The driving force behind ICJC is the highly honored Yokohama International School Japanese Music Program. Established in 2003 at YIS by Dr. Joseph Amato, it is the only English language-based primary/secondary curriculum for Japanese music education in the world. Focusing on a deeper understanding and appreciation of traditional Japanese music through education and performance, the Japanese Music Program seeks to reach a broader international audience for Japanese music through its activities in Japan and abroad.
Currently under the leadership of Mr. Curtis Patterson, YIS Japanese Music Ensembles have been awarded prizes in several key national music competitions, while individual members have been honored with top solo awards. Ensembles have performed at concert halls, temples and other venues throughout Japan, with special performances at the Danish Embassy; the 150th Anniversary Yokohama Port Opening Festival; the Diwali Indian Festival; the International House of Japan; various Tohoku Charity concerts and the TEDx Aoyama Conference. Overseas concert tours include Australia as part of the 2006 Year of Cultural Exchange, the United States in 2008, China in 2010 as part of the 29th ISME World Conference and Germany in 2011.
The YIS Japanese Music Program has received funding to support its innovative curriculum and overseas tours from The Japan Foundation, Toshiba International Foundation, IBM Japan, Yokohama City, Minato Mirai 21 Area Management, Tomoshibi Foundation, International House of Japan (Tokyo) as well as funding from Subaru of America, The Noguchi Museum (New York) and Keio Academy of New York.