Myanmar Tomonkai

About the Myanmar Tomonkai

Although the Myanmar Tomonkai was established very recently in 2014, it is now Myanmar’s largest alumni association of Japanese universities with more than 60 members. Following its recent democratization and inauguration of a democratic government in 2015, the number of local subsidiaries and representative offices of Japanese companies here have rapidly increased over the past few years. Probably because people expect highly of Waseda alumni, various activities in various fields by Waseda alumni are evaluated favorably in still-developing Myanmar.

In the gatherings that we hold regularly, members of various ages ranging from those in their 20’s to their 80’s gather, and we sing the school song together at the end. We hold Keio-Waseda Golf Tournaments and Bowling Matches once a year. If we win, we loudly sing “Konpeki no Sora” together, placing our arms across each other’s shoulders.

In still-developing Myanmar, much of the infrastructure is not yet fully developed, and life is not very easy here. However, we are utilizing the alumni network to help each other when we are in trouble.
Kazumori Ra Hwa Ig (Graduated in 2003, School of Commerce)


The attractive points of Myanmar

Myanmar is a country in Southeast Asia where Japanese companies can secure abundant, high-quality labor force. It is a geopolitically important country, as it is located at the center of a large market. For example, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), inaugurated at the end of last year with 10 member countries, is a large economic zone with a population of about 620 million and a combined GDP of about 2.5 trillion dollars. (The EU has 28 member countries with a total population of about 510 million and a combined GDP of about 16 trillion dollars.) The tariff within Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar will be eliminated in 2018, and the region is sure to see further implementation of horizontal division of labor and more active intraregional trade. Furthermore, Myanmar shares the border with China (population: about 1.4 billion, GDP: about 11 trillion dollars), India (population: about 1.21 billion, GDP: about 2 trillion dollars), and Bangladesh (population: about 160 million, GDP: about 0.2 trillion dollars), which means that Myanmar is adjacent to an area with a total population of about 2.77 billion and a combined GDP of about 13 trillion dollars. (The figures are from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)

As Myanmarese is a language whose order of words is the same as that of Japanese, and as Myanmarese people are warm-hearted, pious Buddhists who celebrate the full-moon night just like the Japanese people, they give true comfort to us Japanese visiting Myanmar.
Tetsu Yamaguchi (Graduated in 1972, School of Commerce)

Although Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, is rapidly developing, there is still a lot of green.

Message from the Chairperson

Myanmar is said to be “the last frontier of Asia.” Just as described in this phrase, we often encounter challenges that we will not readily face in other countries. Under such condition, although Waseda alumni do not usually flock together, the Myanmar Tomonkai was established in 2014 with the hope to promote cooperation with each other in the spirit of mutual aid under an environment as special as that of Myanmar.

The democratization of Myanmar has accelerated since 2011, and now the number of Japanese companies advancing to Myanmar has topped 300. The number of members of the Myanmar Tomonkai has exceeded 60. The members of the Tomonkai are fully demonstrating their talents in various fields, which makes them seem very reliable.

The age of the members of the Myanmar Tomonkai ranges from the 20’s to the 80’s; however, once we have a drink together, the atmosphere soon becomes that of a gathering of Waseda alumni and we again feel grateful for the fact that we learned at Waseda. I truly hope that the activities of the Myanmar Tomonkai will connect Waseda, Japan, and Myanmar, and that the Tomonkai will develop further in the future.
Tetsuro Terasaka (Graduated in 1983, School of Political Science and Economics)

Messages from the Members

About a year has passed since I came to Yangon. Although this is the first time for me to live overseas and many things seem new to me, the members of the Tomonkai are helping me both officially and privately. I am feeling the power of “Waseda” here at Yangon. As I become friends with the seniors who I would not have met if I had stayed in Japan, I always learn things from the members of the Tomonkai and feel motivated to try harder in everything.In Myanmar, people place importance on the connections with others. I always think that I should cherish the connections not only with the members of the Tomonkai but with various people that I have met.
Takamichi Ito (Graduated in 2010, School of Commerce)

“The scenery is like that of Japan 40 years ago.” This is the impression I had of Myanmar when I first came here in February 2014. While Yangon is a busy town, the people here are modest and simple. And they accept ambiguity. As these are different from the cultures of European countries which I have experienced before, I feel somewhat close to the people of Myanmar.

My assignment to Myanmar could have been a destiny, for I lost one of my ancestors in the Burmese front. While I feel that Myanmar is moving forward and is changing rapidly, I sometimes think of its past. It is likely that I will continue to enjoy such precious moments to think about such things here in Myanmar.
Dai Kawamura (Graduated in 1998, School of Political Science and Economics)

Why? There is no graveyard in Yangon! There are many Payas (pagodas) built as a proof of belief including the Shwedagon Paya; however, they are not graves. In Myanmar, people cremate the body until all the bones turn into ashes. And nobody takes the ashes with him. After they take the body to the crematorium, some of the bereaved leave even before the cremation is finished. When we consider the entire country of Myanmar, there are some regions with fine graves. Many Indian Myanmarese, who are Muslims, and Chinese Myanmarese bury the body in a grave.
Tetsu Yamaguchi (Graduated in 1972, School of Commerce)

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