The first school in Japan to include the word ‘international’ in its name was founded in 1924. However, schools offering an education in English and serving members of the expatriate community in Japan have existed since 1872 and four current JCIS member schools can trace their origins to before the First World War.
Many more were founded in the 1950s and 1960s and in it was in October 1965 when representatives of such schools met formally for the first time to discuss mutual matters of administration and curriculum. According to a report on the meeting, it contained many surprises because no one had known the extent to which such schools had burgeoned in Japan since World War II, nor how many children were in attendance at such schools. Problems that were assumed to be unique turned out to be typical. The value of such meetings was immediately apparent and the schools began to have increased contact with one another.
On January 12, 1972, the administrators met again and established the Japanese Council of Overseas Schools, or JCOS. It was originally decided that membership would be based on membership in EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools, and that the administrators would meet regularly to exchange information and discuss matters of mutual interest. In 1982 a constitution was promulgated which opened membership to schools offering an English-based curriculum, irrespective of membership in EARCOS, and in 1987 the name of the organization was changed to the Japan Council of International Schools, or JCIS, following the lead of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).
2005-07 – Wayne Rutherford (Hokkaido International School)
2007-09 – Allen Huies (Aoba-Japan International School)
2009-12 – Peter MacKenzie (Hiroshima International School)
2012-14 – John Searles (Osaka International School)
2014 to present – Matthew Parr (Nagoya International School)