Manila Tomonkai

About the Manila Tomonkai

At present, there are a little less than 50 members in the Manila Tomonkai. Although the details are not available (as there is no record), I assume that the Manila Tomonkai was inaugurated a long time ago. There are some major Japanese trading firms which has a history of 100 years. Manila prospered before the World War II from exporting Manila hemp (used for making ropes for ships at that time, and for making Japanese paper money at present), and during the period of Japan’s high growth from exporting tropical wood.

Our main events are reunion of members and the Keio-Waseda golf tournaments which are held twice a year. Recently, we have repeatedly been losing in the competitions. We are trying hard to find potential members as there are more than 17,000 Japanese people living in Manila.


The attractive points of Phlippines

In the 1980’s, Ninoy Aquino (Benigno Aquino, Jr., the father of the current president Benigno Aquino III) was assassinated, former president Ferdinand Marcos fell from power and sought asylum in the U.S., and the manager of the Manila branch of Mitsui & Co., Mr. Nobuyuki Wakaoji was kidnapped. These incidents occurred on after another, and there were also many coups during that time. As a result, Japanese people developed the image that the Philippines was a dangerous country. However, as a person who has lived here for a long time, I do not feel the danger here compared to the neighboring countries.

The most attractive points about the Philippines are that : we can communicate in English; there are not many strikes; the rate of wage increase for the past decade is stable at around five percent; the workforce is considerably stable; and it is easy to newly hire workers of several thousand. As such, we can expect abundant, high quality labor force. Furthermore, with the population of around 100 million, the Philippines is considered a promising consumer market for the near future.

I hope people will further consider making use of the Philippines’ cheap but high quality labor force. For example, the exporting companies will benefit from it, business process outsourcing can be a good option for companies, and foreigners can come here to study English language.
Ryuzo Miwa (Graduated in 1960, School of Commerce)

Skyscrapers in Makati

Sunset at the Manila Bay

Message from the Chairman

In May 2011, I took over the position of the Chairman from Mr. Yoshiaki Watanabe (Graduated in 1975, School of Science and Engineering; Graduated in 1977, Graduate School of Engineering), who was my senior by one year and a member of the laboratory next to the one I belonged to at the School of Science and Engineering. It is the third year after I have assumed this position.

On the map, you will find the Republic of the Philippines just about the center of Asia. You will be able to fly to any country in Asia, including Japan, in about four hours. Although the image of Philippines may not be a very favorable one, it is a comfortable place once you start to live here. Above all, you will be deeply impressed to find that you can use English language for day to day business, to be in contact with intelligent young people, and to meet local people who are very hospitablee in nature.

The Manila Tomonkai is based in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. Some members have decided to live here permanently, some are doing business after retirement, and some are sent to this country by their employers as representatives of their companies. The existence of the Manila Tomonkai is encouraging especially for the Waseda alumni who have just started living here, as it is always ready to provide various information to them.

In April 2012, the Executive Chairman of the Alumni Association, Mr. Hideaki Fukuda, came all the way from Japan and participated in the general meeting of the Manila Tomonkai. Mr. Fukuda talked to us about the recent dynamic developments of Waseda, including various initiatives Waseda is currently promoting.
Shinichi Kimura (Graduated in 1978, Graduate School of Engineering)

Messages from the Members

I am working in Laguna Technopark located about 40 km. South of Manila as a representative from a manufacturing company since 2008, two years after I joined my company in Japan. Although there are not so many Japanese people at my age, I am enjoying the connections with people of all ages which I have developed through the Manila Tomonkai.

Talking about my private life, I happened to get to know and get married to a Filipino woman, and have a one-year old daughter. Because of my wife, I became friends with many local people, and have been able to spend holidays in a little different way from other Japanese company representatives. Filipinos like to enjoy holding events and we are often invited to parties. There I enjoy taking pictures after pictures in the Filipino way, calling out “Picture! Picture!”, so that we can preserve the memories of the good times we had with our friends and family.
Naoyuki Takahata (Graduated in 2006, School of Political Science and Economics)

I had visited the Philippines several times on business trips. However, when I was sent to the country as a representative of my company in 2007, I decided to live here permanently. I was very much at loss because of the differences in the culture and custom between the two countries, and in the personality traits between Filipino and Japanese. It was then when I was invited to take part in a Keio-Waseda Golfing Competition. The advice from the seniors, both on public and private matters, truly helped me.

I assume that there are many Waseda alumni who are being helped by the globally active Tomonkai network, like me. I am trying to repay the favor of my seniors, in my own little way, by giving advice to my juniors when they have concerns.
Tomoyuki Ogawa (Graduated in 1997, School of Human Science)

I have lived in Manila for work since March 2007. The news about the Philippines that are heard in Japan tend to be unfavorable ones, including the incidents or accidents which involve Japanese people. However, many of the Filipinos that I meet here are cheerful, easy to deal with and are relatively passionate about their work.

However, you will sometimes get in trouble by leaving everything to them. You must be careful when you hear their strong response of “Yes Sir!”. In general, my impressions are that Filipinos are good natured and family oriented.
Chigi Okajima (Graduated in 1993, School of Education)

I have been working in the Philippines as a representative of a trading house since the beginning of 2011. Under the Aquino government, the economy is strong and recently more Japanese people are coming here on business trips or for sightseeing probably because the image of the Philippines is becoming increasingly favorable in Japan. The city of Manila is very lively with more and more shopping malls being built.

I work in a business district called Makati City. Here we experience air pollution, traffic jam with noise accompanying it, and moreover, we sometimes feel it is less convenient to live here than in Tokyo. However, the family of four, including our two sons, are leading a busy but enjoyable life here, partly because of the cheerful nature of the Filipino people. The seasons in the Philippines are basically hot throughout the year, and I regret to say that it is somewhat difficult to feel the change of the seasons here.
Kazumasa Sakakura (Graduated in 1991, School of Political Science and Economics)

The Keio-Waseda Golfing Competition

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