Nevada and Japan: An Overview

Basic Information

  Japan Nevada
Population (2018) 126,590,000 3,034,392
Area 145,932 mi² 110,567 mi²
GDP (2017) $4.87 trillion $159 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.
  • Most Japanese immigrants were farmers, while some helped to build Nevada’s infrastructure, such as the Hoover Dam.

Japanese Community in Nevada

  • Japanese Citizens
    3,588 (as of Oct. 1, 2017)
    - Las Vegas area: 2,832
  • Japanese Americans
    24,304 (2017 US Census)
    - Las Vegas: 5,689; Henderson: 2,823; Reno: 1,409 (2015 US Census)
    Over the past decade, Nevada’s Japanese American population grew by approximately 62%; some attribute this growth to relocation by out-of-state retirees.
    Major Japanese American organizations in Nevada: Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Las Vegas Chapter, Las Vegas Sangha Buddhist Temple, JACL Reno Chapter, and Eikyo Buddhist Temple in Reno.

Educational Exchange

  • Exchange Students
    Over 180 Japanese students study in Nevada (as of 2015).
    - 4 at UNLV, 22 at UNR, and 52 at the College of Southern Nevada.
    - Total number of Japanese students in US is 18,780; 1.5% decrease from 2016 to 2017.
  • 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 2,800 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.

Culture & Language

  • 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, with 40 participants joining in 2016.
  • About 2,500 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.

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