Saigon Tomonkai

About the Saigon Tomonkai

The Saigon Tomonkai holds various events, such as regular quarterly social gatherings, golf competitions, and “minimon (small gate)” meetings, mainly for young members. We proactively engage in several activities to help Waseda graduates (alumni) living in Vietnam become better acquainted with each other. Waseda alumni have a strong presence in the Japanese community in Ho Chi Minh City. For example, of the 60 participants in a recent joint party among the three universities of Waseda, Keio, and Sophia, more than half were Waseda alumni, reflecting our strong presence in the city. In a recent Waseda-Keio golfing match, the Waseda team won all three divisions.

Recently, many Japanese companies have begun operating in Ho Chi Minh City, and their businesses have taken root in the local community. Many Waseda alumni play active roles in these companies. The Saigon Tomonkai helps strengthen the alumni network and enhance their lives in Vietnam. By doing so, we would like to contribute to developing the country’s economy and deepening the friendship between Japan and Vietnam.
Cao Minh Kien (Graduated in 2008, School of Law)

Secretaries meeting at the Saigon Tomonkai

The attractive points of Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City, the center of the Vietnamese economy, is a very comfortable place for Japanese people to live. Many Japanese companies operate in the city, apart from Japanese restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores. In addition, Vietnamese food suits the Japanese taste and is popular for its delicious flavors. With relatively cheap commodity prices and good public security, families can live in the city safely. Vietnam is home to world-renowned beaches, such as Da Nang and Phu Quoc, allowing for great holidays.

Regarding the economy, the impact of COVID-19 on Vietnam was relatively small, and the country has great potential to become a driver of the global economy in the future. Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, constructed with Japan’s Official Development Assistance, is scheduled to open soon and is expected to improve the city’s traffic issues. As Vietnam has a midday nap culture, all employees lay their straw mats, which they bring from home, on the office floor and take a nap around noon. Since people do little overtime work in this country, it is easy to achieve a good work-life balance. Ho Chi Minh City is the perfect city for Japanese people seeking healthy and fulfilling lives.
Yasuhiro Kawamura (Graduated in 2008, School of Education)

Message from the Chairperson

The Saigon Tomonkai started its activities in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest economic hub in Vietnam, in the late 1990s, when investment by Japanese companies in Vietnam began increasing. With a history of nearly 30 years, we are among the leading university alumni associations in the country. The former Chief Secretary of the Saigon Tomonkai was the President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ho Chi Minh City. I took over the position of Chief Secretary of the Tomonkai and was appointed as the Chairperson. Subsequently, I served as President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Saigon Tomonkai provides valuable opportunities for its members who play active roles at the forefront of business in Vietnam to take breaks from work and interact with other alumni in a casual and friendly atmosphere. In recent years, we have welcomed more younger and female members. The secretaries plan various activities to make the Tomonkai a place where members of new generations can casually gather. As Internet use is now widespread, the Saigon Tomonkai helps Waseda alumni see other members in person. We continue to be a place where members gather together and sing Waseda’s alma mater loudly with their arms around each other in Ho Chi Minh City, located in the southern part of Vietnam.
Hideyuki Okada(Graduated in 1986, School of Law)

Messages from the Members

The Saigon Tomonkai’s greatest attraction is that it allows us to interact with diverse people whom we would not have been able to meet if we had lived in Japan. A variety of people have joined the Tomonkai, including expatriates from many different companies, those starting businesses in Vietnam, students studying in Ho Chi Minh City, and Vietnamese professionals. Waseda University, the common thread between us, provides us with a strong foothold so that we can receive inspiration from one another and foster mutual growth. The Saigon Tomonkai is a great place for members to broaden their international perspectives and accelerate their career development.
Ryo Takabayashi (Graduated in 2016, School of Commerce)

My first expatriate assignment was in Ho Chi Minh City, and at first I did not know anything about the country. However, I received a lot of advice from older alumni living in Vietnam for several years, and became acquainted with other alumni in my age group thanks to the Saigon Tomonkai. Over the years, those acquaintances became family friends. I have heard that many members maintain the friendships they built at the Saigon Tomonkai after returning to Japan. Here in Ho Chi Minh City, I feel happy to be a Waseda alumnus.
Yoshitake Murata (Graduated in 2014, School of Political Science and Economics)

I remember that the Saigon Tomonkai was established in the late 1990s with approximately 20 founding members. At the time, only a few Japanese companies operated in Vietnam, and we had little information about the country. For us, who struggled to develop and operate businesses in the country, the Tomonkai offered important opportunities to share information. In those days, the Tomonkai held social gatherings every time the president of Waseda University and prime ministers who had graduated from Waseda University visited Vietnam, which were precious experiences for me. As the number of Japanese companies entering the country has increased, the role of the Tomonkai has also changed. Currently, the Tomonkai is operated mainly by young members and is becoming more vigorous. As a founding member, I am very pleased with the current situation.
Masafumi Yamamoto(Dropped out in 1992, School of Literature Ⅰ)

Since returning to Vietnam in 2015, I have worked as a secretary of the Saigon Tomonkai. Now, I supervise the group’s event management as chief of the event planning team. While it is challenging work at times, I always feel rewarded when I see other alumni enjoying social gatherings. As a Vietnamese born and raised in Japan, I serve as a bridge between Japan and Vietnam because this is my way of returning the courtesy to Waseda University, which gave me a wonderful school life.
Cao Minh Kien(Graduated in 2008, School of Law)

Joint party among the three universities of Waseda, Keio, and Sophia

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