WASEDA ONLINE

RSS

The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > News

News

Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza to receive generous monetary contributions-For Waseda to impart the concept of "International Youth Exchange Center"

On January 16th, Waseda University (Totsuka-Machi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; President: Kaoru Kamata) held a press conference at Ono Auditorium to announce donations it has received for the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza (4 Nakano, Nakano Ward, Tokyo) encompassing Waseda International Student House, which is scheduled to open in AY 2014. A personal donation of 300 million yen ($3.2 million) was made by Mr. Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President & CEO of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. and alumni (1971) of the School of Political Science and Economics. Furthermore, a group of renowned entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, including Mr. Ronald Chao and his friend Mr. Masaaki Ogino, have committed funds in support of the new facility. With the establishment of the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza and the generous support in the form of monetary contributions, Waseda University is determined to forge ahead with promoting throughout Japanese universities a concept of "international youth exchange center"-the idea long-shared by Mr. Yanai, Mr. Chao and Mr. Ogino which embraces to build a base for continuous, grass-root exchange that flourishes into long-lasting relationships based on mutual awareness and understanding. To this end, this new facility is aimed at providing a joint living environment for both international and Japanese students with the help of a variety of ample in-house educational programs.

Each participant discussed their ideas at the press conference

The four participants shook hands to show their resolve for expanding the concept of a center for international youth exchange throughout Japan

Based on the experience of living together with his fellow Japanese students at "Asia Bunka Kaikan," a student dormitory in Tokyo, during his time spent at the University of Tokyo, Mr. Chao discussed his belief that China and Japan should liberate themselves from the past and continuously promote exchange on the private sector level. According to Mr. Chao, such interaction will deepen awareness and understanding between the two countries, creating a sustainable friendship based on mutual trust. From this long-term perspective, Mr. Chao has sought to realize sustainable friendships through exchange among promising youth of the two nations by establishing international student dormitories, aptly named "China-Japan Youth Exchange Center," housing both Chinese and Japanese students. The initiative is already underway at five universities in China. Moreover, he seeks to broaden the scope of his activities by launching similar establishments at universities in Japan. Also providing support for our university is his friend Mr. Ogino from Hong Kong's business circle, who, along with Mr. Chao, advocates such exchange activities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Yanai, amidst increased demand for a global perspective in Japanese corporations, expressed his support for his alma mater Waseda University: in particular, the University's new International Community Plaza, with the hope that the dormitory located within the plaza will implement programs to encourage cross-cultural understanding and international exchange. Mr. Yanai also backs the activities of Mr. Chao, who he has known for 20 years, and wants Waseda University to be the originator of the concept, "International Youth Exchange Center," in Japan. These beliefs led Mr. Yanai to kindly make a personal donation.

As laid out in the medium- to long-term plan "Waseda Vision 150," Waseda University is committed to cultivating global leaders with a broad range of exceptional qualities and the power of insight, transmitting to society a new model for cultivating professionals, and fulfilling our responsibility to contribute to the society. The Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza represents a facility that strongly promotes the kind of education that is required to achieve these goals, adding to the significance of collaborative efforts between the private sector and universities in encouraging international exchange and to the private sector's active support rendered to the development of our international student house and the promotion of its educational programs.

Message from Mr. Tadashi Yanai

Mr. Tadashi Yanai

My first business opportunity in Hong Kong dates back 20 years; it was with Mr. Chao's company. I then learned that there are no national borders or industry boundaries in the world of business. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, my Hong Kong and Chinese business partners made large donations for the Japanese people. I wanted to do something to repay this kindness. I also wanted to do something meaningful for my alma mater Waseda University. I had been in complete agreement with Mr. Chao, and besides, had begun to develop a deep concern over the recent developments between Japan and China and the extreme danger in continuing such strained bilateral relations. That was when I heard from President Kamata that concrete efforts were underway to construct the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza. I had never imagined such a concept could be achieved so quickly, and I felt that the plaza being constructed at that time was a great opportunity. I would hope for it to serve as a wonderful International Youth Exchange Center, enhancing the bilateral relations based on friendly ties. For young people, I believe, nothing is as wonderful as lodging under the same roof with people from around the globe. Just the thought of it is truly exciting. Through my involvement in the project, I hope to repay my debts to Japan and China, including Hong Kong. The peace and prosperity of a society are essential to the business of manufacturing and selling clothes. I would like to offer my heartfelt prayers for the global peace and prosperity.

Message from Mr. Ronald Chao

Mr. Ronald Chao

Three years ago, I decided to work for the good of China-Japan friendship, no matter how small my contribution may be. Since then, at the very least, I have taken time to actively talk with my friends, explain my ideas and gain support. Thankfully, my actions have gained the recognition and support of many people in Japan. When I met with President Kamata last April, he proposed the concept of establishing an International Youth Exchange Center in the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza. Now, less than one year since that proposal, we are holding a conference in Tokyo to officially announce our plan for an international exchange center concept in concert with the centers at five Chinese universities. Not even an optimistic person such as me could have predicted that things would proceed so smoothly. Together with my good friends from Hong Kong who have been involved in the establishment and operation of the China-Japan Youth Exchange Centers in China ever since the start of the project, I would like to express my heartfelt joy at welcoming the establishment of the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza, which is the first facility in Japan to realize the concept of an International Youth Exchange Center. We will actively support this project and make every effort to advance friendly China-Japan relations.

Message from Mr. Masaaki Ogino

Mr. Masaaki Ogino

I first heard about the concept for this Japan-China Youth Exchange Center from Mr. Chao more than two years ago. I intuitively felt that the project was something which was truly needed then. Since then, I have done my best to help advance the concept. Japan has yet to develop "a culture of making donations". In addition to Europe and America, even Hong Kong has kindergartens, primary schools, junior high schools and high schools which were built from personal donations. Also, all of Hong Kong's universities have many buildings which were constructed through donations. However, when excluding some private schools, Japan has a surprisingly small number of buildings which were constructed through donations. This is particularly true for national and public schools. I am sure that there will be many twists and turns in the future, but it is important to constantly hold in your heart the meaning of exchange between youth in Japan and China. Currently, I feel that I must act as an intermediary between the donator and the receiver of the donation, sometimes fulfilling the role of glue and sometimes the role of a cushion. I believe in the infinite possibilities of the youth.

Message from President Kaoru Kamata

By coincidence, Waseda University's concept, Mr. Chao's concept and Mr. Yanai's ideas have resonated with the "Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza," leading to a scheme for supporting the construction of a large-scale international student dormitory through international cooperation, which is an unprecedented undertaking. However, this is not mere coincidence; rather, I believe that it is the inevitable outcome of history. Mr. Yanai, Mr. Chao and Mr. Ogino have committed to providing Waseda University with generous support. This is a precious opportunity for greatly advancing the internationalization of our university. I'm sure that it will provide a great stimulus to other universities and philanthropists.

Profile of Mr. Ronald Chao

Vice-Chairman of the Hong Kong corporation "Novel Enterprises Ltd". From 1958 to 1962, studied abroad at the Faculty of Engineering, the University of Tokyo. At that time, lived in Asia Bunka Kaikan, a student dormitory in Tokyo. Through life at the dormitory, built lifelong friendships with students from Japan and other Asian countries. Fifty years later, his concern over worsening China-Japan relations inspired him to try to improve public sentiment in both countries through communal life by young people. Donated 100 million RMB (approximately 1.3 billion yen) in personal assets to five Chinese universities (Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Zhejiang University) that have maintained academic agreements with Waseda University. At each university, as "China-Japan Youth Exchange Centers," advancing the construction of student dormitories where Chinese and Japanese students will live together. The dormitory at Peking University started operation in October 2012.

Profile of Mr. Masaaki Ogino

Chairman of the Phoenix Group, an international corporate group operating more than 20 companies in the fashion brand and retailing business. Born in Osaka in 1941. Graduated from the Department of Russian Language, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. After working at a trading company, became the Hong Kong branch manager of a trading company. After his branch was closed, became independent and established the Phoenix Group in 1970. The group grew into a major corporation based on knit products for Japan. Established factories in Shanghai, Vietnam and along Chinese borders. Concluded a contract with Prada in 1986. Established Anteprima as a private brand of the Phoenix Group and expanded it globally as a brand in the Milano Collection. From 1996, opened supermarkets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Shanghai. Currently, his group has been consolidated and is operated as Phoenix Group Holdings.

About the Waseda International Student House at the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza

This student dormitory is the central facility of the Waseda University Nakano International Community Plaza, which is scheduled to open in AY 2014 at 4 Nakano, Nakano Ward. The dormitory can house 872 residents and will promote the study of different cultures through communal living by students from Japan and a variety of other countries/regions. The dormitory consists of 11 floors constructed of reinforced concrete (some portions made of steel/PRC) and features a mid-story isolation seismic structure. The 3rd to 7th floors are men only, while the 8th to 11th floors are reserved for women. The 2nd floor contains a multi-purpose room, fitness room, music room, large communal bathroom, student lounge, and some rooms for male residents. The 1st floor is an educational facility which provides lifelong learning and is open to the community.