School students.
- July 2019 – 60th anniversary celebration included a visit from the Mayor of Kitakyushu; rededication ceremony at Botanical Garden; 14 member student delegation with Young Global Citizens program
- October 2019– November continues 60th celebration with Governor’s School for the Arts outbound delegation (we provided three scholarships) and official visit by Norfolk City Councilwoman Mamie Johnson
- February 2020 – supported a delegation of 14 university students their professor in partnership with Old Dominion University. The students were in Norfolk for four weeks, departing March 6.
Kitakyushu in the News
“Sister Cities Around the World” Video (June 2010)