Paris Tomonkai

About the Paris Tomonkai

Established in 1988, Paris Tomonkai has roughly 100 France-based members. What makes our organization unique is that many of the members, like those from the Paris Tomonkai Tokyo Branch, continue to hold membership even after they have returned to Japan. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the New Year’s party in January was our only event in 2020, but in normal years we organize a variety of activities, from cherry blossom viewing parties, picnics at Paris Plages, and regular parties called Hokorobi-no-kai, to guided museum tours and Beaujolais nouveau parties. Exchange students actively participate in these activities as well. Paris Tomonkai is a valuable social gathering that provides opportunities for members to communicate casually with people of different ages and varied backgrounds.
Tomomi Albouy (Graduated in 1984, School of LiteratureⅠ)


Paris Tomonkai’s 2020 New Year’s party

The attractive points of Paris

No other city fits the definition of “glocal (Think globally, act locally)” like Paris. The city draws a diverse range of people from inside and outside France, including many students, and we frequently see them engaged in discussions about global issues in cafés and bars. I get the sense that their attitude stems from their pride for Paris being the center of philosophy, culture, and art, as well as the fact that the French language is spoken not just in France but also in other parts of the world. Meanwhile, Paris also has a conservative side, one that values community and routines. Parisians buy food at their usual bakery and marché every week, and spend weekends at local cafés and parks. It seems a lot of people enjoy vacation at the same domestic summer resort every year. Compared to other large cities around the world, there are surprisingly few fast food chains like McDonalds and Starbucks. As a result of this glocal structure, Parisians’ debates are more often belief-based, rather than evidence-based or experience-based.

Such is the city of Paris, but it is undergoing a transformation. People increasingly believe that the growing number of tourists and immigrants—although the pandemic has forced a drastic change in this trend—has accelerated land price appreciation and increased the crime rate, which have rendered maintaining a pleasant city environment a struggle. In particular, the problem of Les mineurs isolés, or isolated minors, in the suburbs where immigrants concentrate, has become the favorite target of populist attacks. During your next visit to Paris, why not strike up a discussion with someone about the future of Paris in between your art gallery visits?
Kazuhiro Nomoto (Graduated in 2010, School of Political Science and Economics)


Streets of Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance

Café on the Île de la Cité, a mid-river island in the River Seine

Message from the Chairperson

It was in 1988 that Paris Tomonkai emerged from hibernation and began to be active again. Thirty-two years later, the biggest change between then and now is that the proportion of female members is now approaching what the French call parité. With women in director-general and other leadership roles in charge of such functions as accounting and blog, it is no exaggeration to say that women are keeping the wheels turning at Paris Tomonkai. In France, having an equal number of male and female cabinet ministers is referred to as parité. Prime Minister Jean Castex’s cabinet, formed in July 2020, has an equal number of men and women: eight ministers each. Among the non-cabinet ministers, women even outnumber men nine to six. Emmanuel Macron, who became France’s youngest president at age 39, founded En marche!, a centrist movement that he claimed was neither left-wing, right wing, nor a traditional political party, and succeeded in greatly increasing female representation and status in the French parliament. In Japan, although notable progress is being made in terms of women’s participation in the labor force, in reality the situation is a far cry from where France is. We are proud that women are thriving in Paris Tomonkai, and hopeful that this is how it will continue to be.
Kiyoji Katakawa (Graduated in 1969, School of CommerceⅠ)

Messages from the Members

It’s been decades since I became a member of Paris Tomonkai. In 2003, I was appointed the captain (head organizer) of the Hokorobi-no-kai designed to promote friendship among members. The club was initially called “nomo-kai (Let’s drink club)” and later renamed “Hokorobi-no-kai,” with an aim to bring smiles to people’s faces (“Hokorobu” means, among other things, “breaking into a smile.”) We enjoy cherry blossom viewing parties at Sceaux Park in the suburbs south of Paris, hold summer picnics at the Paris Plages beach on the Seine Riverbank, and get together at British pubs and restaurants. The cherry blossom viewing parties and the picnics have expanded to include other universities and Grandes Écoles in France, and they have become joint events with other universities’ alumni associations based in France.
Itaru Fukazawa (Graduate in 1982, School of LiteratureⅠ)

I came to Paris two years ago when I was posted to Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris. The Paris Tomonkai parties always lift my spirit as I have nice conversations with my diverse and talented senpai (senior) and cheerful kohai (junior) members. What’s also great about this club is the welcoming atmosphere in which anyone—even members who can rarely participate, like myself—can show up without feeling awkward. I am always struck by how generous and pleasant an atmosphere Tomonkai has, and so I’m grateful to the event organizers. Be sure to look Paris Tomonkai up if you ever move to Paris.
Shinobu Morohashi (Graduated from School of Law in 1999 and Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies in 2001)

Four years into my overseas assignment in France, I am now an old hand in the office but still a new face at Paris Tomonkai. I have had deep ties with Waseda; I was part of the karate club in my student days and continued to go to the university as the club’s coach, and I used to belong to the seminar conducted by the current Waseda University president, Professor Aiji Tanaka. I am part of the team that organizes Paris Tomonkai’s Hokorobi-no-kai party. President Katakawa told me that this club was named to express a wish for people’s happiness, symbolized by people’s smiles brought on from seeing rice plant flowers blooming. (“Hokorobu” is a verb that means “break into a smile” and “begin to bloom.”) We do our best to live up to this name in planning and running our activities. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic is preventing us from holding events, but I sincerely hope we can resume our activities because now is exactly the time we need “Hokorobi.”
Daichi Torii (Graduated in 2001, School of Political Science and Economics)

What’s great about Paris Tomonkai is its diverse membership. Members—young and old, men and women—from various backgrounds, including people on an overseas assignment, expatriates, and exchange students, all come together in a friendly and social atmosphere. You feel the Waseda spirit here. At the Beaujolais nouveau party two years ago, we had as our guest a professor from the School of Political Science and Economics, who happened to be visiting Paris, and the evening turned out to be truly exciting. Paris Tomonkai is a place that evokes in you the feelings you had when you were a university student, even when you are in Paris and far away from Waseda.
Madoka Ito (Graduated in 2004, School of Education)


Evening of celebration for the Beaujolais nouveau release (November 2019)

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
Asia
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
Oceania
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
Europe
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
Africa
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