The Manitowoc International Relations Association (MIRA) is a City of Manitowoc committee that acts as the liaison between the citizens and officials of the City of Manitowoc and the citizens and officials of the City of Kamogawa, Japan, which have entered into a sister city relationship to encourage international understanding through a program of educational, cultural, and economic exchanges.
MIRA coordinates information and resources to maintain and expedite the sister city relationship with Kamogawa, Japan, and with any international community that has as its goal the pursuit of culture, education and peace. Members meet throughout the year to organize and coordinate various activities between both cities including delegation trips, the student exchange program, student pen pal and art exchanges, and more!
The relationship between Manitowoc and Kamogawa began in 1993. The bonds of friendship have grown between each city’s citizens and continue to flourish with each visit and passing year. The relationship remains strong 30 years later.
Kamogawa is a Pacific oceanfront city in Wisconsin’s sister-state Chiba Prefecture. Kamogawa and its friendly population of nearly 32,000 people welcomes nearly 3 million visitors annually. The many shrines and temples are a reminder of Kamogawa’s historical roots that date back to the 12th century. Kamogawa’s year-round warm weather allows citizens and visitors alike to enjoy surfing, swimming, and fishing no matter what season. Kamogawa has been a chief producer of fish, rice, dairy products, and flowers since its foundation by samurai-leader Yoritomo Minamoto. Kamogawa is home to the world-famous Kamogawa See World, as well as home for the Chiba Lotte Marines professional baseball team.
Student Exchange Program
Each year, MIRA coordinates a student exchange program (SEP) for Manitowoc-area high schoolers. A trip of a lifetime, student ambassadors have the opportunity to experience traditional and popular Japanese culture, the beauty of Japan’s mountains and oceanside, daily life in Japan with a host family, and the opportunity to make lifelong friendships abroad. The six students selected for the annual experience benefit by gaining greater understanding and respect of another culture and prepares students for life in our increasingly global society.
The annual application period is February-March and consists of an essay and two letters of recommendation. After applying, applicants will be contacted for personal interviews with the MIRA student exchange program committee. Students are responsible for their round-trip airfare from Chicago to Tokyo-Narita (approx. $2,400), traveler’s insurance, U.S. Passport related fees and personal spending money while abroad.
Traditionally, a delegation of students from Manitowoc visit Japan in late July, and return to spend time in Manitowoc with the Japanese delegation in early August.