Expat Community Support in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Sep 28, 2023

Expat Community Support in Kumamoto

Finding your feet when you relocate to a new country or area can take a while. What are the registration procedures, if any? Where can you go to meet new people? This is where expat groups and networks can come in—usually founded and led by people who have been in your shoes as a new resident, now in a position to offer their skills and experience to help others.

Kumamoto has over 11,600 foreign residents, just under 1% of its population. There are sizable communities from many nearby Asian and Southeast Asian nationalities (e.g., Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Thai) and some American and British expats.

Here are a few of the city’s helpful community resources offering information, advice, and support.

Kumamoto Support Center for Foreign Residents

Run by the Kumamoto International Association, established in 1988 to improve relations between the prefecture’s international communities, this is a one-stop center providing multilingual support in various areas, including residential procedures, employment, health and welfare, childcare, immigration, and housing. Advice services are free at the point of use.

Website: Kumamoto Support Center for Foreign Residents

Kumustaka Association

With a name taken from Tagalog for “How are you?” (Kumusta ka), the full name of this non-government organization is the Kumustaka Association for Living Together With Migrants. Initially founded in 1985 to provide support around human rights and domestic violence issues to Kumamoto’s Filipino community, the organization today offers support and advice across a range of community and rights issues ranging from employment to refugee issues, as well as giving community education.

Website: Kumustaka Association

Kumamoto YWCA

Part of a wider network of Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) groups across Japan, the Kumamoto YWCA was founded in 1964. Operating out of the Chuo Ward, it works to bring international expat communities together through its community café running workshops and activities such as global cuisine days. The YWCA also offers confidential counseling, and the wider network supports disaster-stricken areas.

Website: https://kumamoto-ywca-en.jimdofree.com

Kumamoto International Foundation

Founded in 1991 as a multicultural resource to promote mutual respect and understanding among different expat communities in Kumamoto, this popular hub runs out of the Kumamoto City International Center. It runs a wide range of support programs, including volunteering, Japanese language sessions, support for international students, and community festivals. It also provides disaster prevention for foreigners and advice through its Consultation and Support Plaza for Foreign Residents.

Website: Kumamoto International Foundation

Kumamoto JET

This is the local Kumamoto branch of the national Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) volunteering network that bolsters community networks, improves resources, and offers information to participants in the AJET program.

Although primarily a membership service, JET events are open to all Kumamoto residents – Japanese and expat – giving locals a great chance to meet new people and engage in fun and educational activities.

Website: https://www.kumamotojet.com/reiwa/

Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of AmericaDaniel A. Taylor/U.S. Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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