Hawaii Tomonkai

About the Hawaii Tomonkai

Hawaii Tomonkai was officially established in 1975. However, I heard that, for a long time before then, there were gatherings which mainly consisted of people of Japanese ancestry who were born in the U.S., educated in Japan at Waseda, and went back to live in Hawaii. Waseda is thus familiar to Japanese-Americans here in Hawaii. When I started to participate in Hawaii Tomonkai at around 1983, there were many such Japanese-Americans who were still very healthy, and there was even a person who had spoken with the founder Shigenobu Okuma. I remember that members who came to Hawaii as representatives of Japanese companies were getting a lot of information about Hawaii from him.

More than 30 years have passed since then, and the members who make up the Hawaii Tomonkai is changing. Now, there are various people including not only the representatives of Japanese companies and the Japanese consulate general but also those who decided to live permanently in Hawaii after residing here as representatives, those who came to Hawaii to study at the University of Hawaii, and those who came to Hawaii to live here after retirement.

The yearly events include general meetings, golfing, hiking, beach clean-ups, Christmas parties, and taking part in Honolulu marathons as supporters for the runners. Furthermore, on the last Wednesday every month, we gather at the Waikiki Yacht Club to exchange information and enjoy conversation. This yacht club is very close to Ala Moana Center, and we enjoy wine with other Waseda alumni, looking over the boats and yachts connected to the nearby dock, and feeling the cool wind of the evening. This is when we feel it is good we live in Hawaii.

In addition to the mild weather throughout the year, both hard and soft infrastructure including the health care system are readily available, and at the same time the Japanese culture is a part of their daily lives. From Honolulu, there are regular flights to Narita, Haneda, Nagoya, Osaka, and Hakata, and there are also temporary flights to Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima, and Naha. As such, Hawaii is very convenient when it comes to access to Japan. The prices are somewhat high; however, you do not have to pay so much for clothing, and the beaches are very close. There are not only Japanese restaurants but also restaurants of countries around the globe, and we can safely say that there are no other foreign countries or regions in the world which are so comfortable for Japanese people to live in. As a result, there are many members in Hawaii Tomonkai who have lived here for a long time, and there are many who will be living here permanently.

There are many visitors from Japan. Former Presidents Katsuhiko Shirai and Takayasu Okushima visited Hawaii while in office. We are sincerely waiting for the visit by the current President Kaoru Kamata. If you are a Waseda alumnus/alumna, please let us know when you are visiting Hawaii.
Chairperson Hideki Hayashi (Graduated in 1976, Graduate School of Science and Engineering)

Annual Charity Beach Clean-up

The attractive points of Hawaii

People all over the world long to visit Hawaii to relax and attain the peace of mind. Although usually we are very busy and are not aware of the fact that we are living in Hawaii, when we stop to think about Hawaii, I think what is best about Hawaii is its natural environment.

There are no amusement parks, hot springs, nor ski areas. There is almost nothing that is stimulating. However, there are air so fresh that you would want to take a deep breath, ample and peaceful green areas, and beautiful nearby beaches which would immediately take away your stress. Above all, there is a comfortable wind, which is what I like most about Hawaii. When I see my sweating child running with all his might on green grass, I feel it is good we live in Hawaii. Although there are no sandboxes, instead there are large beaches and many parks with playground equipment and large, ample green areas. In the parks, mothers welcome newcomers, so you do not need worry whether they will allow you and your child to join them. You can become friends with anybody immediately. When I am relaxing under a tree while my child is playing, cool wind blows in, which is more comfortable than an air conditioner even if the sun is glaring.

More than anything, there is so-called the “aloha spirit” in Hawaii. When you turn on the blinker while you are driving, they will willingly let you in. You will be waving your hand, or putting your thumb and your little finger up (the gesture of so-called “shaka”) to express gratitude. There are even times when both you and the other driver cannot move on, as both of you try too much to make the way for the other.

If you are holding both your child and a heavy bag, they will kindly offer to help you even if they are considerably old or rather young with fashionable tattoos and a lot of pierced earrings. Then, I think to myself that I must also be kind to others next time. Thus such kindness gradually spread to others.

I always think that I must make my life even better by not forgetting what are good about Japan and absorbing what are good about Hawaii.
Junko Murashige (Graduated in 1993, School of Human Sciences)

Messages from the Members

I obtained a green card 18 years ago, and am enjoying the long stay in Hawaii after retirement. I travelled 68 countries because of my work, and I wanted to go to Hawaii someday and spend my last years there. I visited famous resort areas around the world and conducted investigation. As a result, I decided to go to live in Hawaii as there were enough Japanese restaurants and Japanese food, doctors and lawyers who understand Japanese, and of course, Tomonkai. I feel this is the best place to live after retirement.
Morimi Wanami (Graduated in 1959, School of Science and Engineering)

I have lived overseas for 35 years now, but wherever I live, wherever I work, people regard me highly to hear that I graduated from Waseda, saying, “That famous private school!” I am thankful to our seniors for making Waseda a university which is respected internationally. We shall also do our best for our juniors!
Masako Nashimoto (Graduated in 1964, School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

I envied one of my friends who came from Japan to run, when she stood at the starting line. I thought, “I should not be only supporting the runners, when I am a resident in Hawaii!” Afterwards, I started to participate in the Honolulu Marathon every year. Running in the Honolulu Marathon at the end of the year has become a regular event for me, and I participated in it 20 times. As long as there are people who seek to reach the goal, the goal at the Honolulu Marathon will be waiting for you!
Yuko Takahashi (Graduated in 1988, School of Education)

After working for a company in Japan for 10 years, I went to Los Angeles to earn an MBA degree as I wanted to set up and run a business overseas. As LA was a place where I had no connections whatsoever, I decided to join Tomonkai, desperately seeking any help I could obtain. Although it was the first time I met anyone at the LA Tomonkai, the members there welcomed me very warmly. Afterwards, I decided to set up and run a business based in Tokyo and Honolulu, and became a member of Hawaii Tomonkai. As I wanted to repay the kindness I received, I was the organizer for a few years. If you are starting something new in Hawaii, please contact us at Hawaii Tomonkai.
Tetsuzo Nagashima (Graduated in 1989, School of Commerce)

Five years have passed since I came to Hawaii to live permanently after I quit my job at a major publishing company. Although I never really cared about Waseda when I was in Japan, for some reason I felt closer to Waseda after I came here, and joined Tomonkai. I was in charge of collecting messages from the members for the WiN site this time probably because of my experiences in editing. I felt the spirit of Waseda when I saw a lot of messages coming in just before the deadline, and when I was able to receive only a few replies to my email requesting messages from the members. Such sloppiness is truly Waseda-like, which reminded me of my old days at the university.
Eisuke Iwase (Graduated in 1995, School of Law)

Four years have passed since I came to Hawaii to live here permanently. Hawaii is a special place where Japanese people and people of Japanese ancestry are respected and are assimilated into the local community. However, I was truly encouraged to find that the seniors of Tomonkai are showing strong presence in the local community and making significant contributions here.
Naoko Yonekura (Graduated in 1995, School of Humanities and Social Sciences)

Three years have passed since my daughter and I came to Hawaii together to study. I was impressed to hear in a foreign county the soft tune of one of the alumni’s ukulele playing the tune of the school song at the Christmas BBQ held last year, and the warmth of the Waseda alumni who had gathered there. The members of Hawaii Tomonkai have not only the wonderful Waseda spirit but also the “aloha spirit” as well!
Hijiri Takeshita (formerly Kono) (Graduated in 1997, School of Education)

Although I was lucky to be sent to Hawaii for my first overseas appointment, and although what I am actually doing at my work has not changed, I am having a very difficult time because of my language problems. However, certain struggles and problems will make you more mature. I am truly enjoying all the experiences here including meeting people at Hawaii Tomonkai.
Koichiro Oishi (Graduated in 1998, School of Political Science and Economics)

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