San Francisco Tomonkai

About the San Francisco Tomonkai

The San Francisco Tomonkai was founded in May of 1975 largely through the efforts of the late Shinichi Suzuki, who was then serving as the Managing Director of Kikkoman International’s American subsidiary. The Tomonkai’s very first meeting was a gathering of more than 70 Waseda graduates at the famous “Tokyo Sukiyaki” restaurant. Taking advantage of Japan’s bubble economy in the 70s and 80s, many Japanese companies were expanding aggressively at that time into the North American market. Although the bursting of the bubble and the changing economic climate has caused fluctuations in our membership numbers since then, the Tomonkai successfully completed its 38th year.

Over the years, we have had the privilege of welcoming a number of University presidents to the area, such as former presidents Haruo Nishihara and Katsuhiko Shirai. Last year, we planned a ceremony to mark the opening of Waseda’s new San Francisco Office, which was attended by President Kaoru Kamata. We currently have 90 members whose ages range from freshly graduated 20-somethings to over 80 years of age. In order to increase ties between current members and recruit new members, we also arrange a number of casual events throughout the year such as golf lessons, scholarly lectures, bimonthly social events, and board meetings presided over by representatives from each graduating class.

Please take a look at our website and check out our Facebook page that we have created for members to socialize.

Web site:
Takeo Futakawa (Graduated in 1961, School of Political Science and Economics)
Hirotsugu Kusakawa (Graduated in 1974, School of Science and Engineering)

Celebrating the Opening of Waseda’s San Francisco Office

Meeting of alums and current students

The attractive points of San Francisco

The city of San Francisco in the state of California sits on roughly the same latitude as Toyko: two neighboring cities separated only by the vast Pacific ocean. 3 years ago, the city celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the warship Kanrin-maru, which was captained by Katsu Kaishu and carried Japan’s first delegation to the United States. San Francisco was also the site of the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco which officially brought an end to the Second World War.

One of the main attractions of the city is the incredible racial diversity and vitality of its citizens. Thanks to this mix of cultural diversity, independent spirit and entrepreneurial enterprise, the city has given birth to an IT industry whose effects are now felt in every corner of the globe. The city itself currently boasts a wide array of tech start-ups, and neighboring Silicon Valley hosts a number of IT companies that have become household names the world over.

The San Francisco area is also the birthplace of “California Cuisine”, a trend linking the booming local produce industry to health-conscious consumers. In addition to cuisine, the world-class wine produced in nearby Napa valley makes San Francisco truly a paradise for gourmands. In addition to this “locavore” movement, a unique fusion cuisine blending the best of Japanese and Western gastronomy together has gathered quite a following here.

San Francisco enjoys mild weather all year round, and many of its citizens try to live an ecologically friendly lifestyle that strikes a balance between the natural and the artificial. Because of its eco-conscious culture and deep historical ties to Japan, San Francisco is an easy city for Japanese to fall in love with.
Tomomi Nishimura (Graduated in 1977, School of Science and Engineering)

Golden Gate Bridge

A San Francisco cable car

Message from the Chairman

Located as we are in scenic San Francisco, only a stone’s throw from the tech hub of Silicon Valley, around 40% of our members hail from the School of Science and Engineering, but we also have many graduates from SILS and many other departments as well. We have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of younger members and female members in recent years.

Since both UC Berkeley and Stanford are nearby, our organization has supported many Waseda Students during their study abroad over the years. Through the generous help of consul-general Hiroshi Inomata and his wife Midori, themselves both Waseda graduates (School of Law, ’78; School of Education ’77 respectively), we had the honor of welcoming University President Kaoru Kamata at the San Francisco Consulate in August of last year. In addition to Tomonkai members, this reception was planned by a number of Waseda representatives based the area and hosted by the Consulate in order to celebrate Waseda’s newly opened San Francisco Office. In future, we hope to continue to strengthen our ties to the university and contribute to Waseda’s further globalization by hosting events such as lectures from visiting faculty and researchers.

In attrition to such lectures, the Tomonkai here in San Francisco participates in a wide variety of events such as stage performances (often arranged through my connections in the theatre world), cooking classes, golf matches and bimonthly networking events for our younger members. In addition to providing a forum for some of our more maverick and entrepreneurial members to share the secrets of their success, we are constantly striving to think of innovative ways to encourage equal participation from all our members and to promote a homey and stimulating environment for the free exchange of ideas.
Yuriko Walker (Doi) (Graduated in 1973, Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Scineces)

Messages from the Members

A large number of Waseda Students study abroad at the various colleges in and around the San Francisco area, so we decided to invite them to participate in our yearly general meeting. This year was our third year to invite current students, and the number of student attendees increased this year to 22. Many or our members have worked for years in the United States and some have even started their own businesses. I think that being able to meet such people and hear about their reasons for coming to the United States, their experiences in starting businesses and dealing with venture capital firms, or their opinions about the potential market for Japanese products in the US is an opportunity of great value to current students. I hope that in the future we are able to continue to support Waseda students abroad and contribute to the globalization of the University in general.
Yutaka Kuroda (Graduated in 1973, School of Science and Engineering)

I moved to the Bay area in 2010 with my husband and two year old daughter, and I currently work at an IT firm based in the city. For me, one of the great benefits of being a member of the Tomonkai is being able to receive advice from more experienced members and exchange information with other working mothers about raising a child in America.

Though Tomonkai members differ in age, profession and gender, they all share a certain intellectual bent and thirst for new experiences. I’m constantly impressed with not only how hard members work during the week, but also how passionately they pursue their hobbies on the weekends: whether it be golfing, surfing, or marathon running. In the future, I’m hoping to increase the number of family friendly events hosted by the Tomonkai.
Masae Yoshikuni (Sasaki) (Graduated in 2006, Graduate School of Science and Engineering)

One of our bimonthly BBQ’s

The Golf Team of the SF Tomonkai

The golf club of the SF Tomonkai meets for monthly matches that help our members get to know each other better and hone their skills for the biannual(Spring, Autumn) showdowns with the local Mita-kai.

Although we suffered a narrow loss to the Keio squad in Napa Valley last May, we have more fighting spirit and camaraderie than ever before thanks to a recent influx of younger members and new uniforms: handsome polo-shirts dyed in Waseda’s trademark dark red.

Though separated from Waseda by almost 5000 miles, we are confident that next October, California’s blue skies will ring with the strains of “Konpeki no Sora”as we celebrate our victory.
Seishi Miyamura (Graduated in 2003, School of Political Science and Economics)

The Waseda-Keio Golf tournament

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
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 / Qatar Tomonkai / Tehran Tomonkai
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