April 21, 2019          Login  
Elected Officials
City Departments
City Services
Online Services
City News
Our Community
Minutes & Agendas
Our CommunityAbout our CommunityLearn about our Sister City   

Sister City — City of Koka, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

(Also Visit this Sister City Related Link - Detroit)

DeWitt's first sister city agreement is with the Town of Konan (Konan-cho), in Shiga Prefecture (state), Japan.

Although an informal relationship had existed between DeWitt and Konan-cho since 1992, Mayor Gerald M. Nester formalized the relationship by signing a sister city agreement on April 28, 1994, during a visit to Konan-cho.

Konan-cho is situated in the southeast corner of Shiga Prefecture on the island of Honshu. Settlement of the area can be traced to the 4th and 5th centuries.

Perhaps the most celebrated aspect of Konan's history is its Ninja. Of only two original Ninja houses in existence, the oldest is in Konan, constructed over 300 years ago.

Earlier in its history, Konan was a leading manufacturer of sake. Konan had 20,000 residents, with agriculture being the primary industry. In October of 2004, Japan underwent a merger which combined five cities into one large City.  This merger eliminated Konan, which was the City's sister city for many years. The City of DeWitt and DeWitt Charter Township have agreed to join together to form a new DeWitt Sister City Community. The Council was presented with a prepared resolution to create the new Sister City Community Board and a Sister City Community Agreement between the City of DeWitt, DeWitt Charter Township and the City of Koka.


Goodwill Mission Celebrates Sister City Relationship

Delegates Sought

October11–October 21, 2015

Since 1968, the State of Michigan has enjoyed a sister state relationship with Shiga Prefecture in Japan. This relationship seeks to foster friendship and promote understanding of the people of the world. Making up the sister state relationship are 17 Michigan cities that have sister city relationships with cities in Shiga Prefecture. The City of DeWitt and DeWitt Charter Township have a joint sister city relationship with Koka City in Shiga, Japan.

A key component of these relationships is the annual Goodwill Mission. This is a unique experience and has resulted in many lifelong friendships between past participants from Michigan and Shiga. In fact, Ione Berg says, ”The two young ladies we hosted are coming back to visit us, they loved DeWitt and Michigan. It was fun to host the young women with my daughter’s family, Scott and Suzi Kyes.  I enjoy keeping in touch with my host family in Japan by mail and on Facebook too. My experience hosting and being hosted in Japan was a wonderful opportunity.”

DeWitt area residents are invited to accompany other Michigan citizens on the 2015 Goodwill Mission. From October 11 to October 21, 2015, a delegation of 35 Michigan community members will enjoy a ten-day goodwill mission to Shiga, including home-stay experiences with Shiga families. Individuals, families and groups are welcome.

We encourage you to seriously consider joining in this cross-cultural experience of a lifetime.  The cost for the trip is $2,700 with a deposit of $200.00 due no later than May 1, 2015.  Please contact Peggy or Larry Arbanas (e-mail: arbanasp@msu.edu or phone: 517.669.1239) for more information.  All application and support documents for are available on our MSSSB web site, www.mishiga.org


DeWitt Sister City Board

The DeWitt Sister City Board was originally created February 2, 1998, by the DeWitt City Council. The purpose of the Board is to foster citizen interaction and cultural exchanges between the City of DeWitt and sister cities abroad.

Due to a consolidation effort in the Shiga Prefecture, the Town of Konan was incorporated with the towns of Minakuchi, Shigaraku, Koka and Tsuchiyama into a larger City of Koka. Through a sister city  community relationship citizens of the DeWitt area are afforded the opportunity to experience Japanese culture and residents of Koka can experience American cultural activities through exchange programs and past exchange programs have demonstrated that there are an equal number of City and Township residents who are interested in participating in the exchange opportunities. The Sister City Community Board was approved September 19, 2005 by City Council which authorized the Mayor to sign the DeWitt Sister City Community Agreement on behalf of the City of DeWitt.

The Board is comprised of eight members, four appointed by the Mayor of the City of DeWitt and four appointed by the Supervisor of the Township. This Board is to be known as the DeWitt Sister City Community Board.

Goodwill Mission

The City of DeWitt, along with 12 other Michigan communities, participates with the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Goodwill Mission. The State of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture have had an official relationship since 1968. Michigan sponsors goodwill missions to Shiga during odd numbered years, and Shiga sponsors the missions to Michigan during even numbered years. Generally, State goodwill missions include 40-50 total visitors.