The idea of establishing in the U.S. a not-for-profit organization affiliated with the University of Tokyo (Todai for short) was proposed by the 28th President Hiroshi Komiyama (2005-2009) in 2006. His aspiration was to raise funds that would help his globalization effort for Todai, by supporting its collaborations with U.S. research universities. Being concerned about the recent declining interest in Japan among U.S. universities, one of his initial focuses was to promote “Japan study,” and Yale University was chosen as a partner because of an historical relationship between Yale and Todai (see

Organizational Chart

Milestones in the history and organization of FUTI

  • September 2007: Mr. Junji Masuda, the then president of New York Icho-kai (銀杏会)was appointed as President of Friends of Todai, Inc. (FOTI). The members of its Board consisted of Mr. Yasuo Fukushima (Certified Public Accountant) as Treasurer & Secretary, and Prof. Koichi Hamada (Economics, Yale University and Prof. Emeritus, University of Tokyo), Prof. Hisashi Kobayashi (Electrical Engineering, Princeton University), Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Executive Vice President, International Affairs, Univ. of Tokyo) who were all appointed as Directors.
  • June 2009: FOTI’s Advisory Committee (AC) was formed, with Prof. Hisashi Kobayashi as its Chairman and Mr. Motoatsu Sakurai (President of Japan Society of New York, Vice Chairman of New York Ichokai), Ms. Sumiko Ito (President, Arcadia Capital, Inc.), Ms. Nobuko Sakurai (Member of Board, New York Satsuki-kai), and Mr. Motomu Takahashi (Mitsui Corp) as advisory members. Mr. Ko-Yung Tung (Senior Counselor, Morrison Foerster) joined the AC in October 2009. Mr. Takahashi resigned in the spring of 2010 upon his return to Japan.
  • April 2011: Prof. Kobayashi became the new president of FOTI, succeeding Mr. Masuda who served as the founding president for almost four years, and became President-Emeritus. Mr. Yasuhide Watanabe (NO&T LLP) joined the FOTI Board as an interim Secretary. Mr. Sakurai became Chairman of the FOTI Advisory Committee (AC). The AC was expanded with five additional members: Mr. Shunichiro Kishioka, Dr. Yuichiro Kuwama, Prof. Geeta Mehta, Mr. Yasuo Okamoto, and Mr. Seiei Ono.
  • May 2011: Treasurer Yasuo Fukushima resigned on May 1, 2011, and Kobayashi became an interim Treasurer.
  • August 2011: The Board appointed Dr. Masaaki Yamada of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) to a newly created position, “Director of University Relations.”
  • December 2011: The Board appointed Ms. Sumiko Ito to “Treasurer and Director,” effective January 1, 2012.
  • January 2012: Award Selection Committee was formally formed. Its members included Dr. Masaaki Yamada (Chair), Prof. Hisashi Kobayashi, Dr. Masako Osako (Member of Board, Satsuki-kai America), and Ms. Nobuko Sakurai.
  • February 2012: The Board appointed Dr. Masako Egawa (Executive Vice President, University of Tokyo) as a FOTI Director, succeeding Prof. Akihiko Tanaka.
  • April 2012: Mr. Motoatsu Sakurai resigned from Chairman of the Advisory Committee. The Board appointed Mr. Shuta Kobayashi as Secretary for the Board, replacing Mr. Yasuhide Watanabe who had been an interim Secretary since April 2011.
  • November 2012: The Board appointed D. Yuichiro Kuwama as “Treasurer and Director” replacing Ms. Sumiko Ito.
  • January 2013: Mr. Shigenori Matsushita (Former President, Winks Communications) was appointed to join the Award Selection Committee.
  • March 2014: FOTI’s mailing address was changed to: 115 E. 34th Street, #416, New York, NY 10156, U.S.A.
  • May 2014: The Board approved the name change of Friends of Todai, Inc.(FOTI) to Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FUTI) on May 10, 2014. This amendment was approved on May 24, 2014, by the State Department of New York State. The name change was made in response to the University of Tokyo’s decision made in 2013 to change its English abbreviation from “Todai” to “UTokyo.” 「東大友の会」was appended to the new name as a Japanese translation of FUTI.
  • May 2014: On May 27, 2014 the Board of Directors of FUTI voted to elect Mr. Yasuyuki Sugiura, President of Mitsubishi International Co., and Mr. Motomu Takahashi, President of Mitsui & Co. (USA) Inc., both in New York, to its Advisory Committee. Mr. Sugiura succeeded Mr. Seiei Ono, a former AC member who returned to Japan in September 2013.
  • April 2015: The Board appointed Prof. Ken Furuya (Executive Vice President, University of Tokyo) as a FUTI Director, succeeding Dr. Masako Egawa.
  • September 2015: Dr. Masaaki Yamada became – President of FUTI, succeeding Prof.. Hisashi Kobayashi who, having served as the president for the past four and a half years, became President-Emeritus and Chair of the Advisory Committee (AC). Dr.Yuichiro Kuwama, formerly Treasurer and Director, became Vice President and Treasurer. Dr. Shigenori Matsushita became an FUTI Director and Chair of the Scholarship Committee.
  • October 2015: Mr. Takeshi Komoto (Executive Director of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) New York Office) joined the AC as a member.