The TOMODACHI Initiative has partnered with UNIQLO to establish the TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellowship supporting the education of Japan’s next generation of business and fashion leaders. The first year of the program began in September 2013.
Under this fellowship, promising Japanese citizens who aspire to be globally-oriented business managers or fashion designers will receive a top U.S. graduate education in business and fashion.
|Graduate schools||:||Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York|
|Eligibility||:||Japanese applicants who have been accepted to the schools|
|Study Period||:||Full master’s degree program, up to two years (varies by school)|
|Program Term||:||Fellowship began in 2013|
up to $90,000 for Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
up to $150,000 for Parsons The New School for Design, School of Fashion
Students will be notified on how to apply to the fellowship once accepted into the school.
|Other Information||:||Training opportunities, including an internship, will be offered at Fast Retailing as appropriate|
- To see the TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellowship Reunion Event 2018, click here
- To see the TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows’ Experiences after Graduation, click here
Meet the TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
2020 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
NATSUMI AOKI was born in 1996 and raised in Kanagawa, Japan. She earned a BFA in Textiles at Tokyo University of the Arts, graduating in March 2019. After that, she moved to London to work toward a Graduate Diploma in Fashion at Central Saint Martins and completed the program in July 2020. While she was a student in Japan, she also studied pattern-making at Esmod Japon and worked for several Japanese brands such as BANZAI. She started her MFA study at Parsons The New School for Design in August 2020 and is working on establishing her aesthetic philosophy by blending her material and cultural experiences. Read More>>
2019 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
MARINA YAGI was born in Hiroshima and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Meiji Gakuin University, and got her associate’s degree in fashion design at Parsons. She gained fashion experience from jobs at KOZABURO, Engineered Garments, Antonio Azzuolo, and have a good time. She now attends the Fashion Institute of Technology(FIT), studying MPS Global Fashion Management. Her passion for fashion came from her mother, and hopes to start her own brand. She has learned how to make clothes and now she is gaining her knowledge in fashion business by studying at FIT. Read More>>
2018 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
MAYUKA INABA In 2008, Mayuka Inaba worked at the advertising agency ASATSU-DK INC., as a PR/event producer and foreign cosmetic and food brand account executive. From 2014, she began visiting the United States to learn about the field of experiential marketing. She planned and managed various events related to fashion and technology as a producer, and also worked in new business development at the production agency company Empire Entertainment Inc.. During college, she interned at Expecting Models, the world’s first modeling agency for pregnant women. She has played an active role in the Japanese and American advertising/marketing fields for about 10 years. Read More>>
KOUICHIRO YANGA is a fashion designer originally from Tokyo. After graduating from Toyo University in Japan, he moved to Paris to study pattern making and gained work experience at several French maisons. In 2017, he moved to Vienna to study fashion design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, under the direction of Hussein Chalayan. Currently, he works as a freelance fashion designer. He will begin school at the Parsons New School for Design this autumn 2018. Read More>>
2017 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
SHO KONISHI was born in Kochi city, Kochi prefecture, on July 24, 1991. He has won several fashion contest prizes, including “Creator of the Year,” and received a yearlong scholarship to study abroad from his school, Tokyo Mode Gakuen. After graduating as an honors student, he went to the United States and gained experience working at several fashion brands. While in the United States, he worked as a main assistant to costume designer Miodrag Guberinic, which led him to become an independent designer. He then moved to Paris to enroll in a Master of Arts program at the Paris College of Art Haute Couture/Haute Technology Fashion Design, where he also graduated with honors. Currently, he works as a freelance fashion designer. A central theme of his work is combining craftsmanship and high technology with art and fashion. Read More>>
ASAMI SUNAHARA has worked for Itochu Fashion System Co., ltd as a marketing consultant, and has experience planning and managing membership-based forums for various industries, as well as editing and writing for fashion marketing magazines. After moving to the U.S in 2014, Asami worked as a freelance planner for both the Japanese and North American markets, including providing business planning in the fashion industry, strategic marketing planning, and implementation support. Read More>>
2016 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
JUNKO ARAI was a co-producer at Universal Studios Japan, a theme park based in Osaka. With her strong aptitude for fashion, she oversaw and coordinated the production of various costumes for performers in many different live entertainment shows over the course of ten years. She obtained her undergraduate degree from New York University in 2000 and will return to New York City to pursue a master’s degree in Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the fall of 2016. Read More>>
KOTA OKUDA has a wealth of experience working in the jewelry industry and collaborating with fashion designers. Originally from Niigata Prefecture, he received his with first class honors at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London. Mr. Okuda focuses on fundamental creations that combine handcraft processes and hi-tech digital technologies (3D modeling and printing). He will study at Parsons School of Design and pursue a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) in the fall of 2016. Read More>>
- To learn about Kota Okuda’ experiences after his graduation from Parsons, click here.
2015 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
HIROKO HIRAKI was a Supervisor for the Merchandise Headquarters Import Division at Amina Collection, which sells and promotes international folklore items in Japan. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York from the fall 2015 semester. Read More>>
EIKO NAKANO worked at McKinsey & Company Japan as a business analyst and was on a temporary assignment at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). Through the TOMODACHI UNIQLO Fellowship, she will be pursuing a master’s degree at the Stanford Graduate School of Business starting fall 2015. Read More>>
NAOYO TOKI was a freelance journalist who has written runway reports from Paris, London, and Tokyo fashion weeks conducting interviews that have been featured in numerous media publications. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York from the fall 2015 semester through the TOMODACHI UNIQLO Fellowship. Read More>>
2014 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
YO DOUGLAS (TANIGUCHI) has a strong interest in fashion and has worked in the fashion media industry with companies such as Gilt Group and Conde Nast Publications. Upon graduating in December 2015 she became the Editorial Manager of Gilt Groupe Japan in New York City. Along with her colleague at FIT, Yui Yoshida, she published a Kindle book, “Executive Women in New York/Tokyo’s Fashion Industry”. Read More >>
- To learn about Yo Douglas’ experiences after her graduation from FIT, click here.
KEI YAMAWAKI has a strong background in business consulting, having working for firms such as Bain & Company. She has expanded to gain experience in the startup industry as she was part of the four-person team with Spotify Japan before starting her studies. She graduated in June 2016 and will work at IDEO in Tokyo from August 2016. Read More >>
YUI YASUDA has a background in Business Management and Fashion Industry, and has worked as a Buyer at Brooks Brothers in Tokyo. Through her education at FIT, she sought to confront environmental issues through corporate design. She graduated in December 2015 and is now a Consultant at Intellectual Capital Management Group, Inc. Along with her colleague at FIT, Yo Douglas, she published a Kindle book, “Executive Women in New York/Tokyo’s Fashion Industry”. Read More >>
KOPI AKASAKA has a wealth of experience working in the fashion industry. He received his undergraduate degree at St. Martins in London, and has worked in New York with brands such as A.A. Antonio Azzuolo and Thom Browne. He also has international experience in the design industry having worked with Tim Soar in London and Heaven Tanudiredja in Antwerp. His family is from Niigata and was impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th2011. Kopi’s core fashion focus is on creating hand-tailored products, and he continues to work to perfect his craft through this fellowship. He graduated in May 2016 and is working on his own clothing line. Read More>>
- To learn about Kopi Akasaka’ experiences after his graduation from Parsons, click here.
2013 TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellows
NATSUKO KOIKE has graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in December 2014 where she took part in an 18-month program in Global Fashion Management for her MPS. Originally from Tokyo, she completed did her undergraduate studies at American University, and worked at the Hakuhodo PR firm prior to pursuing her MPS at FIT. This fellowship helped to further her interest in developing a career in corporate social responsibility within the fashion industry. Natsuko is now working at the UNIQLO Fast Retailing Japan Office as their Global Marketing Manager. Read More >>
RYOHEI KAWANISHI completed his MFA in Fashion Design at Parsons The New School for Design. Originally from Tottori Prefecture, he received his undergraduate degree at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Knitwear and Design in London where his works reflected socio-political issues to raise awareness in public through fashion, and has been selected for multiple awards. Ryohei is now developing his own fashion line. Read More>>
SHINICHIRO MONOBE completed his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in May 2015. With a medical background in psychiatry and an entrepreneurial spirit, he came to the fellowship interested in bringing innovative business practices together with his medical background to bring Japan’s medical system to the next level. Since graduation he has successfully bridged the medical field and entrepreneurship together with his smartphone application, “Hifu miru” for doctors. Read More>>
Message from the Donor
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the American people and the U.S. Government for their strong support towards Japan, including Japan’s economic recovery and growth, over the many years that our countries have been friends. Your kindness and friendship were especially felt last March, when we experienced such a tragic event in Tohoku. The TOMODACHI-UNIQLO Fellowship is a new element of Fast Retailing’s ongoing commitment to contribute to society. Our role in the Fellowship is to open the eyes of, and indeed encourage, young talented Japanese people to become leaders in the areas of business and fashion by studying at top internationally-known U.S. schools.”
— Fast Retailing Chairman, President & CEO Tadashi Yanai