Netherlands Tomonkai

About the Netherlands Tomonkai

More than half a century ago, I left Japan to wander around the world out of youthful enthusiasm, and eventually settled down in Amsterdam. Hotel Okura Amsterdam which had been under construction then opened. There, not only toshikoshi noodles to celebrate New Year’s eve and Osechi dishes to celebrate the New Year were served every new year season, but also events such as rice-cake making parties and Bingo games were held, as a part of the services for the still-not-so-many Japanese people living in the Netherlands. I learned that there was a Tomonkai in the Netherlands through such events, and since then, I have been participating in its events when conditions permit.

Although the scale of the Netherlands Tomonkai is small, it has steadily grown from a group which only holds drinking parties into an organization which encourages interactions involving family members through events such as bowling and golf competitions. As an obvious result, we came into contact with the Netherlands Mitakai of Keio University. We are fiercely fighting against each other in many Keio-Waseda events which we have started to hold. In 2010, the Netherlands Tomonkai successfully became a registered Tomonkai after being asked by the Waseda University Alumni Association. As such, the time when we were only a crypto-Tomonkai, which had continued for a long time, has ended.
Ryo Kuji (Graduated in 1959, School of Commerce)

Gathering of the Tomonkai in spring, 2019 (A Farewell Party for Mr. Miyanaga, former Chairperson)

The attractive points of Netherlands

As a quarter of the country is at or below sea-level in the Netherlands, the people here have expanded the land through reclamation work including pumping out the water since around the 13th century. Some say, “The world was created by God, but the Netherlands was created by the Dutch.” In the city, beautiful canals and flowing rivers can be observed, and in the summertime, everyone enjoys sunbathing on the boats, while in the wintertime, people enjoy ice-skating on the frozen canals. As such, water is an important part of the life here. Furthermore, as everyone expects from the image of the Netherlands, tulips are in full bloom during March and April. If you look at the land from the sky from an airplane during this time, you will be able to enjoy seeing a carpet of tulips of various colors including red, orange, yellow, and pink, which, together, cover the surface extensively. Another thing the Netherlands is famous for is the windmills. As the land is flat with no mountains or steep slopes and as the wind is strong, using wind power is a reasonable tradition. There are various types of windmills scattered throughout the country including old-fashioned flour-grinding windmills and, more recently, windmills for power generation.
Yoko Yamaguchi (Graduated in 1997, School of Literature)

A windmill in Kinderdijk

Message from the Chairperson

The Netherlands is a small country located in the central part of Europe, where English is widely understood, and is a comfortable, cosmopolitan country to live in, where social infrastructure such as airports, roads, schools, and hospitals is well-provided. Currently, the number of members of the Netherlands Tomonkai stands at 78. Our events include not only gatherings held four times a year, but also golf competitions, bowling competitions with the Mitakai, and New Year parties. We are truly having fun together here in the Netherlands. I am hoping we can encourage the members to interact and build networks with members of different generation or year of graduation.

Speaking about a part of my private life, I had a chance to watch a Waseda Rugby Football Club game after a long time this New Year season. Although we could not sing “Araburu,” a song we can sing when we have won in the University Championship, I am looking forward to seeing the team win again. Next year, Japan will be hosting the Olympics and the Paralympics. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Antonius Geesink, a judo wrestler representing the Netherlands, won a gold medal in the judo open competition, which attracted much attention. During the over 400 years for which the relationship between the Netherlands and Japan lasted, we have experienced much interaction in sports and cultural events. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I will probably be cheering for the representatives of both Japan and the Netherlands.
Hideki Tominaga (Graduated in 1982, School of Political Science and Economics)

Messages from the Members

Although the Netherlands is my third overseas assignment after Korea and the U.S. West Coast, it is a special place for me. Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, my hometown, was largely helped by a Dutch engineer, Cornelis Johannes van Doorn, in a field survey for Asaka Sosui (canal) in the Meiji Era. In addition, Koriyama was registered as the host town for the Netherlands for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which makes me feel even closer to the country.

This is the second time I participated in an overseas Tomonkai after the one in Korea. I am given nice stimulus every time I take part in an event, as the balance of the generations and industries of the participating members of the Netherlands Tomonkai is just about right. I am thankful for the global connections Waseda has to offer.
Masahiro Terai (Graduated in 1994, School of Law)

I decided to join the Netherlands Tomonkai as a parent of a student at a local supplementary school, where I was teaching, asked me to do so. I graduated from Waseda as one of the first batch of students at the School of International Liberal Studies, and am working as a professor teaching Japanese in the Japanese Studies Program at Leiden University. My field of expertise is Japanese education for children. Last year, I wrote and published a Japanese textbook called Ohisama – Hajimeno Ippo (Ohisama – First Steps) for Japanese children living overseas and children of families of international marriages. Walking to and from the Takadanobaba area has led me to a far place, but the Tomonkai has always had a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere, and I am always given full energy and the will to accomplish things after hearing the stories of cool alumni and juniors. I love the Netherlands, and I love the Tomonkai.
Emi Yamamoto (Graduated in 2008, School of International Liberal Studies)

After studying and working for 11 years in Tokyo, I was seconded to the European Headquarters of my company located in Amsterdam. While very happy to be back to Europe, I deeply missed Japan, the country which will always be my second home. Yet, the Netherlands Tomonkai has been a wonderful platform to travel back in time to my Ph.D. days at Waseda University and keep alive the Waseda spirit. Although members change from year to year I enjoy every opportunity to get together with other alumni hoping that the Netherlands Tomonkai will continue to be the HOME for Waseda graduates to come back!
Pranvera Zhaka (Graduated in 2012, Graduate School of Economics)

Streetscape of Leiden and tulips

A church and cherry blossoms in Leiden

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