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(December 18, 2023) An online networking event for current students and alumni working in the Americas held, co-hosted by six UTokyo alumni associations in the Americas, student group GERNE and UTokyo Office for Alumni Affairs

On December 16, 2023 JST (December 15, 2023 PST), an online networking event for current students and alumni was held with a view to provide students an opportunity to directly talk with UTokyo alumni currently working in the Americas, co-hosted by six UTokyo alumni associations in the Americas including San Francisco Akamon-kai, Satsuki-kai America, UTokyo Alumni Association in Washington DC, Chicago Akamon-kai, Seattle Tansei-kai, and Todai Chiri-kai; GERNE, a UTokyo student group that plans and organizes online international exchange events; and UTokyo Office for Alumni Affairs.
Many alumni with various backgrounds gathered from the Americas. Students who are interested in studying at US graduate schools as well as working in the Americas applied for the event. In total, 26 alumni and 23 current students participated in the event. Staff members included Mr. Koichi Sato, President of the San Francisco Akamon-kai, Mr. Akitaka Moriyama from GERNE, and Mr. Kiyokazu Tomoyoshi and Ms. Kazuko Fukumi from the UTokyo Office for Alumni Affairs.
Three 30-minute breakout room sessions were held, and each breakout room, with titles such as Tech, Venture Capital, Startup, Marketing, GAFAM, Study Abroad, Research/Thinktank, International Institutions, etc., was hosted by related alumni.
Also, rooms for exchanging among alumni were set up in order to strengthen alumni networks.
Most of the students gave favorable comments as follows:
・The event gave me the opportunity to directly listen to alumni who play active roles in the US.
・I now have a clearer vision about studying abroad.
A similar event inviting alumni working in Europe and current students will be held around next May.

(November 13, 2023) Report on the Lecture and Social Gathering hosted by FUTI

Friends of UTokyo Inc. (FUTI) hosted a lecture and social gathering with Dr. Yuichi Shimada, Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University on Friday, November 10, 2023 (U.S. Eastern Time; Saturday, November 11, Japan Standard Time). The topic of the lecture was “Interacting with Doctors in the US: From the Viewpoint of a Practicing Clinician.” Dr. Shimada discussed unique features of medical/healthcare practice in the US, which was of great interest to the audience. His discussion included topics such as 1) the diversity of the MDs' specialties (e.g., primary doctors vs. specialty physicians) and hierarchy in the profession (e.g., interns, residents, attending physicians); 2) healthcare insurance systems; and 3) the role of language interpreters in the US medical practice. Nearly 60 people registered for the lecture. Their comments included: “The lecture was useful for understanding the complicated medical/healthcare system in the US”; “I wish more Japanese people living in the US could have known about this lecture”; and “In principle, medical interpreters are supposed to be available, if needed, at hospitals and physicians’ offices, but, in actual practice, they are not.” During the social gathering that followed the lecture, the participants were divided into three groups for casual exchanges. Group 1 was led by Dr. Shimada, while Group 2 was chaired by Dr. Yuichiro Kuwama, Vice President of FUTI and Director of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Tokyo Marine Memorial Clinic. These two sessions discussed medical care in the US. Participants in Group 3 had a good time exchanging recent personal news and topics related to living in the US. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Shimada and everyone who supported this event. Organized by: Friends of the University of Tokyo (FUTI) Supported by: Satsuki-kai America, New York Icho-kai, University of Tokyo New York Office, Washington DC Area University of Tokyo Alumni Association, FUTI Alumni Association

Brief biography of the lecturer:
Yuichi Shimada, Associate Professor of Cardiology, Columbia University Medical Center, USA. Dr. Shimada graduated from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine in 2007, where he received his US medical license while still a student. After initial training at Asahi Chuo Hospital and the University of Tokyo Hospital, he worked as a resident and chief resident in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital. From 2012, he was a specialist resident in cardiology at Harvard University Brigham and Women’s Hospital; from 2015, he was an instructor in cardiovascular medicine at Harvard University Massachusetts General Hospital; and in 2017 was appointed Associate Professor of Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center. On the research front, he received his Master of Public Health (MPH) from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2014 alongside his clinical training, and as the head of a research laboratory since 2021, he has been a recipient of multiple research grants (R01 grants) from the NIH. He is the author of “All About Studying Medicine in the United States” and “All About Studying Medicine Abroad.”

(November 13, 2023) Dialogue with Yukio Tanaka: “Reflections of a World Bank Professional on the Changing World and Japan”

On July 28, 2023 (US Eastern Time) (July 29, Japan Time), an online dialogue with Yukio Tanaka, an alumnus of the University of Tokyo who works at the World Bank, was held. This event was organized by Friends of UTokyo, Inc. and Satsuki-kai America. The event was a great success, with a total of 30 participants from the United States and Japan, representing various backgrounds. (

Mr. Tanaka currently holds the position of Senior Water Resources Specialist at the World Bank. Since 2017, he has been involved in World Bank projects in over 30 developing countries.

During the dialogue, Mr. Tanaka presented on the following five topics using slides: (1) the World Bank, (2) the world seen through water issues, (3) sample case studies of World Bank projects, and (4) Japanese individuals venturing onto the global stage.

Many participants expressed enthusiastic responses. Their comments included, "I was very inspired not only by the explanation of your specialty but also by your discussion of building an international career," and “In Japan and the coastal areas of the United States, water resource shortage is not a familiar issue. The lecture was very easy to understand, even for a layperson like myself, and it deepened my understanding of the water resource problem that we need to address."

In the Q&A session that followed the dialogue, many individuals from diverse backgrounds who are active in both Japan and overseas participated, resulting in a meaningful exchange of opinions and questions. Here are some examples:
Participant: Which regions around the world are experiencing water shortages?
Tanaka: You can easily imagine the Middle East, but surprisingly, China and the United States are also regions where water shortages are a concern.
Participant: What is the proportion of natural factors and human factors causing water shortages?
Tanaka: Although it is difficult to pinpoint a definitive percentage to answer the question, population growth is a major contributing factor.
Participant: Mr. Tanaka, please tell us your opinion regarding irrigated agriculture.
Tanaka: Irrigated agriculture is not widely practiced in Africa, which is experiencing serious food shortages, even though this type of agriculture has the potential to significantly increase agricultural production. We believe it is important to create a viable system for areas where irrigated agriculture is not currently common, and this will be a challenge for the future.
Participant: Is the use of desalinated seawater being considered in areas with water shortages?
Tanaka: Seawater is used for agriculture in some parts of the world, like Spain. However, seawater desalination requires energy usage and is costly, so we believe there are still many issues to address regarding the use of seawater.
Participant: What kind of mindset does someone who received education and worked in Japan need to have in order to have a fulfilling career in an international agency like the World Bank?
Tanaka: When a person steps out of the comfort zone of a "homogeneous culture" like Japan to work at an international organization, it is essential for them to actively voice their opinions and make suggestions, rather than simply following what their superiors tell them. Additionally, rather than associating only with people who share similar values and backgrounds, it is important to embrace diversity (including race and gender). I don't think the observation, "It is only over drinks that we can discuss really important issues," is valid in the international community.

Finally, Professor Atsushi Tsuda, Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo, delivered the following closing remark: "I believe that we need to find ways to communicate to younger generations the importance of the issues Mr. Tanaka discussed in the second half of the event, including (1) the necessary qualifications for Japanese individuals to be effective on the global stage and (2) the creation of mechanisms to encourage challenge and change. I wholeheartedly wish continued success for Mr. Tanaka, who has built a successful career on the global stage, much like Mr. Shunsuke Mabuchi, who delivered a congratulatory address at the University of Tokyo’s matriculation ceremony this year."

In response, Mr. Tanaka concluded, "Today, I had the opportunity to interact online with a diverse group of people, from experienced senior professionals to energetic young individuals, and it was very stimulating for me. When I have conversations on similar themes with my usual acquaintances, we often arrive at already familiar observations and conclusions. In that sense, it was extremely valuable and refreshing for me to engage with people from different backgrounds in an event like this."
During the social gathering ("Konshinkai") that followed, many participants remained and continued lively discussions.

Author: Satsuki America Event Team (DC/New York)
Note: The views expressed at the event represent those of the speaker and not necessarily those of the World Bank.

(October 24, 2023) Networking events for overseas alumni held online during Homecoming Day 2023

Networking events for overseas alumni associations were held to coincide with Homecoming Day 2023.

In consideration of the time zones, a morning session was held for alumni in the Americas, while an evening session was held for alumni in the rest of the world.

In the morning session, UTokyo Alumni Association of Canada-West Chapter, Satsuki-kai America, Stanford, Silicon Valley Akamon-kai, The San Francisco Akamon-kai, Greater Washington DC Area U-Tokyo Alumni Network, and Todai Houston Gakuyu-kai participated with 40 attendants while in the evening session, 
UTokyo Alumni Association of Singapore, UTokyo Alumni Association of Philippines, Todai Beijing Friendship Association, Shanghai Icho-kai, UTokyo Alumni Association of India, the University of Tokyo Alumni Association in the UK, Europe Akamon-kai (France), Swiss Alumni Association of the University of Tokyo, Tansei-kai Nederland and Melbourne Akamon-kai participated with 36 attendants.

Both sessions consisted of a message from President Teruo Fujii followed by a Q&A session, then the semi-global Akamon-kai, where each association explained its own activities, and free discussion under the specific themes of "How to support students via overseas alumni associations," "How to maintain and expand alumni organizations," "Gender gap in UTokyo" and "Industry and academic collaboration with UTokyo."

Most of the participants gave favorable comments such as:
・The President's message on the current state of UTokyo was very informative.
・It was a valuable opportunity to exchange information and ideas with UTokyo alumni across the world.
・Activities of other alumni associations were introduced, which was very helpful.

We would like to have a similar event also next year, taking into account several suggestions given by the participants to further improve the content.


(July 3, 2023) Satsuki-kai and Satsuki-kai USA Co-host Joint Event "Insights into Mental Health Care in Japan and the United States: Perspectives from the Field"

Satsuki-kai and Satsuki-kai USA successfully organized a joint event, "Insights into Mental Health Care in Japan and the United States: Perspectives from the Field,"on June 9, 2023.

The event focused on mental health care and featured three experts who actively work in the field from both Japan and the United States.

The presenters shared valuable insights into the current state of mental health care in both Japan and the United States. Following their presentations, engaging discussions and Q&A sessions took place, creating an interactive dialogue within the Satsuki-kai community. The event attracted a total of 56 participants, including current students from the University of Tokyo and attendees from overseas.

Event Details: Date: June 9, 2023 (Friday)
Time: 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time)
Format: Online

Overview: Each of the three presenters delivered a 15-minute presentation, which was followed by an exchange of ideas and responses to pre-submitted questions. Additionally, the event included breakout sessions where participants were divided into four groups for 20-minute discussions. The presenters actively participated in these breakout sessions as well.

• Yasuko Tanaka: Graduated from the Faculty of Economics in 2006, graduated from law school, and passed the bar examination in 2009. In 2021, she launched the AADA helpline for Japanese residents in the United States in partnership with the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston.

• Mai Uchida: Graduated from Hokkaido University School of Medicine in 2007, completed psychiatry training at Yale University in 2011, and child psychiatry training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, in 2013. She is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and co-author of "The Future Predictions of Geniuses".  On April 20th, 2023, she published a new book on "Social Justice Pediatric Psychiatrist Examining Society". She is also a mother of 3 children.

• Chiyoko Uchida: Graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo, majoring in Agricultural and Horticultural Chemistry, in 1977. After completing undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Education, graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 1985. She practiced psychiatry in the United States and Switzerland. She has worked as a professor at Ibaraki University Health Management Center, Fukushima University (Special Needs), and a graduate school for working adults. She is planning to open the Uchida Mental Clinic in Yokohama in July this year.

The presenters discussed the situation, characteristics, and disparities in mental health care between Japan and the United States. They also highlighted specific examples of the significance of mental health care for children. Emphasizing that seeking mental health care should not be stigmatized, the presenters stressed the importance of raising awareness and working collaboratively as a society, including healthcare professionals, to address mental health issues. The presenters also explained the differences in insurance and healthcare systems related to mental health care between Japan and the United States. They further delved into how the United States responded to children's mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the breakout sessions, participants actively shared insights on maintaining a neutral position as counselors and the importance of counselors and therapists seeking their own counseling due to the nature of mental health consultations. The event provided a valuable opportunity for individuals of various age groups to deepen their understanding through active discussions, encompassing both medical care and counseling support for those seeking help.

The event received positive comments from the participants, with nearly 90% of survey respondents expressing high satisfaction with the event.

(May 29, 2023) Student group GERNE and UTokyo Office for Alumni Affairs hold an online networking event for current students in cooperation with alumni associations in East and Southeast Asia

On May 27, 2023, student group GERNE and the UTokyo Office for Alumni Affairs held an online networking event for current students in cooperation with Todai Beijin Friendship Association, Shanghai Icho-kai, Tansei-kai (Singapore) and alumni from UTokyo Alumni Association of Phillipines and UTokyo Alumni Association of Indonesia.

Alumni with various backgrounds gathered from China, Singapore, the Phillipines and Indonesia. Students who are interested in studying at Asian graduate schools as well as working in Asia signed up for the event. In total, 12 alumni and 19 current students participated. Group and university staff members included Mr. Koichi Sato from the San Francisco Akamon-kai, who held the same kind of event in the U.S. last May; Mr. Junichiro Ui and Mr. Akitaka Moriyama from GERNE; and Mr. Kiyokazu Tomoyoshi and Ms. Kazuko Fukumi from the UTokyo Office for Alumni Affairs.
Three 30-minute breakout room sessions were held, and each breakout room, with titles such as Startup, Research, Trading Company, Bank, Government, Women, etc., was hosted by related alumni.
Many students gave favorable comments, including:
・Had an opportunity to listen to rare and valuable information from people on the ground and career experiences that cannot be obtained through the internet, and started to build a network with alumni, which likely will last long.
・Had an opportunity to listen directly to alumni who play active roles in various areas in Asia.
・Since the number of people in the breakout room was small, it was easy for me to ask what I wanted to know.
Steering members plan to hold a similar event inviting UTokyo alumni working in the US, maybe in the fall.

(May 10, 2023) Greater Boston UTokyo Alumni Club Hosts a Get-together Meeting to Coincide with the Visit of Professor Teruo Fujii, President of the University of Tokyo

On April 30, 2023, the Greater Boston UTokyo Alumni Club hosted a get-together meeting to coincide with the visit of Professor Teruo Fujii, President of the University of Tokyo. President Fujii along with Professor Takao Someya, Executive Director and Vice President, Professor Toshiya Watanabe, Executive Director and Vice President, and Masaki Kato, Secretary to the President, visited Boston to attend and present a speech at a workshop which was hosted by Greater Tokyo Biocommunity and held inBoston.

Nineteen alumni who are currently living in Boston attended the above meeting and shared their experiences of living and working in the United States.

It was the first time for the Greater Boston UTokyo Alumni Club to host an event since the pandemic. All the participants enjoyed having conversations over a nice dinner and seemed especially happy to receive updates on the latest news of UTokyo. 

One of the issues the Greater Boston UTokyo Alumni Club faces is that members come and go so fast that building a middle and long term relashionship is difficult.

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