Ever since Kaifu Chuzo and Yuri Watanabe became the first Japanese man and woman to earn Earlham degrees, in 1893 and 1916 respectively, there has been a steady stream of Japanese passing through Earlham.
The oldest and largest organized group of Japanese with ties to Earlham is the group known as the "Earlham Tomonokai" consisting of alumni/ae and friends of the college. Established in the 1960s as a way for alumni/ae to keep in touch with each other, the organization now mails its annual newsletter to over 200 recipients, including 4-year degree students, 1-year exchange students, former faculty and staff members, their friends and relatives, and others.
This group meets regularly, mostly for fellowship, and also hosts receptions for groups of Earlham visitors to Japan once or twice a year. There are two other organized groups in Japan that refer to themselves as "Earlham Tomonokai." Both of them are made up chiefly of Japanese public school teachers who participated in the two-week study trip to Indiana known as the American Education, Family, and Culture Institute, which was operated by Earlham for nearly 25 years. Known as the January Institute for many years, the program changed its name when it moved to November.
The two groups of former participants are based in the cities of Morioka and Utsunomiya, and together their membership rolls contain close to 200 names.