The Massachusetts Hokkaido Association is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) membership organization dedicated to supporting the historic relationship between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Japan’s northern island prefecture of Hokkaido.
The Massachusetts Hokkaido Sister State Committee was formed in 1987. Chaired by Dr. David Knapp, President of the University of Massachusetts, the statewide committee included members from throughout the Commonwealth who had strong interests in Japan and Hokkaido and in the long term relationship between Hokkaido and the University of Massachusetts. The sister state relationship with Hokkaido became official at simultaneous signing ceremonies in 1990. On behalf of Hokkaido, Governor Takahiro Yokomichi (*) signed the document at the February Snow Festival in Sapporo. Governor Michael Dukakis (**) signed the document in the Massachusetts State House.
In 1994, the name of our organization was changed to the Massachusetts Hokkaido Association. The members of the Association include people who have grown up in Hokkaido and who have studied, worked, and travelled in Hokkaido.
It has been the custom to celebrate the sister state relationship between Massachusetts and Hokkaido every five years. In 1995, Governor Tatsuya Hori and a Hokkaido delegation visited Boston. The delegation brought the gift of a stone lantern which can be seen in the Columbia Point area of Boston located just across from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Governor Hori returned to Massachusetts with a delegation from Hokkaido in 2000 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the relationship.
The association encourages cultural, educational, scientific, and economic exchanges. Within the sister state affiliation is the long term relationship between the University of Massachusetts and Hokkaido University. Also within the sister state relationship are two sister city relationships: Concord with Nanae and Springfield with Takikawa City.
Our counterpart organization is the Hokkaido Massachusetts Society in Sapporo.