Next Generation Summit 2023
- Kanako Yamagami TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program (2019-2020)
Kanako Yamagami is an alumna of the 2019-2020 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program. The program greatly helped her figure out what she wanted to pursue in her career, and she currently works in marketing for a U.S.-based IT company.
Beginning in middle school, her passion has been to promote cultural exchanges between Japan and other countries, and she participated in more than ten international programs/student conferences during her student life. She spent three semesters of her college life in the United States; two semesters in Boston participating in an exchange program and working as a committee member of the Boston Japan Festival, and one semester in Denver working for a U.S. Congresswoman as part of a program hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
- Tristan Norman TOMODACHI Kakehashi Inouye Scholars Program (2018)
Tristan Norman is an alumnus of the 2018 TOMODACHI Kakehashi Inouye Scholars Program and a 2020 graduate from Hendrix College. At Hendrix College, he designed an interdisciplinary major in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with a thesis focused on climate adaptation, social innovation, and green growth in Japan and China. Currently, he is part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme in Kami-cho, Hyogo and is a Programs Officer at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) Tokyo. Since graduating from university in 2020, he has interned at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in the Youth Unit at the UN Headquarters in New York where he worked on youth climate advocacy.
At YPFP Tokyo, he helped co-organize and design a 2022 Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) for Japan, a youth-led and youth-focused UN climate change conference, supported by the youth constituency of the UNFCCC (YOUNGO), focusing on promoting youth empowerment and climate action leading up to COY17 and COP27 in Egypt. This conference featured many TOMODACHI alumni as speakers! Tristan is particularly interested in how we can utilize multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approaches to design a more sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient future. Tristan is passionate about mountaineering and wants to pursue a career in international affairs focused on sustainable development.
Here are the moderator and panelists for the panel discussion on studying abroad.
- Hiroko Okutani Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program（2016）
Hiroko Okutani is an alumna of the 2016 Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program. She is currently working as a Business Development Manager at KUROFUNE Design Holdings Inc., operating an international student dormitory brand called “U Share” in Tokyo. Based on her experience with the TOMODACHI program and other intercultural experiences, she aims to bring more diversity and inclusivity to the Japanese education system. She also studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland when she attended Kyoto University. As for her professional career, she worked for Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. in the International Investment Division and worked for an American real estate company WeWork in the past. As a side business, she also works as a mental health counselor at Smart Counseling Office, a 100% subsidiary of Smart HR Inc. For the Next Generation Summit 2023, Hiroko will be moderating the panel “Study Abroad – Its Impact and Empowerment for Future Generation”.
- Marina Yoshimura Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship Program（2017-2018）
Marina Yoshimura is a recipient of the U.S.-Japan Council’s Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship Program. From 2017 to 2018, she studies abroad at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. She is currently working as a civil servant focusing on political affairs and defense. She has an academic background in political science and global affairs and professional experiences with public-private partnerships and aid. Using her experiences in journalism and menstrual rights advocacy, Marina co-produced a documentary on menstrual rights and stigma in Japan called A Bloody Taboo, which won the Award of Excellence and the Senses of Women Award in 2021. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS) at Waseda University.
- Tokuyasu Endo TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program （2021）
Tokuyasu Endo is an alumnus of the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program 2021. He is currently enrolled in the Faculty of Economics at Kyoto University. With the scholarship, he studied for one year at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in the summer of 2021. After returning to Japan, he took a leave from school for half a year to focus on his job hunting. In order to increase his knowledge and improve the skills required for the finance-related positions he hopes to gain, he plans to study abroad in the United Kingdom for six months in the fall semester of 2023. He participated in the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference and the Next Generation Summit 2022. He was born and lives in Osaka, Japan.
- Shunsuke Hayasaka TOMODACHI Summer SoftBank Leadership Program（2017）
Shunsuke is an alumnus of the TOMODACHI Summer 2017 SoftBank Leadership Program. After participating in the program, he became interested in English and enrolled at Miyagi University of Education to study English Education. While at university, he had hoped to study abroad at a partner university. However, due to the spread of the coronavirus, the dispatch of international students was temporarily suspended, so he studied abroad through The Canada-Japan Co-op Program which gave him the opportunity to work at a local business while studying business marketing and customer service at a community college in Vancouver. From April 2023, he plans to return to Miyagi University of Education to conduct research on English Education.
PANEL on Women’s Empowerment
- Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks
Program Development Committee Chair, USJC
Assistant Professor, Department of Asian and Asian American Studies and former Associate Dean, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts Loyola Marymount University
- Miku Yoshiba TOMODACHI Metlife Women’s Leadership Program (2015)
Miku Yoshiba is an alumna of the 2015 TOMODACHI Metlife Women’s Leadership Program. Since completing the program, she has remained actively involved in activities provided by the U.S.-Japan Council and TOMODACHI Initiative. In 2017, she interned at the U.S.-Japan Council Washington DC office through the Internship Development Young Leaders Program organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan and the U.S. Department of State. In 2023, she organized a workshop celebrating International Women’s Day for U.S.-Japan Council members and TOMODACHI alumni residing in the Washington DC area. Currently Miku works as a business consultant at PwC Consulting Co., Ltd., while pursuing a Master’s Degree in System Design and Management at Keio University since 2022. Most recently, she went on a study abroad program at Politecnico di Milano in Italy, where she studied design thinking, strategic innovation, and other subjects. Miku has a rich history of participating in various overseas programs since her high school exchange program in Pennsylvania, USA. She is highly skilled at showcasing her leadership abilities in diverse environments.
- Ayaka Kasamatsu TOMODACHI STEM Women’s Leadership & Research Program (2019)
Ayaka Kasamatsu is an alumna of the 2019 TOMODACHI STEM Women’s Leadership & Research Program. When she participated in the TOMODACHI STEM Program, she conducted research on extracellular proteins during the formation of the cornea at Rice University in the United States. She received her B.S. and M.S. from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Tokyo, and is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology at Stanford University where she is working on the mechanisms of cell migration involved in cancer metastasis and other developmental diseases related to her research experience in the TOMODACHI STEM Program. Ayaka is a recipient of the Graduate Fellowship from the Nakajima Foundation in 2022.
- Naha Takashima U.S. Embassy-Keio SFC-TOMODACHI Entrepreneurship Seminar (2018)
Naha Tahashima is an alumna of the 2018 U.S. Embassy-Keio SFC-TOMODACHI Entrepreneurship Seminar. While studying abroad in the U.K. during university, she realized the gap between Japan and the U.K. in sex education and co-founded Genesis with the support of the TOMODACHI program. She has been involved in various awareness-raising activities, including the production of a sexual consent handbook in collaboration with Kyoto City, sexual consent workshops conducted for a total of over 2,000 people, and the development of an app to redefine sexual values between partners. After working as an intern at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, she graduated from Kyoto University in 2019 and is currently working at an IT company where she is in charge of product planning in the new business development office. In 2023, she co-chaired the “Aikata Lab”, which conducts product development and research for healthy relationships and is expanding the scope of her range of activities.
Closing Remarks Speaker
- Yuuki Sato TOMODACHI Summer 2016 Softbank Leadership Program (2016)
Yuuki Sato is the alumnus of the TOMODACHI Summer 2016 Softbank Leadership Program. He became interested in a farmers’ market that he visited during the program in the United States and was involved in activities to implement a farmers’ market while growing his own vegetables back in Japan. In the process, he became interested in community development from the residents’ side, but he thought he needed to know what kind of organization and role the government plays in order to do so, so he entered Fukushima University’s School of Public Administration and Policy Studies. While still in school, he began to tell stories about the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that struck his hometown Fukushima, so he focused his studies on reconstruction administration. After graduating from the university, he started working for an educational non-profit in Fukushima and is involved in teaching product development at high schools.
- Miku Hayashida TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities (2021)
Miku Hayashida is an alumna of the TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities 2021. While in college, she studied social work and self-advocacy as a person with disabilities in Japan and the United States. Currently, while working as a social worker in the field of supporting employment for people with disabilities, she is also actively involved in advocacy activities to share her story as a wheelchair user in various fields, based on the concept of “creating a society where people can continue to be who they are, whether they have a disability or not.”
- Shun Kumagai TOMODACHI Suntory Music Scholarship (2014)
Shun Kumagai is an alumnus of the TOMODACHI Suntory Music Scholarship. In 2014, he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the United States. He graduated from college in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music and enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music in 2017. Since his stay in the U.S., he has performed at events attended by former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, was invited to perform at the private residence of Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, and has performed at ceremonies and receptions related to the U.S.-Japan relationship. He has performed energetically in the U.S., including with world-renowned bassist Dave Holland. In 2019, he received a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and moved his base to Japan. Currently, he performs as a guest performer at corporate events and ceremonies, and holds his own concerts “BEBOP EXPRESS” and “BOP CASTLE” sponsored by the Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. and Suntory Holdings Limited. He has held high-profile jazz concerts with a total attendance of more than 4,000 people.