About Us

Heather Harlan

Heather Harlan


New York, USA

Heather Harlan studied Japanese at Wesleyan University, from where she graduated with a B.A. degree in English. She made her first trip to Japan after winning a Wesleyan scholarship to participate in the prestigious Japan-America Student Conference, an annual summer exchange program for college and graduate school students. After graduation, she lived in Tokyo teaching English at a commercial language school while continuing to study the Japanese language and immerse herself in the culture through homestays with Japanese families. She later returned to New York to embark on a career in journalism and joined the New York bureau of Kyodo News Service as a reporter, where she stayed for five years before leaving to work as an independent journalist. She is also a winner of the Kawamura Cultural Institute’s Japanese Speech Contest, held at the Japan Society in New York.

Heather is currently a New York-based independent print and broadcast journalist working primarily with Japan’s major national media outlets. She covers a wide range of subjects including American politics, economics, and culture.

She has written for The New York Times, Kyodo News Service, The Japan Times, Asianweek, and other publications. Her column, “Ask Heather,” offering answers to Japanese readers’ questions about American culture, appeared regularly for a decade in OCS News. In 2006, she began writing a column for Shukan NY Seikatsu, a Japanese-language weekly serving New York’s Japanese ex-pat community. The column, “Heather Harlan’s Culture Crossing,” explores U.S.-Japan news issues and cultural differences.

In her broadcast work, Heather has produced news stories for Japanese TV networks NHK, NTV, TBS, TV Asahi and others. She has reported in Japanese on-air for NHK radio and TBS radio, and in English for the NHK educational channel.