Tokyo AiR: A Unique Missions Opportunity for Artists in Japan

Japan CAN’s Tokyo AiR (Artist-in-Residence) program is a unique short term mission program in Japan. Tokyo AiR is an opportunity for serious artists to utilize their gifts and abilities to build up the church and engage not-yet-Christians with the Gospel. We are looking for select candidates who have a strong understanding of who they are as people and what God has called them to do creatively (see “qualifications” below).

1. Well-grounded faith in Jesus and connected with a local group of believers (in your home area). 2. In most cases a relevant degree but life experience “counts” too.
3. Professional experience (i.e. you have been paid to do what you want to do in Japan).
4. Demonstrated ability in your area of expertise.
5. At least a basic level of familiarity with the language and culture of Japan.
6. A positive attitude.
7. Able to work alone as well as with a team.


Q. What would I actually do in Japan?
A. That depends on what you want to do. You will have a lot of freedom to do what you love to do. Taking classes at an established school is an option. Teaching classes is an option. One Artist-in-Residence spent a lot of time practicing guitar and writing music. He performed concerts and he connected with a lot of people by playing regularly at a bar’s open mic night. He was also a member of a church worship team. You will be required to write a proposal that includes what you want to do and why you want to do it. What you do in this program must “fit” the overall vision of Japan CAN.

Q.Where would I live and work?
A. This will vary for each person, depending on needs and various other factors. We will
work with each person to find suitable housing as well as adequate studio space, if

Q. How about finances?
A. Our goal is to establish a scholarship fund for Tokyo AiR that will cover part
or all of the cost of the program. At this time we don’t have funding so you will
need to raise support from churches, individuals, and/or foundations. The amount
needed will vary but generally an individual will need to raise around $2,500/month (USD) plus airfare.

Q. Do I have to join a mission?
A. Missions arrange visas, channel funds, provide accountability, legitimacy, and
other benefits. Unless you hold a Japanese passport, or you are from a country
that has a working holiday agreement with Japan, you will have to join a mission.

Q. Which mission?
A. TEAM is one good option. However, there are several missions connected with
JapanCAN. You are welcome to ask a mission of your choice to assign you to Japan CAN
as an “Artist-In-Residence.” However, that mission must allow you to do this as a full-time assignment.

Q. Can I work a regular full-time job in Tokyo?
A. No. We want participants to be able to focus on a unique artistic initiative related to the vision of CAN. However, it is possible to work as long as it “fits” into your over-all goal. For example, teaching a class that relates to your goal for being in Japan could be very positive.

Q. Do I have to be famous or a highly skilled?
A. No, but we do expect a certain level of aptitude and a commitment to excellence.
Applicants will need to provide references and a portfolio.

Q. Will there be mentors available?
A. Yes. We have regular staff members who are qualified to mentor people in
several areas and a large network of contacts. Participants may need to take the
initiative in finding mentors/teachers in their area of expertise.

Q. How long does the program last?
A. Six months but extension beyond that is possible.

Q. Are there age limits?
A. We will consider any qualified adult in good enough health to live and work in Japan.

Q. Do I have to be a particular nationality to participate?
A. No

Q. What do I do to get started?
A. Use the contact form on this site to get in touch with Paul Nethercott. Please send a one page document with the following:
— Your full name and contact information, including your phone # and Skype ID
— A brief description of who you are and what you want to do in Japan.
— A brief explanation of why you want to do it.


2 thoughts on “Tokyo AiR: A Unique Missions Opportunity for Artists in Japan

  1. Greetings! Looks like an awesome opportunity! I lived in Hamamatsu, Japan from 1990-92. I taught English at a local church through OMSI, now known as One Mission. While I was there, I produced a body of work, some of which can be viewed at my website under “inspirational”.
    I have been teaching Animation and Graphic Design at Benicia High School in Benicia, CA. I have a particular passion for both of these art forms. I also have been performing (singing and guitar) jazz standards.
    Do you think there may be opportunities to teach Animation or Graphic Design in Japan? Are families eligible?
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks Robert for your comment! Good to hear from you. There are possibilities… We would need to get to know each other better and explore what those possibilities are.

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