The Michigan-Shiga sister-state relationship was initiated in 1968. Since that time, various exchange programs have been developed, including goodwill missions, teacher and high school student exchange programs, and education programs that take place at JCMU. The Michigan-Shiga relationship is one of the most active sister-state relationships in existence.



The Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU) was established in 1989 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of sister-state relations between the U.S. State of Michigan, and Shiga Prefecture in Japan.

JCMU was established for the following purposes:

  • To contribute the development of closer friendship ties between Michigan and Shiga, as well as between the United States and Japan.
  • To promote mutual understanding and recognition of the various aspects of culture, language, and customs of both Japan and the United States, in a location where people can come together for study and research.
  • To serve as a focal point for international educational exchange open to the local community.

The Japan Center for Michigan Universities is a unique institution that combines the resources of the government of Shiga Prefecture, the government of the State of Michigan, and a consortium of fifteen public universities in Michigan. The JCMU facilities in Hikone were constructed by Shiga prefecture, while the consortium of fifteen public universities in Michigan, with support from the State of Michigan and the Michigan Japan Foundation, is responsible for administration of the Center.