Lansing - Otsu
History of relationship
Following the establishment of the Michigan-Shiga Sister State relationship with the signing of the Sister State Agreement in 1968, the first Sister City relationship in the state commenced on October 1, 1969. This was between Lansing, Michigan and Otsu, Shiga, both of which are their respective capital cities. Since this time, the city governments of Lansing and Otsu have cooperated to initiate educational, cultural and more recently, economic exchanges for the betterment of both cities.
Since 1969, citizens of Otsu have traveled to Lansing in a variety of capacities: as delegates of the Goodwill Mission, as Exchange Teachers, as part of Middle School and High School Exchange Programs and as friends visiting their previous host families.
In the 1970’s, under the guidance of Lansing Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Richard Halik, the Teacher Exchange and Middle School Exchanges were initiated. In 1982, in cooperation with the Biwako Kisen Steamship Company, Ltd Lansing Community College began the Japan Adventure Program, which offered Michigan college-level students a chance to live, work, and study in Japan for an extended period of time.
In the 1990’s, the Police Officer Exchange Program between Lansing and Shiga Prefecture was instituted and met with great success on both sides. On several occasions, Lansing has also been the host city for the Otsu Children’s Choir, an extremely talented group of young people who travel the world sharing their gift of song. In this new century, as Lansing and Otsu begin to explore the possibilities of economic exchange, the 2009 Shiga Fair will offer not only the citizens of Lansing, but those all over Michigan, an opportunity to see first-hand the beauty, elegance and utility of Otsu and Shiga-based products.
Cultural sites of interest
One very important site of cultural interest in the city of Lansing is the Shigematsu Memorial Garden located on the campus of Lansing Community College. This exquisite Japanese garden with elements reminiscent of Shiga and Otsu was built and formally dedicated in 2006 to honor the memory of the late Mr. Megumi Shigematsu of the Biwako Kisen Steamship Company, Ltd who was one of the founders of the Japan Adventure Program. Also located in the Lansing area is the MSU Japanese Garden, which provides residents of the area the opportunity to experience different styles of Japanese gardens in a single visit.
If you would like to learn more about the many cultural sites in Otsu, please visit the City of Otsu website link below.
City of Lansing
The city of Lansing is the capital of the great state of Michigan and the state’s sixth largest city. It is located in Ingham County and has an approximate population of 113,968 according to a 2008 Census Bureau estimate.
Lansing is an important center for educational, cultural, governmental, business, and high-tech manufacturing institutions, including three medical schools (two human medicine and one veterinary), two nursing schools, two law schools (including the nation's largest law school), Michigan State University, the state capital, the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, a federal court, and the Library of Michigan and Michigan Historical Center. Lansing is also the location of Oldsmobile Park Baseball Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball team.