Kenya Tomonkai

About the Kenya Tomonkai

Established in 2001, the Nairobi Tomonkai welcomed then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to Kenya. Subsequently, as momentum grew among Waseda alumni living in Kenya to register a local Tomonkai, we began preparing for the registration of the “Kenya Tomonkai” in 2016. In 2017, the Kenya Tomonkai was inaugurated as the then only registered Tomonkai in Sub-Saharan Africa. Shunichi Kobayashi, former chairperson of the Nairobi Tomonkai, the predecessor to the Kenya Tomonkai, became the honorary chairperson, and Sachio Yotsukura became the chairperson. The current chairperson is Akihiro Takamitsu, who previously served as Chairperson of the Japanese Business Association in Kenya and now is Chairperson of the Japanese Society of Kenya. Among the Tomonkai members who have left Kenya, some have moved to other countries in Africa and around the Indian Ocean region, while others have returned to Japan. We now have an extensive alumni network. In Kenya, we held Waseda–Keio gatherings in cooperation with the Kenya Mitakai.
Masayoshi Ito (Graduated in 1997, School of Political Science and Economics)

The flag of the Kenya Tomonkai and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visited Kenya in May 2023

The attractive points of Kenya

When we hear the word “Kenya,” we may think of a rich natural environment, the so-called “Big Five” animals (lions, African elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos), the vibrant and strong Maasai people, and marathon runners who train at altitudes of over 2,000 meters above sea level.

Kenya is rich in tourism resources and has a national park even in the capital city of Nairobi, which strongly attracts us. However, tourism is not the country’s only attraction. Kenya is the largest economy in the East African Community (EAC), with strong economic growth of approximately 5% in recent years. Nairobi is the biggest business hub in the EAC, while Mombasa, the country’s second-largest city located on the coast of the Indian Ocean, is home to the largest port in the region. Japan aids with the development of a special economic zone in the city.

At the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) held in Nairobi in 2016, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” concept. The southeastern coast of Africa along the Indian Ocean is located at the western end of the FOIP economic zone. Last year’s visit by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to four African countries including Kenya further deepened the bonds between Japan, Kenya, and Africa. TICAD 9 will be held in Yokohama, Japan, in 2025.
Masayoshi Ito (Graduated in 1997, School of Political Science and Economics)

A giraffe in Nairobi National Park against the backdrop of clusters of high-rise buildings

The business district and Nairobi Expressway leading to the airport

Message from the Chairperson

Jambo! (“Hello” in Swahili) I am Akihiro Takamitsu, the chairperson of the Kenya Tomonkai.

Don’t you have biased images of Kenya, such as the faraway land of safaris and poverty, as depicted in the novel “Shizumanu Taiyo” (“Never-setting Sun”)?

With a population of four million people, Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, is quite a comfortable place to live with the maximum temperature ranging between 21 and 28°C year-round. In this very attractive city, an urban area with skyscrapers and expressways is located right next to Nairobi National Park, where you can see almost all kinds of wild animals, except for elephants.

Nairobi is a gathering place for highly motivated, passionate, and enthusiastic Japanese people of various ages and genders, including company representatives, members of startups working to address social issues (Kenya is called the “Silicon Savannah” and is famous for startups), entrepreneurs, officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA), and Japan overseas cooperation volunteers. Don’t you think that the city is just right for Waseda alumni? Kenya Tomonkai awaits your visit. We welcome all of you.
Akihiro Takamitsu (Graduated in 1994, School of Political Science and Economics)

Messages from the Members

As a student, I took a one-year leave of absence from school and guided by fate to move to East Africa. That experience probably influenced my decision in 2020 to accept a position in Kenya for the second time in my life as an employee of a UN organization involved in addressing organized crime and other issues. Previously, many Japanese people living in Kenya had been so-called “aid workers” involved in development assistance and other projects. Now, many Japanese people live in the country for business purposes, and it was inspiring for me to become acquainted with Waseda alumni and other Japanese people from various sectors through Tomonkai.
Masatomo Yamaguchi (Graduated in 1998, School of Science and Engineering)

In 2011, when I studied at the Faculty of Law, I visited Nairobi for the first time while travelling from southern to northern Africa. In 2016, five years later, I visited Nairobi again while studying for an MBA abroad. I was attracted to the potential of the market, which had undergone significant changes over the previous five years, and I transferred from the McKinsey Tokyo office to the Nairobi office in March 2017. Subsequently, I was involved in the launch of a new business as the VP of the overseas operations of SafeBoda, an online ride hailing service for motorcycle taxis. At the end of 2020, I established the Peach Cars, online value adding matchmaking platform for used cars. I have been immersed in the startup hub of East Africa, called the “Silicon Savannah,” and developing the business with international members from various countries and regions. The local population is young, with an average age of 25 years or below, and Nairobi is an interesting place that offers dynamic markets, a growing population, and steady urbanization. I believe we can take advantage of Waseda’s grassroots spirit here in Nairobi.
Kaoru Kaganoi (Graduated in 2012, School of Law)

When I was a university student, I visited Kenya through a student group called AIESEC. Today, as an employee of the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA), I am involved in the country’s development. Whenever I have participated in activities with Kenya Tomonkai, I have received guidance from senior members and inspiration from my school friends, who are active in various capacities around the world. Therefore, I was able to pursue my interest in Africa without forgetting my original intentions. With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, I expect many people will visit the country and pursue new challenges, which are typical of Waseda alumni.
Kohei Watanabe (Graduated in 2016, School of Political Science and Economics)

I work at the Nairobi office of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and am involved in the development of the entire East African region in cooperation with private companies, development organizations, the government, and other public institutions. I am also a member of Kenya’s local rugby league team, which fields 13 players. While Nairobi conveys a strong feeling of “Africa,” it is a very exciting city that attracts people from all over the world. Even if you are a first-time visitor, you will receive a warm welcome from the Waseda alumni. If interested, you must visit Nairobi.
Kazuki Otake (Graduated in 2021, School of Law)

The Waseda–Keio New Year’s party held in January 2023

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