Sister City Relationship

Midland & Handa: A Relationship 30+ Years in the Making

Group with Kimonos

The City of Midland maintains a Sister City relationship with the City of Handa, Japan. This relationship was formed in 1981, and includes a thriving student exchange program.

Relationship's Origin

Diane and Mayor

The Handa-Midland sister city relationship began when The Dow Chemical Company considered a plan to locate a manufacturing facility in Handa. The mayor of Handa at that time was interested in knowing what kind of neighbor Dow would be to his community.

After a visit to Midland, Handa became our community's sister city, a relationship that continues to this day.

Visits & Gift Exchanges

Group at temple

Handa and Midland delegations have visited each other's countries on several occasions to learn more about the culture and industry of each. Over the years, our communities have exchanged ideas and gifts to show our appreciation for one another's cultural differences and similarities. The gift for our 10th anniversary as sister cities is the beautiful Japanese Stone Lantern garden behind the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. Midland reciprocated by sending a bronze statue replica of the Hopfensperger sculpture located near the Tridge, which signifies the importance of family.

Geisha for web

Additional gifts from our Handa friends are showcased on the Library's Mezzanine (2nd floor) and are available for public view.

Recent Visit

Brown Wilhelm with interpreters

In October 2017, members of the Midland City Council and Sister City Committee visited Handa for its esteemed Dashi Festival. The festival, which features beautiful tall floats pulled through the streets by large groups of people, happen every 5 years in Handa. (For more information about the Handa Dashi Festival, click here.) Visitors were also treated to tours of the Handa City offices, elegant Japanese dinners, and visits to local attractions and businesses.

The Japanese delegation's most recent visit to Midland occurred in October 2011, when colleagues from Handa City, including Mayor Sumio Sakakibara, visited Midland to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our communities' friendship. Midland rolled out the red carpet to our friends, showing them our beautiful community, several local businesses, and hosting them for several events.

The Sister City relationship continues to be an example of cross-cultural appreciation and exchange. For more details, call 989-837-3307.

Handa Facts
  • Location: Handa is located in the center of the Chita Peninsula, which lies south of Nagoya and faces Kinuura Bay.
  • Population: Nearly 120,000
  • Industries:
    • Production plants for sake, vinegar, soy sauce, soy bean paste and cotton.
    • Handa's Kinuura Port has attracted larger industries such as iron and steel, machinery, metals, ceramics and chemicals.
  • Agriculture: Dairy farming and flower, vegetable and rice farms
  • Handa's Government: The current mayor of Handa is Sumio Sakakibara.