April 2023 Issue

Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship 9th Cohort Gather for East Coast Training

TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program 9th cohort participants visited Washington D.C. and New York for their East Coast Training. The participants were divided into two groups: the first visited from March 13-17, and the second was from March 20-24.

During the East Coast training, students participated in discussions with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA) executives and presented their experience studying abroad to SCOA staff. They also had a chance to visit the Consulate of Japan in New York and the Washington D.C. offices of SCOA headquarters.

Through the training, students had a series of insightful advice on life and work that resonated with them after experiencing adapting to a different lifestyle in the U.S. Read More>>

STEM Program Students Deliver Final Presentations

On March 27, TOMODACHI-STEM Women’s Leadership and Research Program's female university students majoring in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at Japanese universities presented the results of a five-week research internship program. Nine of the ten students, who completed the program in the U.S. during February and March, visited Dow Chemical Japan K.K., which supports the program. The presentations were viewed by 64 employees in person and online, including Patrick McLeod, President of Dow Chemical Japan K.K.

Students reported about their research activities, discussions with their professors and mentors, and impressions from their visit to an ethylene production plant in Texas.

In their five-week stay in the U.S., students found cultural differences, in female STEM professionals' working styles, for them to envision their future careers. Read More>>

TOMODACHI Initiative Intern: Miyu Nagashima

Miyu Nagashima is studying at UC Berkeley, majoring in international relations and law, and currently working for TOMODACHI Initiative as an intern. She has experience participating in a program similar to TOMODACHI and volunteering in Cambodia. She applied for the TOMODACHI internship opportunity to gain more international experience in how the U.S. and Japan work together in a people-to-people connection.

She says by working in the TOMODACHI program. She can learn how impactful these programs are for other students, the work behind the scenes, and how they start and are implemented, so it's a very valuable experience. We interviewed her about her internship experience. Read More>>

TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework: Orientations in Tokyo and New York

“I was able to figure out the road map to host an event and laid the groundwork for future events.” “Usually in a company, there is a vision which is communicated top down, but the concept of shared vision, where each individual has their own vision, was very inspiring and eye-opening.”

Felix Garcia, the Regional Representative of the New England Region, and Yumiko Miura, the Regional Representative of the Hokkaido Region reflected on the Orientation for the TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework that was held in-person for the first time and took place in Tokyo for the Japan-based RRs on March 18-19th and in New York for the US-based RRs on March 25-26th.

Regional Representatives had the chance to understand more about the U.S.-Japan Council and TOMODACHI community, have a clear sense of the goal for this year’s regional activities, and start planning for their upcoming events, as well as to get to know each other more and nurture a peer-support network.

If you would like to help plan events in your region as a Regional Core Committee member and would like to be connected with the Regional Representative of your region, please email us at alumni@usjapancouncil.org.

TOMO-KIN Spring 2023 with Special Guest: Mr. Fukuda from Prudential

On March 19, over 30 TOMODACHI alumni and Watanabe Scholars gathered at a casual gathering called TOMO-KIN in Tokyo. Masataka Fukuda, Corporate Vice President at Prudential Gibraltar Financial Life Insurance, attended as a guest and made Welcome Remarks. He mentioned in his remarks that “as in the business world, sometimes continuing is more difficult than starting something new. This is because continuing is not simply a matter of doing the same thing, but also of responding to changes in the environment in a timely and appropriate manner, creating new value as needed, and gaining recognition for that value from customers. I believe that the Alumni Program has continued to be valuable in this way because of the wonderful updates from people like you who have served as Regional Representatives in the past.” 

Alumni from various programs and industries got to know each other through speed dating-style networking, a fun raffle, and some omusubis and light refreshments that signified U.S.-Japan relations. This TOMO-KIN was extra special as the 2023 Japan-based Regional Representatives were able to attend, bringing special treats from their regions across Japan. De’Jia Long-Hillie, the Regional Representative of the Kansai Region commented that she felt a greater sense of community by meeting lots of alumni and would like to create a similar gathering in her region as well.

Prudential has been generously supporting us since 2014, and this is the 10th year of their support of the TOMODACHI Alumni Leadership Program.

TOMO x USJC U40 Mixers in Tokyo and New York

On March 18 and 25, TOMODACHI alumni and members of USJC’s U40 communities met in Nakameguro, Tokyo and Soho, New York respectively. TOMODACHI Regional Representatives across both the United States and Japan attended each respective event as part of a two-day regional representative orientation retreat. Both events were supported by the USJC Japan Region Co-Chairs in Tokyo and USJC New York Regional Committee in New York City. 

Alumni MCs Announced for the Next Generation Summit 2023

One of our two panels at the TOMODACHI Next Generation Summit this year focuses on studying abroad. Our talented alumni MC will take you all sessions.

  • Kanako Yamagami: TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program (2019-2020)
  • Tristan Norman: TOMODACHI Kakehashi Inouye Scholars Program (2018)

Read their bio and sign up here.

USJC Japan's New Executive Director, Masahiro (Mark) Ikeno, Spoke about his Aspiration

The TOMODACHI Initiative is happy to announce that Mr. Masahiro (Mark) Ikeno will join the U.S. Japan Council (Japan) on May 1 as the Tokyo-based Executive Director, succeeding Ms. Junko Tsuda upon her retirement. 

Mark served as the president and CEO of NEC Corporation of America and has over 35 years of extensive sales, marketing, business development, and management experience. 

He shared his aspirations upon accepting the position. "I would like to make every effort to expand further and develop the TOMODACHI Programs, which aims to foster the next generation of leaders in Japan and the United States and promote exchange and activities to bring about innovation and increase resilience in our society,"

Mr. Ikeno is a certified professional coach who could help establish the vision, and result-oriented practical executions could benefit the next generation of leaders in various TOMODACHI Initiative programs.

TOMODACHI Opportunities 

Interns, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) & TOMODACHI Initiative (remote)
The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) and the TOMODACHI Initiative are currently seeking interns. The internship offers an exciting environment where interns will be exposed to the non-profit, corporate, and government fields simultaneously. Responsibilities include creating and drafting documents, translation, website management, social media management, newsletter development support, public speaking, communication with program participants, designing presentations and posters, and event planning. 
For more information and to apply, click here.
Program Intern, TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni (remote)
The Program Intern will assist the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Alumni Coordinator in the area of programming for the TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni Leadership Program. Reports to the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council. This position requires conveying and dispersing information from TOMODACHI Alumni Affairs to the TOMODACHI alumni community, as well as the broader U.S.-Japan Council community. 
For more information, click here.
Please send applications to alumni@usjapancouncil.org.

Update from Team TOMODACHI - April 2023

For donors, supporters, and friends of the TOMODACHI Initiative and the TOMODACHI Generation.

Led by the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges and leadership programs.