The Kanonji Appleton Partnership (KAP) is a volunteer-led, non-profit sister city organization.
It was founded in 1988 to introduce Appleton residents to the culture and language of Kanonji,
Japan. KAP was formed with the help of the late Mako Bice, a restaurateur in Appleton and
mother of two sons who graduated from Appleton East High School. Mako, who grew up in
Japan and her husband, Burt, owned the former Mako’s Japanese restaurant (now Far East
Korean and Japanese).
Until 1998, exchange participants were mostly adults including physicians, lawyers, business
professionals, teachers and local government employees. In 1988, the Appleton Boy-choir was
invited to Kanonji to sing. In the summer of 1999, a group of students from Kanonji arrived in
Appleton to do a home stay with members of the Appleton Boy-choir and other volunteer host
Since the partnership began, mayors of both Kanonji & Appleton have traveled to each other’s
cities. Former Mayor Tim Hanna made three trips to Kanonji, and current Mayor Jake Woodford continues to keep relations open with our sister city. Interested in Kanonji? Visit their website
Currently, delegates made up of students and adults travel between Kanonji and Appleton for two week home-stays during July and August. First, Appleton delegates fly to Kanonji and home-stay with our Japanese partners. After experiencing firsthand what it is like to live in Kanonji, Japan, the group returns to Appleton joined by the Kanonji delegates. Volunteer host families in Appleton help our Kanonji friends learn about our culture and where we live. As a group, KAP explores Appleton by visiting the Mayor at City Hall; taking tours of a school, fire station and police station; and attending a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball game. We also give our friends an opportunity to see one of their national symbols, the endangered Japanese Red Crowned Crane, at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo.
Area residents can participate in the Kanonji Appleton Partnership exchange as delegates and Host Families. to be a delegate, area students (at least 14 years old in good academic standing) and adults must submit a completed KAP Travel Application. All delegates are responsible for their own travel costs. Exchange trip participants meet monthly from February through early July, prior to the trip. There are also weekly Japanese language lessons.
Host Families welcome a Kanonji delegate into their home & family for one to two weeks. Host Families must fill out the Host Family Application and submit it to KAP. Host Families are responsible for food, lodging and some general expenses incurred during the home-stay. There must be a responsible adult at home when your Kanonji guest is there. Prior to the exchange, KAP prepares participants by holding classes on travel abroad, culture and language.
KAP in the News
Mako Bice, Mayor Dorothy Johnson, Burt Bice:
The signing of the Sister City Agreement.
Letter from Mayor Dorothy Johnson to Mayor Kato
Acting as Appleton's ambassador to propose the Sister City relationship, Brian met with Kanonji's Mayor Kato and other city officials with a letter in hand from Mayor Dorothy Johnson.
Host Family Coordinator
Special Projects Coordinator