Greater Washington Tomonkai

About the Greater Washington Tomonkai

Established in 1988, the Greater Washington Tomonkai is comprised of approximately 100 alumni living in the greater Washington, D.C., area, including the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Members include expatriates of Japanese manufacturing, financial services, trading, and media companies; think tanks; and international financial institutions such as the World Bank. The Greater Washington Tomonkai’s diverse membership is a reflection of Washington, D.C.’s, unique position as the center of global politics and international finance.

Although a wide variety of professional backgrounds are represented across the Greater Washington Tomonkai’s membership base, friendships are fostered through participation in activities ranging from a professional lecture series, to BBQs and a New Year’s party, to the annual Waseda-Keio golf match. While members may be professionals at the forefront of politics and international business, once together as Waseda alumni, Tomonkai provides a place to socialize in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

Washington, D.C., is a major college town; it hosts a number of schools, including American University, Georgetown University, and The George Washington University. Tomonkai offers its members the opportunity to mentor students from Waseda University who are studying at these great institutions.
Kenshiro Fukamori (Graduated in 2011, School of Fundamental Science and Engineering; Graduated in 2013, Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering master’s degree program)

Waseda-Keio golf match (Waseda won in autumn 2017)

Tomonkai barbecue party

The attractive points of Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., offers a cornucopia of varied interests. It is a place where your intellectual curiosity can be fully satisfied, as one has near-unfettered access to the ideas and thoughts of experts from the public policy, business, and environmental arenas. For example, your day could start with a breakfast meeting with a Congressman concerning the prospects for tax reform; a short cab ride might lead you to a think tank seminar on North Korea; a trade association might then host a lunch briefing on the current status of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation; and your day could conclude at an embassy-hosted reception featuring stimulating talks about trade issues over a glass of good wine.

Because the Washington metropolitan area is home to nearly 200 museums, there is a wide array of cultural events, including permanent collections, special exhibitions, and lectures, to be enjoyed. A quick online search for this writing found an event titled “Atlas of Beer” hosted by National Geographic. The event covered the history as well as contemporary trends related to beer. Although I was immediately attracted to the unique event, I decided to pass when I saw the admission fee was $100. There are a many collections, exhibitions, and events that are free of charge in Washington.
Yasuko Fumuro (Graduated in 1990, School of Literature)

A view of the White House from the Washington Monument

Message from the Chairperson

Whenever I hear “Her students change from year to year, Meet and part with youth’s delight,” I cannot help whispering “The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same. Foam floats upon the pools, scattering, re-forming, never lingering long. ” (Hojoki)

People are destined to meet and eventually move on. Half a century has passed since my graduation. I have lived in New York, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington, D.C. Everywhere I go, I meet Waseda alumni. However, the time to say good-bye always comes after sharing unforgettable memories of Waseda and a promise to see each other again someday.

As a young man, born in rural Hokkaido, I dreamed of crossing the Tsugaru Straits. I still remember vividly how shocked I was to find such a wealth of talent among the students who enrolled at Waseda from all over Japan. At times, the intellect and skill they exhibited made me question my own caliber and creativity. At Takata Bokusha, I had the specialty curry; at Kinjo-an, I had soba noodles and skipped classes afterwards; and I participated in protests against tuition increases. Each provided me lifelong friends.

In every country I’ve lived, I’ve met locals who went to Japan to study at Waseda, and this allowed me to share my memories of Waseda with them. Everyone follows his or her own path, and leads their own life. This truly embodies “The flowing river never stops … scattering, re-forming, never lingering long. ”
Katsuyuki Imamura (Graduated in 1968, School of Law)

Messages from the Members

Washington, D.C., the center of American politics, is home to federal agencies; the U.S. Capitol ; the Supreme Court; international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF; foreign embassies; press bureaus; think tanks, which make various policy proposals on commercial, diplomatic, security, and other issues; law firms; and academic institutions including universities. Many alumni and students are active and based here as expatriates of Japanese companies, employees of institutions, or students on exchange programs. Tomonkai allows them to renew old friendships and expand their network of personal contacts.

Many alumni get together over regular events such as the annual Waseda-Keio golf match and BBQs at the chairperson’s home, where students on exchange programs are also invited. Americans who have studied at Waseda also actively participate in our events. We listen to updates on the Takadanobaba neighborhood, and we foster relationships in a friendly atmosphere. At the Waseda-Keio golf match, the losing team must sing the opponent’s school song as a penalty; in fact, the Mitakai ended up singing our “Konpeki no Sora” after both the spring and fall 2017 competitions!
Shin Donowaki (Graduated in 1984, School of Political Science and Economics)

When you hear “Washington, D.C., the capital of the U.S.,” many people think of a serious place at the center of economics and world politics. I too had the same impression. When I came to D.C., however, I learned that personal connections matter as much as they do in Japan, if not more. When you request a meeting, for example, a personal introduction can make the difference. In the same light, a personal introduction at a reception or party can help start a casual conversation, totally unrelated to work, that unexpectedly ends up developing into a deeper relationship.

During such occasions, I often rely on Waseda alumni who play an active role in various industries and have an extensive network in Washington. In the capital of the U.S., although there are many high-ranking Japanese officials who graduated from the University of Tokyo, I don’t think I am the only one who feels that Waseda alumni are far more dependable when it comes to having a conversation over a beer or glass of wine. The people-skills we nurtured in Takadanobaba are useful everywhere.
Satoshi Ogawa (Graduated in 1994, School of Social Sciences)

Tidal Basin, a place famous for the cherry blossoms. The Washington Memorial in the distance.

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