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Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr.)


“Waseda power” that can be observed from the alumni network and support for the alma mater

“Tomonkai” is the name of social groups of the Waseda University's alumni. More than 1,300 Tomonkai are currently registered, including local Tomonkai, overseas Tomonkai, work-related Tomonkai, etc. We interviewed the “New York Tomonkai,” which forms the basis of the alumni network in New York, and the “Toshikai,” which is promoting networking and collaboration among the alumni working as one of the following four professions; Gyoseishoshi (Certified administrative procedures specialists), Shihoshoshi (Judicial scriveners), Zeirishi (Tax accountants), and Romushi (Certified social insurance and labor consultants). Toshikai is also is actively supporting the Waseda university from educational aspects.

New York Tomonkai

It is forming a comfortable bound in the city where freedom and originality are respected.
It is planning to expand its interaction with the Yale Alumni Association.

Welcoming party of new members in 2009

Annual General Assembly meeting at the Harvard Club in 2009

New York Tomonkai, established in 1970, has currently about 300 members. It is the largest overseas Tomonkai in the world. It is organizing various activities including annual General Assembly meeting at the beginning of the year, meetings with its friendly rival, New York Mitakai (alumni network of Keio University), cultural lectures, and various recreational activities such as watching baseball games. Through these activities, it is promoting the interaction of the members across generations and professions. In 1993, New Tomonkai Tokyo Branch was also established by the members who went back to Japan from New York.

As one of the activities for the 125th anniversary of the Waseda University Alumni Association, the New York Tomonkai is striving to expand its interaction with the Yale Alumni Association. As part of this initiative, the Tomonkai is planning to participate in the local volunteer activity organized by the Yale Alumni Association. This activity is called “Yale Day of Service.” It is carried out in collaboration with the alumni of various partner universities and non-profit organizations, aiming at expanding networks through volunteer activities. On the third Saturday of May, under the leadership of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), the Yale alumni across the world participate in the local humanitarian activities. The New York Tomonkai believes that this is a great opportunity to give back to the local community and to meet with new people (Web: http://www.yaledayofservice.org/).

The following are the comments from the members of the New York Tomonkai about the group.

“Through New York Tomonkai, I could meet with wonderful senior and junior fellow alumni. I realize that “I am glad that I studied at Waseda” here in New York more than when I felt when I was still a student or working in Japan.”
Ms. Maiko Kitagawa (Graduated from School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I, 1999)

“The year of graduation does not matter to the New York Tomonkai. A new member may become the host of an activity on the following day of their enrollment. In addition to the official activities, there are also many small-scale drinking parties (Waseda nomi). The alumni, who had gained “free-mind” in a good sense at the University, are forming a comfortable bound in a city where freedom and originality are respected”
Mr. Tsuyoshi Hoshino (Graduated from School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I, 1985)

“The New York Tomonkai offers various activities for the members. It is a great place for me, still in my mid-20s, to build up precious connection and exchange information that can be hardly obtained in Japan.”
Mr. Takuya Mihara (Graduated from School of Human Sciences, 2007)

The New York Tomonkai continues to seek for activities that will enable the members to forget about the hectic daily lives for a while and rediscover the DNA of Waseda. We expect Waseda University to bring up many Waseda-like professionals who can perform in global settings and show the presence of Japan to the world.

Collaborators for interview = Members of the New York Tomonkai

“Toshikai,” a Tomonkai composed of four professions

It creates a big power with strong solidarity, just like the school spirit.
It wants to be the connecting point between the real society and the current students and be the landmark for them after graduation

At the General Assembly meeting of Toshikai, 2009

The Toshikai is composed of four Tomonkai groups; the tax accountants' Tomonkai, the Gyoseishoshi's Tomonkai, the Shihoshoshi's Tomonkai, and the Romushi's Tomonkai. The Toshikai was established in October 2004 to provide opportunities for the alumni with these qualifications to enhance networking, collaboration, and interaction. It is also intended to support the alumni who had recently obtained one of the four qualifications (tax accountant, Gyoseishoshi, Shihoshoshi, or Romushi) to develop networks in the field. Currently, total of approximately 900 members belong Toshikai.

From 2004, a “free consultation service,” a so-called “one stop service,” has been offered jointly by the four professions. By providing an opportunity for easy consultation, it was aiming at lowering the barriers to these services and enhancing the understanding of the four professions. This program gained a good reputation. Afterwards, upon the 125th anniversary of the University, it was suggested to give back the services to the educational aspects at the alma mater. Based on this suggestion, from 2008, a new special lecture called “Introduction to Business Law” (an open course for the students of all departments to obtain basic practical knowledge regarding the establishment of a corporation, corporate management, and issues around employment from legal and practical standpoints) began. This lecture is taught jointly by the alumni who belong to the Toshikai.

Thirty lectures during the first and second semesters are given by various professionals. As a result, the content of each lecture is limited. What we are hoping is to enhance the students' understanding in our professions. We hope that what they learn in the lectures will assist them in making decisions of whom they should consult to obtain efficient responses and taking prompt action when they face problems in the real world after their graduation. We believe this will enhance the reputation of the Waseda graduates by the corporations. Furthermore, the students can contact the Toshikai through the Alumni Association office and they can casually receive consultation as senior and junior fellows. We hope that Toshikai can also play a role as a consultation place for the students.

Free consultation service by Toshikai at the Tomon Festival 2009. It received great recognition.

In the future, the Toshikai wants to increase contacts with the students by strengthening relationships with the University. We also would like to strengthen our horizontal relationships within Toshikai members and continuously develop ourselves to live up to the 125 years of history of Waseda with the lessons from our seniors in mind.

The spirit in the Waseda school song no. 3 “After gathering and departing, people may change, but what we aim is the same; the light of ideal” is existing in the Toshikai. As the society becomes complicated, the amount of work that the professionals need to be involved, such as corporate recovery, has been increasing. Even though each member of the Toshikai work independently, the members can create a big power with strong solidarity. It is superb if we can build a network to respond to these social needs as alumni of Waseda.

Collaboration for interview = Kenji Sakai (Gyoseishoshi's Tomonkai, Graduated from School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I in 1968), Tei Eimo (Shihoshoshi's Tomonkai, Graduated from School of Political Science and Economics in 1971), Hisatsugu Fujiwara (Certified social insurance and labor consultants' Tomonkai, Graduated from School of Law in 1965), Hachiro Noto (Gyoseishoshi's Tomonkai) , Graduated from School of Law in 1963 and Graduate School of Law in 1968), and Kenichi Yamaguchi (Tax accountants' Tomonkai, Graduated from School of Commerce in 1973).

Scholarship system supported by the Alumni Association

The total costs which were spend for scholarship and Waseda University by the Alumni Association was approximately 185 million yen per year in 2008. This is about 42% of the University's internal scholarship donated by organizations and individuals.

In 2009, two new scholarships* were added. One is called “Mezase! Miyakono Seihoku Scholarship.” The scholarship is designed for the prospective students who live in remote areas and are going to take the entrance exam of Waseda University. The scholarship is secured to the students before the entrance examination so that the students can take the examination without worrying about the future financial aspects (called, pre-entrance exam reserved scholarship). This scholarship is to foster the University's tradition of having unique people from various parts of Japan.

The second new scholarship is called the “Support for Study Abroad Scholarship by Alumni Association.” This is to support the students who want to participate in the Individualized Studies Abroad (ISA) program of the Oxford University and Cambridge University which Waseda University has made an arrangement with. It costs about 3.7million yen for the program fee and 2.0 million yen for the airfare and living costs for a student to participate in the program. This scholarship enables excellent students who had to give up due to financial resources to pursue their dream of studying abroad.

Waseda University's scholarship system is at the top class as compared to the other private and national/public universities in Japan. The support from the Alumni Association is greatly contributing to enriching the scholarship system (*Benefit scholarship: Scholarship that does not require re-payment)

The Scholarships related to the Alumni Association
[All of them are benefit scholarships]
Name of scholarship Scholarship amount (2010) Number of beneficiaries(2010) Characteristics of the scholarship
Mezase! Miyakono seihoku scholarship 400,000 yen (Continuous for 4 years) Students who passed the entrance exam (Approximately 500 candidates are chosen for this scholarship. Only the students who eventually pass the entrance examination can receive this scholarship.) The applicant must be from the high school in remote areas. He/she should apply for this scholarship before they apply for the general entrance exam/center exam. Before the exam, the qualified students are nominated to receive this scholarship. The source of this scholarship is the donation by the Alumni Association and the refund from the use of the Waseda card by the alumni. Once the student passes the scholarship continuation review, he/she can continuously receive it for 4 years.
General scholarship supplied by the Alumni Association Under-graduate school 400,000 yen (Continuous for 4 years) 102 students (freshmen) The scholarship will be awarded to the students with financial difficulties (prefecture basis). Once the student passes the scholarship continuation review, he/she can continuously receive it for 4 years.
Other than under-graduate school Independent graduate school (400,000 yen), Distance Education Program of School of Human Sciences (300,000 yen) , Senior High School (200,000 yen), Honjo Senior High School (200,000 yen), Art and Architecture school (150,000 yen), Kawaguchi Art School (300,000 yen) Independent graduate school (56), Distance Education Program of School of Human Sciences (3), Senior High School (5), Honjo Senior High School (2), Art and Architecture school (1), Kawaguchi Art School (1) The scholarship will be awarded to the students with financial difficulties. The criteria are based on the students' family's income and their grades.
Support for Study Abroad Scholarship by Alumni Association 1,500,000 yen 5 students The scholarship is awarded to the students who will participate in the ISA program by Oxford University and Cambridge University.
Emergency scholarship by Alumni Association 400,000 yen 10 students The scholarship is provided to the students who experienced drastic change in their financial situation.
Top athletes' scholarship by Alumni Association Equivalent of annual tuition (appr. 1,050,000 yen, continuous for 4 years) 5 students Among the students who entered into the University through the top athletes' examination, 5 new students are awarded every year (the total of 20 students) . Once the student passes the scholarship continuation review, he/she can continuously receive it for 4 years.
Isoo Abe Memorial Scholarship by Alumni Association 400,000 yen 21 students (freshmen) The scholarship is awarded to the freshmen who left excellent results in sports during high.
Tomon Festival Scholarship 400,000 yen 33 students (the number of students will be determined based on the sales results of the gifts in the previous year) The scholarship is based on the sales results of the gifts, which are sold at the “Tomon Festival” every fall. The scholarship is awarded from sophomore to senior students with financial difficulties across departments.
Waseda credit card scholarship 300,000 yen 6 students The scholarship is from the refund by using the Waseda credit card. From 2009, the scholarship has been awarded to the students in the affiliated schools.

In addition to the above, there are many scholarships that are based on the donation by Tomonkai and the alumni.

The scholarship offer letter supported me.

Ms. Yoko Hida, Freshman, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I

My mother was the one who first found the information about the establishment of the scholarship, “Mezase! Miyakono Seihoku Scholarship.” The year before, I took the entrance examination to Waseda with uneasy feeling and failed. I felt uneasy because my parents were not supportive of me going to Tokyo to study for financial reasons. Even after the first exam, I did not want to give up and continued to prepare for the next year's exam at home, while waiting for a chance to go to Waseda. One day, my mother handed me a small newspaper article. When I read it, I realized that my parents had not been completely denying my dream. Instead, they were concerned and respected my dream, and I felt love from my family. I immediately wrote an essay with my thoughts from the past two years and submitted it, and I was selected as the scholarship student of the first round.

The most unique aspect of this scholarship is to allow the students to know its result before the entrance examination. The students with financial difficulties may not be able to prove their ability on the entrance examination, as there is no doubt that they have anxiety towards their future and frustration about their financial situation more than the other students. Indeed, I was like that when I took the examination for the first time. However, the sentence in the scholarship offer letter, “we wish you pass the examination and become a student of Waseda” made me feel that the University was encouraging me to “come and study at Waseda University.” This letter strongly supported me mentally at the nervous time before the examination. Thanks to it, I could start my life as a student of Waseda University.

Currently, in the midst of a bad economy, there are many people who give up going to University or unwillingly choose a University for financial reasons. However, I believe that a University is not a place to sustain a person but to explore a solid inner self and establish one. Just like I could achieve my goal through support of so many people, I sincerely wish that the University's scholarship system will be strengthened so that all students who want to study at Waseda University can pursue their dreams and goals in whatever situation.

Your shopping will lead to scholarship!
The “Waseda card” that will lead to supporting students

The design of the card will be renewed in April.

The Waseda card is a credit card that is issued by the University in collaboration with the Alumni Association and a major credit card company. The refund from the credit card company for use of the card will be applied to the scholarship of the current students. So far, the cumulative total of 1,184,806,182 yen became the resource for the scholarship (as of September 2009). This card can be also used as the library permit. The other special benefits include invitation to the Waseda sport (drawing) and reference to the professionals such as lawyers in Tomonkai. The “Waseda card” can be issued to the alumni, their parents, and the current students.

Request for information/inquiries
Waseda University, Office of the President, Alumni Affairs Section
TEL 03-3203-6284
E-mail: wcard@list.waseda.jp
URL: http://tomon.waseda.jp/wasedacard/