The Ship for World Youth (SWY), is a unique international cultural exchange program organised by the Government of Japan. The most prestigious program of its kind, SWY brings together over 250 youth from around the world to learn about international cooperation and understanding. Over a two-month period, participants are involved in a wide range of activities aimed at fostering cultural sensitivity, understanding and friendship. Most of the program is conducted onboard the cruise liner Nippon Maru, with some activities scheduled in Japan, and others in a number of seaports that are visited in the course of the voyage.
Watch this short information film about the program from 2016 (link to video).
Commencing in 1988, the program is run on an annual basis. Each year a different mix of nations is invited to participate and a different ports of call are incorporated into the itinerary.
With the arrival of overseas participants in Japan. Participants spend a few days in Tokyo partaking in a number of institutional visits and experiencing some of the culturally significant parts of the city. Participants then spend a few days on a homestay with a Japanese family in another prefecture of Japan. This opportunity to live with a family and experience Japanese life firsthand is a highlight of the program.
The homestay is a fantastic opportunity for participants to not only learn about Japanese family life, but to also share with their host family, what life is like in their own country. Many strong bonds of friendship develop and it is not uncommon for participants and their host families to continue to correspond and visit each other after the conclusion of the program.