Nevada and Japan: An Overview


Basic Information

  Japan Nevada
Population (2019) 126,131,000 3,080,156
Area 145,932 mi² 110,567 mi²
GDP (2018) $4.97 trillion $166 billion


  • In the early 20th century, Japanese immigrants began to settle in Nevada. According to a 1910 Las Vegas census, 62 Japanese residents lived among a population of about 2,000.
  • Japanese immigrants worked in industries that included mining, railway construction, and farming.

Japanese Community in Nevada

  • Japanese Citizens
    3,776 (as of Oct. 1, 2018)
    - Las Vegas area: 2,911
  • Japanese Americans
    24,304 (2017 US Census)
    - Clark County: 20,239 (Las Vegas: 5,502; Henderson: 3,030), Washoe County: 2,748 (Reno: 1,694)
    Over the past 5 years (between 2013 and 2018), Nevada’s Japanese American population grew by approximately 26%. (Nevada's total population grew by 8% during the same period.)
    Major Japanese American organizations in Nevada: Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Las Vegas Chapter, JACL Reno Chapter, Las Vegas Sangha Buddhist Temple, and Eikyo Buddhist Temple in Reno.

Educational Exchange

  • Exchange Students
    Over 190 Japanese students study in Nevada (as of 2020).
    - 38 at UNLV, 97 at UNR, and 53 at the College of Southern Nevada.
  • Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program
    Starting in 1987, Nevadans have traveled to Japan each year to teach and promote people-to-people international exchange between Japan and the US.
    Over 1,700 alumni are registered in the JET Alumni Association of Northern California, which includes Nevada in its jurisdiction and is the largest JET alumni group in the world.
  • Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship Students
    The Japanese Government has hosted its Monbukagakusho Scholarship Invitation Program since 1954 and its participants have included Nevada residents.

Cultural Exchange

  • Two major Japanese cultural events were established in the Las Vegas area: the Kizuna Spring Festival in April, which was held for the fourth time in 2019, and the Aki Matsuri Japanese festival in October, which marks its 10th anniversary in 2019.
  • Since 2004, the Southern Nevada Japanese Speech Contest has been held annually in Las Vegas.
  • About 2,800 Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and University students in Nevada are enrolled in a Japanese class. Japanese courses are also offered at all major colleges and universities.

Intergovernmental Exchange

There are currently no sister city relationships between Nevada and Japan; however, a process is underway exploring the possibility of forming such relationships in the future.