Donors’ Messages

As we did for the previous issue of our Newsletter, we asked several people among recent generous donors  to prepare a message.  The following donors (listed in alphabetical order) graciously responded to our request.  We hope that their messages will touch  a chord and help us achieve success in the fundraising campaign of FY2013-2014, by encouraging all other Friends of UTokyo to give contributions in the remaining two months.
Teruaki AokiTeruaki Aoki
President, Sony University
1964: UTokyo, Applied Physics, B.S.
1969: Northwestern University, Material Sciences, Ph.D.
1970: Joined Sony Corp. Director (1989), Executive Director (1996).Sony Electronics, Inc. President& COO (1998), Sony Corporation Senior Corporative Executive Officr.2005-present, Sony University, President.
Currently serving also as Vice President, Sony Education Foundation, and as Advisory Board member of Northwestern University, Kellogg School.

Get exposed to a different culture, especially when you are young.
In looking back, I keenly feel the importance of the above message. Based on my own experience of having studied abroad (after graduating from the Applied Physics Department of UTokyo, I studied at Northwestern University for five years to earn my Ph.D.), I strongly urge UTokyo students to study in the U.S., and U.S. students to study at UTokyo.
It was quite a while ago that I lived in the U.S. for the first time as a student. At that time I came to realize how distorted a view I had held about America and American people while I was in Japan. At the same time I often rediscovered nice things about Japan in a new light, which I had not noticed before I left my country. I did not work in the U.S. after graduation, but thanks to my study experience in the U.S. I was able to join Sony Corporation and was twice given opportunities of international assignments in the U.S., where I could play an active role in global environments.
The human network that I built while I was a graduate student in the U.S., and the network of the Japanese people whom I met while working in the U.S. both helped me greatly in many critical situations that I encountered in conducting my business. Both America and Japan, despite their enormous difference in history and cultures, share common values in politics and economics.
In the globalizing world of the future, it will be increasingly important that the two nations work in close cooperation, underpinned by our mutual understanding of each other. I wish that FUTI can make a contribution, no matter how modest, towards this goal.

Tohru AsamiTohru Asami
Professor, School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo
1974: Kyoto University, B.S. in Engineering
1976: Kyoto University, M.S. in Engineering
Doctoral degree:University of Tokyo, Information Science and Technology
1976: Joined International Telegraph & Telephone Co. (now called KDDI), Director of KDD Lab(1993), Managing Director of KDD Communications (1996), President of KDDI Lab (2001), Vice Chairman (2005). Joined the faculty of UTokyo in 2006.

The word “Black company” (meaning a company that exploits its employees) is prevalent in Japan nowadays. The Japanese word “労働” (pronounced “Rohdoh,” meaning “labor work”) was created in the Meiji Era, when the Japanese scholar translated books published in America and Europe. Thus, this word is listed in Chinese dictionaries as a word of foreign origin, coming from Japan. In other words, this word did not exist in the Kanji culture of East Asia at that time. The absence of such a word means that there was no such concept either.
Japan created various new words in such a manner, while it came into contact with Europe and America from the Meiji through Showa periods, and these words helped us enrich our own view of the world. I do not think that those periods were merely a hundred years of “increased national prosperity and military power.” These concepts have by now become so ingrained that we may mistakenly think that we have held these concepts since ancient times.
Such a progressive spirit of Japan has weakened, however, after the 1980s when Japan had caught up with the West, and it has gradually become an insular society, where the people tend to remain within the country. This tendency is found even among the people who work in the mass media industry, espousing globalism with their appearance of being progressive at a glance. Even the nuclear power plant issue, for instance, is seldom discussed in Japan as an international problem. I think the problem should be discussed from the viewpoint of Spaceship Earth.
Education is a kind of brainwashing. Therefore, you cannot break away from the mindset of your native country, if you remain in the country, whether it being Japan or not. I would encourage you to leap forward overseas, while you are young with a flexible mind, and get to know people with different views, and grow to become a person with imaginative capability.
Then you will understand that a war is by no means an unimaginable event, and you will appreciate that you have been raised in Japan. I believe such individuals, regardless of majoring in science or the humanities, will be the ones who can carry the world of the next generation on their shoulders.

Ito_150Sumiko Ito   
Arcadia Capital, Inc. President
1970-1974: UTokyo, Dept of Economics, B.A.
1974-1980: The Ministry of Welfare
1978-1980: The University of Oxford, M.Phil.
After having worked for Strategic Planning Associates (Washington ,D.C.), Nomura Securities International, Inc. (New York) and Alex, Brown & Sons (Baltimore, MD), she formed he own company, Arcadia Capital, Inc. in 1991.

Recently I received an e-mail from UTokyo’s Alumni Office, saying, “Do not miss the Home Coming Day of October 18th of this year. It is very important since this is your 40th year reunion after your graduation.” For a moment I was tempted to deny it, thinking that I was not that old. However, the Alumni Office is always right about such records. Soon I confirmed that 40 years have indeed elapsed since my graduation, and then I became a bit nostalgic by looking back at my life.
The four years at UTokyo were the period when the core of my character was formed and the forty years thereafter were the period when that character has gradually developed to what I am today. I feel that the four years I spent at UTokyo, from 18 till 22 years of age, were such a critical period. While I was at the Komaba and Hongo campuses, I felt that I was “approaching maturity” day by day. Here, I do not mean “maturity” in the usual sense of exercising common sense and behaving like a majority of people in the society, but rather it is recognizing that the world is full of diversity and that one individual’s way of life is merely one of many possible alternatives within that diversity. There were many learning opportunities outside the classroom as well – meeting friends at such places as co-op book stores, the Kemigawa sports ground, seminars with Prof. Tsutomu Ouchi, hand-ball club (I was the Club’s manager), coffee shops, bars, and mah-jong parlors near the Komaba and Hongo campuses. Of course, we did not have cell phones at that time; Facebook and LINK were beyond our imagination, yet we did not have difficulty in meeting new people and nurturing friendships. The only problem was that I was one of the four girls out of 400 in my class who majored in economics. Probably that may be the reason why people often say that my character is mannish!
I have helped FUTI since its inception in order to get UTokyo known to people in the U.S. and to assist UTokyo’s internationalization, by serving first as a member of FUTI’s Advisory Committee and as its Board member in the last two years. I make small donations to FUTI every year, because I want to help American students study at UTokyo through FUTI’s scholarship program.
Furthermore, I think FUTI provides wonderful opportunities for UTokyo students to build self-confidence by nurturing their diverse potentials through cultivating friendships with these American students.

Okubo_150Sadayoshi Okubo
Professor Emeritus, Dokkyo University
Representative Director, Royal House Ishioka
1959: Graduated from UTokyo, Faculty of Education. Joined Mainichi Newspaper Co.
1961: Graduated from UTokyo, Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies
1961: Studied at Graduate Schools of Stanford University and Princeton University, (Majored in Behavioral Science)
1964: U.S. Congressional Fellow
1967: Tokai University, Dept. of Public Relations, Assistant Professor
1978: Fulbright Exchange Professor (UCLA)
1980-2006: Dokkyo University, Professor, 2006-present: Prof. Emeritus

I was asked to write a message of support for Friends of UTokyo. Because my donation is a small amount, I was hesitant to do so. But when the Editor asked me again, I reluctantly took up my pen. But as I started writing, numerous memories of my young days came back to mind, and I have ended up with writing this rather long message. When I recall my old days, I feel full of gratitude to American people whose donations helped me meet so many people in diverse fields, which helped shape my character.
Among my old memories on the verge of being forgotten, such scholarships as the ones from Princeton University, the U.S. Congress, and the Fulbright program sprang to mind as unforgettable ones, because they were so crucial in cultivating my mind. I came to realize that these scholarships add up to a substantial amount, and pleasant memories of my young days, full of “surprises,” returned vividly to my mind. As I pondered on what my life would have been like, had I not received those scholarships, my deep sense of gratitude has welled up, after all these years.
While I have never been asked to pay back the scholarships that I received in America, the scholarship program of Japan demanded me to “repay.” Furthermore, I was appalled to find that the Japanese scholarship charged even “interest.” About 10 years ago I said to Mr. Masajuro Shiokawa, the then Minister of Finance, “I think the scholarship of Japan is not really a scholarship, but it is a loan. We should abandon the rule for repayment of the scholarship.” I further mentioned: “If we are demanded to repay the scholarship, we would lose the sense of appreciation, thus the scholarship would lose its effect. The reason why Japan cannot nurture global human resources is precisely because of such a poor approach to the scholarship.” Mr. Shikowa said, “You are right,” and expressed his opinions on the committee within the National Diet and the need to reform the Ministry of Education, as I recall. Since then the Japan Scholarship Foundation in the Ministry of Education has been restructured, but the “Refund and interest payment” policy seems to have remained unchanged.
It is often said that there is no “donation culture” in Japan. But one cannot give a donation, unless asked to do so. Furthermore, one must have a sense of gratitude. Ito International Research Center was built on the former site of “Gakushikaikan” (the University Alumni Association Building), and the magnificent new building of UTokyo’s Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies was constructed on a site different from its former building, thanks to the gift from Benesse Corporation. These large-scale donations are “real estate.” What is needed is a scholarship that can be spent by young students, as they wish, to help their character formation.
The most important role of the scholarship is human resource development. It is important to let young people recognize the preciousness of money and learn how to spend it in a way that is useful to one’s own character building. I feel that Japan can develop human resources by providing more flexible scholarships.
Some people may say: “It would be wasteful to give money that can be spent as they wish.” But I would say that Japan has been unable to build a creative society filled by imagination, because our budget allocation has been handled by people who have not learned how to spend money wisely. Without a “playful mind,” there would be no room for the “donation culture” to sprout up, and our young people would not be able to generate such splendid and global ideas that are unseen and unthinkable to us the Japanese. Unless we allocate the donated money with unfettered thought and let young people with unconventional minds spend the money according to their own free wills, Japan would become an uninteresting and insipid society.
The scholarship program of the Japanese government should get rid of its loan character and turn it into a true scholarship that young people can freely spend. By so doing, we will give opportunities for young people to get out of the unimaginative way of thinking so ingrained in the Japanese. It would also lead to a society where the flower of a “donation culture” would blossom.

Tung_250Ko-Yung Tung, Esq.
Senior Counselor
Morrison & Foerster

1970 B.A. Harvard College
1973 J.D. Harvard Law School
1973-1974: Fellow, The University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law
1999-2003: World Bank, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
2000-2003: ICSID, Secretary General
2003-present: Morrison & Foerster

To My Fellow UTokyo Alumni:
I would like to share with you some aspects of my personal life and my thoughts about UTokyo, our alma mater. I was born in Beijing, China, but grew up in Tokyo, before going to the United States for high school and university. While a student at Harvard Law School, I realized that my understanding of Japanese law was inadequate to deal with the fast-paced legal developments affecting the United States and Japan. This was in the early 1970s when Japan was rising to be a world economic powerhouse, the time Harvard Professor Ezra Vogel wrote the bestseller book “Japan as Number One”.
So I matriculated in the Law Faculty of UTokyo with the focused intention of learning about Japanese law. Surprisingly (though not in hindsight), the most important thing I learned was not Japanese law itself, but it was about Japan, its people, its culture, its values. My UTokyo professors were invariably patient with me as a gaijin to explain the underlying sociological and historical genesis of laws; my fellow students treated me as their own peer in including me in their frank opinions. Though I was at UTokyo for only one year, it was an invaluable lesson that has served me well in being able to deal with dynamic global issues, both professionally as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The World Bank and personally as someone who inhabits both Western and Eastern cultures.
UTokyo is not just a place to get a degree; it is a place that shapes us. In fact, “alma” means “nurturing” and “mater” means “mother” – UTokyo is like our nurturing mother who cares for us, who teaches us, who makes us what we are. It must not be taken as granted. We were privileged to have received UTokyo’s nurturing. That is why I ask each of you, Japanese or foreign, to support your alma mater. I trust that you got a lot out of UTokyo, and it is now up to each of you to give back to UTokyo so that it can continue to educate the leaders of tomorrow’s world, whether in law, medicine, arts, business, literature or any other field.

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