Netherlands Tomonkai

About the Netherlands Tomonkai

The Netherlands Tomonkai had been unofficially formed about 30 years ago. An application was made by the current board members, and in 2010 they were officially registered as an overseas Tomonkai branch. Its main activities are social events including regular joint parties with the Mitakai. Unofficial events such as the Girls-night Club and the self-appointed Girls-night Club Supporters are also active, with home parties, birthday celebrations and field-trips held.

Participating members were once mainly posted corporate expats, but in the last few years we have been receiving members from a wider diversity of backgrounds. There’s Mr. Kenji Okano, the first Japanese to obtain a legal license in the Netherlands, as well as members in the middle of their doctorate degree, and those who are studying for their accounting qualifications, physiotherapy certificates, and many others.

Even if our ages, occupations and positions all differ, sharing stories about our university days and memories of the Waseda town surpasses all boundaries. Our evenings together are spent laughing over each other as we admit to our own candid tales from the past.

Tomonkai & Mitakai’s Joint Party

The Tomonkai flag arrives May 2011

The attractive points of Netherlands

True to the synonymous image of tulips with The Netherlands, the flowers are in full bloom during March and April each year. If you fly over the country during this period, you can enjoy a spectacular view of red, orange, yellow and pink tulips covering the vast fields like a laid out carpet.

Another Dutch icon is the windmill. Because the country is mostly flat terrain where strong gusts of wind are common, windmill technology is a logical installment in the country’s tradition. From traditional wind-powered flourmill huts to the latest technological wind turbine generators, there is a variety and abundance of windmills in this country.
Yoko Yamaguchi (Graduated in 1997, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences)

The tulips in Keukenhof

Tulip fields

Message from the Chairman

Greetings to all our fellow Tomonkai members around the world. On behalf of the Tomonkai in The Netherlands, I would like to offer our greeting. I was posted here after Shanghai in April 2010, and appointed as Chairperson one year later. Thanks to the support I receive from the vice chairperson, secretary and administrative members, I have somehow been able to carry out my duties. The superb younger members have given me great support as well.

The Netherlands Tomonkai has led a reasonably long history, but for some reason was never registered as a overseas Tomonkai. We are the 12th Tomonkai branch in Europe, and we look forward to the many interactions in the future. Our membership has increased to almost 40 since we carried out a campaign last year to locate more local Waseda alumni. We also held our first joint End of Year party with Mitakai, which was a great success.

The most common images of the Netherlands may be windmills, canals and cheese, but the kind-spirited Dutch people are also to be noted. I hope to develop the club into one with a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Shizuo Seki (Graduated in 1973, School of Commerce)

Gouda cheese

Messages from the Members

For the Tomonkai Christmas in Singapore, which had been my previous post, I was assigned the role of Santa Claus for two consecutive years (2008-2009) before being posted in the Netherlands. The tradition of Santa Claus is actually an adaptation of what Dutch immigrants to America used to celebrate, and here in the Netherlands there are some differences. Every year Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas, arrives on a steam boat from Spain in mid November. Instead of reindeers, he is accompanied by a black boy named Zwarte Piet, whose task is to liven up the atmosphere and give presents to good boys and girls on December 5. Naughty children, however, are told that they will not get a white cotton sack full of presents, but instead be stuffed inside a brown hemp sack and carried back to Spain. I look forward to the day when I will get to dress up as Sinterklaas for the Netherlands Tomonkai. This photo was taken of a real Sinterklaas who visited a Tomonkai member’s office.
Satoshi Kataoka, Vice Chairman (Graduated in 1985, School of Education)


Back in my days of youth, I had allowed myself a little too much fun and freedom, and missed out on gaining a good career. My start in the real world was not a very optimistic one, but somehow I managed to survive through the stormy waves of society before eventually landing in a decently respectable job in Amsterdam. During this time, I would be filled with regret and shame whenever I thought of my old university and blamed myself for not studying more. That is, until I met the Netherlands Tomonkai. My upper and lower classmen turned out to be the kind of people who had also reveled in their youth a little too liberally, and they made me feel I should have partied a bit more.

Books such as “Oranda kikou” (Travelling through the Netherlands) by Ryoutaro Shiba or PHP’s “Shiawase na shoukoku oranda no eichi” (Wisdom from the Netherlands, The Happy Little Country) give very good descriptions of the Dutch personality. Their rationalist tendencies are notable above all other characteristics, and they prefer to debate and make immediate action instead of following the status quo. One needs to prepare a lot of energy to keep up with the Dutch locals. On the other hand, they are extremely compassionate people, as evidently shown in the countless charity events they had organized for the victims of the Great East Japan Disaster.

The Netherlands and the Netherlands Tomonkai – they will certainly change your life perspectives.
Tetsuya Hattori (Graduated in 1997, School of Law)

I first came to the Netherlands as a study abroad student back in 2003, and have since been working in a law firm in Hague. The wide open fields, rows of aged windmills, the vibrant colors of the tulip fields are all clear reminders that I am living close to one corner of the distant European continent, far away and completely unlike Japan in climate and culture. But whenever I join a meeting with the Tomonkai, I get a nostalgic sense of illusion that I’m back drinkingsomewhere around the Waseda campus.

Her students change from year to year
Meet and part with youth’s delight
Yet all alike we seek to share
These ideals and their light

I let the words sink in as our alma mater returns to mind, and I spend my days filled with gratitude for the days of learning at Waseda.
Kenji Okano (Graduated in 2001, School of Law & in 2003, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies)

The windmills of Leiden

My wife and I met in a tiny town in Fukuoka. Later we moved to Tokyo to spend our beautiful salad days together at Waseda. My wife had mastered Japanese through Waseda’s Kokusaibu, and we both expected to continue living in Japan. That was until we saw a UNICEF report announcing that Dutch children were the happiest kids on the planet, and we decided to immigrate to the Netherlands. Thanks to a Waseda OB who I had met during my job hunting days, I was able to find a job after acquiring our visas. Now we have Waseda friends around us in both work and play, through interactions with the local Mitakai branch, our social network continues to grow.
Takahiro Inoue (Graduated in 2004, School of Law) & Martina Inoue (2000-2001, Kokusaibu)

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

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