Hanoi Tomonkai

About the Hanoi Tomonkai

The Hanoi Tomonkai was established in 2002, and back then, it was a small-scale gathering. In recent years, since the relationship between Japan and Vietnam are growing in different fields, the number of Japanese expatriates have increased, which has led to the increase of members to about 50 people. Recently more female members are joining, and currently there are 10 female members.

As for regular activities, every November there is a social gathering with Faculty of Social Sciences Professor Tran Van Tho and his seminar students. Other than that, although irregular, there are gatherings with Professor Masaya Shiraishi and his Vietnamese study abroad students of his seminar (There are about 30 Vietnamese alumni currently living in Hanoi). There are also department gatherings hosted by female members called “Chokoton”(pork cutlet with chocolate source).

In recent years, the school has been more interested in Vietnam, and former President Okushima, and the previous President Shirai have visited. The flag of the Hanoi Tomonkai was received directly from previous President Shirai. As for our hopes for the future, we would like to increase department gathering activities, and to be more in touch with alumni.

The flag of the Hanoi Tomonkai given by previous President Katsuhiko Shirai

A gathering of the Hanoi Tomonkai

The attractive points of Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, and the population is about 5.6 million, of which about 4000 are Japanese. It is the capital, but compared to Ho Chi Minh in the south, unfortunately, is subdued. Hanoi’s history is very long. It used to be called Tan Long, and 2010 marks the 1000th year since the city’s establishment.

Hanoi has 2 unique characteristics when compared to the other cities in South East Asia. The first is that the weather is subtropical, so although different, like Japan, it has 4 seasons. The weather difference between the Winter and Summer are harsh, but being able to experience all 4 seasons is something that makes the Japanese feel more comfortable. The other characteristic is that unlike the other big cities full of skyscrapers, there are neighborhoods in the city center that are called the ‘old city’, where low buildings make the scenery reminiscent of old days.

Also, the society is more like a village (an acquaintance of my calls our city the ‘Biggest Village in the World’) where although nosy and nagging sometimes, the people are very kind deep inside. Furthermore, the Pho noodles that are well known in Japan are a Hanoi specialty.
Takahisa Saito (Graduated in 1985, School of Social Sciences)

Opera House


Message from the Chairman

The Hanoi Tomonkai has only existed for 10 years, and therefore the history is still very short, but due to the launch of Japanese industries and the expansion in Hanoi, the number of members has increased to about 50 members. In addition, the age range of the members and the type of jobs they have are of a great variety and the gatherings provide a unique environment where members can gain information that they may not get in other gatherings, and they can speak to people they would not usually talk to in their lives.

In 2009, after the 3rd Chairman resigned, many professors form Waseda came to visit. By 2010, we welcomed then President Shirai with a welcome gathering. Also, visits from Professor Tran and his seminar students are now annual, and these visits have turned into conversations that we look forward to.

In 2011, we planned a golfing match. We enjoyed the fun of playing a team sport, and the competition was very exciting (of the two games, we won one, and lost one).

There are a lot of members that come and go, and it has been a challenge to find the hidden alumni and to invite them into the Tomonkai, but there are many Vietnamese alumni who are members. I hope to plan more meaningful gatherings including these members, and make them more exciting.
Shigeki Osawa (Graduated in 1972, School of Science and Engineering)

Messages from the Members

I had a yearning for Tokyo, when I walked through the gates of Waseda University, and a yearning to live abroad, when I left to Vietnam. I grew up in the mountains of Gifu prefecture, so living in a country other than Japan, and for as long as 10 years, was something I had never imagined.

In Vietnam, my dream to make what I love my job came true, and I was given the opportunity to work as a local free paper editor. On top of that, I was luck to meet many incredible people that I would have never met if I had stayed in Japan. One of the most significant encounters I had, was meeting the Tomonkai. I hope to chase dreams I can only dream of in Vietnam, and to try my best alongside people from this land.
Megumi Katsu (Graduated in 1999, School of Social Sciences)

I came to Hanoi in May 2003. Since then, this is my 9th year of living here. What makes working in this country fun is that many of the younger people have high ambitions and great self-control when it comes to studying and working. And by being around these people, I feel the elation of the nation that reminds me of Japan during its high economical growth. Even if the inflation has not been controlled, people have high hopes for the future. I feel very lucky to be in such environment.

The other day, I had the change to discuss with a Vietnamese person who had studied abroad at Waseda. As part of a generation that will be responsible for the growth of the country in government offices, media, and private enterprises, the person was working hard, and I was moved emotionally by the fact that members of the Tomonkai are succeeding globally.
Shingo Okubo(Graduated in 1970, School of Political Science and Economics)

I ended up starting my own business in Vietnam by chance a year and a half ago. I had never visited Vietnam prior to this, so there were more things I didn’t know than the things I did. I was lost, and my seniors from the Tomonkai helped me at the time. They taught me, and are still teaching me in relentless but kind words, how to survive Hanoi living, and how to work in this country.

To be honest, when I was studying at Waseda, I didn’t feel a lot of ‘loyalty’ to the school. I only went to the main campus a few times a year. However, after becoming a working adult and moving to a foreign country, I feel blessed to be a Waseda alumnus, thanks to the Hanoi Tomonkai.
Tatsuya Miyoshi (Graduated in 2007, School of Science and Engineering)

I was sent on loan by the Michinoku Bank in Aomori, to Hanoi 11 years ago (in 2007 I left the bank, and currently I have established the Michinoku Hospitality Company in Aomori City). I was the branch manager at the bank and was sent to manage the V-TOWER (Office & Service Apartment Management), only being able to communicate in the Tsugaru Dialect. I was able to do this because of the members of the Hanoi Tomonkai and the Japanese employees there. All I can say is “thank you”. Also, on May 5th 2010, I opened a Japanese restaurant, ‘Ofukuro-Tei’ and thanks to the Japanese employees here, it’s stayed in business for two years so far.

Working abroad is hard, but at the same time, you get the opportunity to meet many people, and you can learn how great it is to be Japanese. I’m only 55 years old, and have many goals and dreams. I’ll try my best to reach them in Hanoi, Vietnam!
Keiichi Miyata (Graduated in 1981, School of Social Sciences)

The Huc Bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake

List of Overseas Branches/
Overseas Tomonkai/
Overseas Tomonkai
Japanese Branches

Overseas Branches
Alumni Association in China / Alumni Association in Korea / Alumni Association in Taiwan
Overseas Tomonkai
Bangalore Tomonkai / Bangkok Tomonkai / Beijing Tomonkai / Cambodia Tomonkai /
Dalian Tomonkai / Hanoi Tomonkai / Hong Kong Tomonkai / India Tomonkai /
Jakarta Tomonkai / Kanan (South China) Tomonkai / Malaysia Tomonkai / Manila Tomonkai / Mumbai Tomonkai / Myanmar Tomonkai / Saigon Tomonkai / Seoul Tomonkai / Shanghai Tomonkai / Singapore Tomonkai / Suzhou Tomonkai / Taipei Tomonkai / Ulan Bator Tomonkai
Brisbane Tomonkai / Melbourne Tomonkai / Perth Tomonkai / Sydney Tomonkai
North America
Boston Tomonkai / Chicago Tomonkai / Georgia Tomonkai / Hawaii Tomonkai / Los Angeles Tomonkai / Michigan Tomonkai / New York Tomonkai / San Francisco Tomonkai / Seattle Tomonkai / Toronto Tomonkai / Vancouver Tomonkai / Greater Washington Tomonkai
Central and South America
Brazil Tomonkai / Chile Tomonkai / Lima Tomonkai / Mexico Tomonkai
Belgium Tomonkai / Berlin Tomonkai / Denmark Tomonkai / Dusseldorf Tomonkai /
Frankfurt Tomonkai / Geneva Tomonkai / Moscow Tomonkai / Netherlands Tomonkai / Paris Tomonkai / Stockholm Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai
Middle East
Abu Dhabi Tomonkai / Qatar Tomonkai / Tehran Tomonkai
Egypt Tomonkai / Johannesburg Tomonkai / Kenya Tomonkai
Overseas Tomonkai Japanese Branches
Bangkok Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Beijing Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Dusseldorf Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Gaoxiong Tomonkai Alumni Association / Hanoi Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Jakarta Tomonkai Alumni Association / Los Angeles Tomonkai Japan / New York Tomonkai Tokyo Branch /
Paris Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Saigon Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Shanghai Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Singapore Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Tokyo Brazil Tomonkai / Tokyo Hong Kong Tomonkai / Tokyo Melbourne Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai Tokyo Branch