Cambodia Tomonkai

About the Cambodia Tomonkai

The Cambodia Tomonkai was inaugurated in October 2016, and currently the number of members is about 60. Around 15 of them are former Cambodian international students who have studied at Waseda. Most of the members are young people in their 20s to 40s. However, there are very senior members including one who started a travel agency business in the 1960s in Cambodia, which was before the civil war (or the time of the Pol Pot administration). The activities of the Tomonkai include gatherings in Phnom Penh and events organized jointly by Keio and Waseda which are held around five times a year, and observation tours and gatherings in regional cities such as Siem Reap held once a year. We are aiming to become an organization in which new ties between Cambodia and Japan are born out of our “torch of Progress (shinshu-no seishin).”
Shoko Matsuda (Graduated in 2011, School of International Liberal Studies)

Gathering (June 2017)

The attractive points of Cambodia

During the time of the Pol Pot administration in the latter half of the 1970s, millions of Cambodians were said to have been killed. In spite of such history, Cambodia has succeeded in realizing peace since the 1990s, in which the Japanese government was deeply involved. When we think of Cambodia, the Angkor monuments, a world heritage site, first come into mind. In 1994, the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor was established for conservation and restoration of the monuments and for development of human resources. Professor Takeshi Nakagawa of the Department of Architecture was named its Director General. For the past 25 years, research and restoration work have been done at sites such as Angkor Wat and Bayon temple, in which many professors, students, and alumni of Waseda have been involved.

Cambodia is a country with many young people, and about 50 percent of its people are under 25 years of age. Partly because of this, the country has much power for future development and its people have much energy in their daily lives. Moreover, it has started attracting attention not only as a country which has been selected as a destination for advancement of companies as part of their China Plus One strategy, but also as a country which sends to Japan technical intern trainees and specified skilled workers. From 2010 to 2015 when Japanese companies were vigorously advancing into the Cambodian market, about 1,000 companies registered at the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.

On the other hand, in rural areas, development of infrastructure such as electricity and roads has been lagging behind, and education is not yet fully enjoyed by all. However, these areas are very attractive to visitors because of their rich nature and their smiling people who enjoy their old ways of living.
We can safely say that Cambodia is a country where we can enjoy such contrasting characteristics and find many possibilities without too much effort. In addition, we feel that we would like to stay in this country forever and enjoy the smiles of its people. I would say these are the characteristics of Cambodia.
Yoko Koide (Graduated in 1990, School of Science and Engineering; Graduated with master’s degree in 1992, Graduate School of Science and Engineering)

Angkor Wat, where Japan is involved in the restoration work

Message from the Chairperson

In October 2016, we held a meeting to prepare for the establishment of the Cambodia Tomonkai, expecting to attract about 10 people from about 3,000 Japanese living in this country. Surprisingly, around 60 people of various backgrounds registered with the Tomonkai. The members consist of people from both government offices and private companies, and varying from large companies to venture businesses and NPOs. The Tomonkai has become a place for such members to exchange information. I think the fact that the Tomonkai has members of various backgrounds is one of the characteristics of the Cambodia Tomonkai.

When I was a student at Waseda, Professor Ishiyama of the Department of Architecture of the School of Science and Engineering said, “When we design architecture and cities, the University of Tokyo builds the nation from the viewpoint of social systems and laws, and Waseda builds the cities listening to the voices of their residents.” Thus, he told us of the significance of Waseda’s existence. As Cambodia is still a developing country, we are still at the stage of building the nation. As such, I think Waseda’s outsider’s spirit is very effective. I hope the Cambodia Tomonkai will provide an opportunity for the members to contribute to Cambodia by having them play active roles in this country.
Tomohiro Okuda (Graduated in 2003, School of Science and Engineering; Graduated with master’s degree in 2005, Graduate School of Science and Engineering)

Messages from the Members

During the 10 years since I started a business in Cambodia in 2008, the living environment here has improved dramatically. This is especially true for Phnom Penh, the capital city, where two large Aeon malls have opened and the number of restaurants where we can enjoy Japanese food has significantly increased. Although the gap between the rich and the poor is large, there are many luxurious cars in the city, and the life of local people is visibly improving. Although the Cambodia Tomonkai has just been inaugurated, I am positively inspired by the interactions with the members, who are involved with Cambodia in various ways.
Ko Honan (Graduated in 1997, School of Political Science and Economics)

I visited Cambodia when I was a student. I was surprised to see how poor the people here were, and decided that I would come back here someday. Fifteen years later, today, I am working on the development of Sihanoukville Port as a part of my job involving Official Development Assistance. Cambodia is now a growing country which even has Aeon malls. The time when Japan was thanked by Cambodia is now over, and I am working on projects which will be a win-win for both countries, and struggling to find ways to deal with competition with and to cooperate with other countries, which are also rapidly penetrating into the Cambodian market.

The Tomonkai has supported my life here. I am inspired professionally by the members who include company employees, entrepreneurs, people working for NPOs, students, doctors, and former Cambodian international students, who are playing active roles for the two countries.
Hiroto Yasuhara (Graduated in 2005, School of Political Science and Economics)

I returned to Cambodia after graduation, and am currently working for a Japanese trading house. When I was a student at Waseda, I worked with various student associations at Waseda that are related to Cambodia, and had a fulfilling student life. Through Waseda, I was able to be reunited with my current wife whom I met for the first time before coming to the university, and got married last year. I loved its liberal climate, and am happy and thankful that I am still connected to Waseda and that I can meet with people of various ages and industries through the Tomonkai. I am looking forward to participating in the events of the Tomonkai.
Tea Seanghy (Graduated with master’s degree in 2010, Graduate School of Commerce)

I came to Cambodia 20 years ago because of my job in architectural design, and now I am also involved in managing a restaurant and an NGO. I learned that there is no junior high school even in the area adjacent to the Angkor monuments which is a world-famous sightseeing spot, and built a junior high school there in 2013. As its location is northeast of Angkor Thom, a capital city of the Angkor period, I am working while thinking about when Waseda was established, seeking to make the junior high school the future “Northwest of the City (Miyako no Seihoku)” of Angkor.
Yoko Koide (Graduated in 1990, School of Science and Engineering; Graduated with master’s degree in 1992, Graduate School of Science and Engineering)

The first observation tour at the site of the restoration work of Bayon temple monuments (January 2018)

List of Overseas Branches/
Overseas Tomonkai/
Overseas Tomonkai
Branches Located in Japan

Overseas Branches
Alumni Association in China / Alumni Association in Korea / Alumni Association in Taiwan
Overseas Tomonkai
Alumni Association in China, Overseas Branch /
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 / Dubai Tomonkai / Qatar Tomonkai / Tehran Tomonkai
Egypt Tomonkai / Johannesburg Tomonkai / Kenya Tomonkai
Overseas Tomonkai Branches Located in Japan
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