Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA was established in 1990 through an endowment from Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Tokyo. Both Foundations get their names from Ryoichi Sasakawa, a Japanese philanthropist. Two years later, Sasakawa USA opened a public art gallery and Japanese library as a way to carry out the initial mission of the Foundation, to promote understanding between the United States and Japan.
In 1997, Sasakawa USA closed the art gallery and shifted its focus to programs and activities that would generate a greater awareness of the Asia Pacific region. Programs from this period, such as “Culture and Identity” and “Asian Voices” were among the first to explore topics of growing importance, such as ethnic coexistence and the Asian identity alongside other geopolitical issues.
The library remained open until 2013, acting as the Foundation’s liaison to local Japanese and interested public. A year later, Sasakawa USA welcomed its first American Chairman, refocused its mission and expanded its staff to provide timely research, outreach and analysis on key policy issues facing the United States and Japan.