Friends of UTokyo needs your support!

Dear Supporters of Friends of UTokyo, Inc. (FUTI):

I trust that everyone is healthy and in good spirits as the autumn nights grow colder. It is now more than ten years since the inception of FUTI, and I am full of gratitude to all the generous contributions we receive every year in support of our primary focus, the FUTI Scholarship programs. As we had announced in our Newsletter No. 19, the 2018 FUTI Scholarship program was able to award 30 scholarships, including the Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship which is in its third year. Of those 30 awards, 18 (six University of Tokyo students and 12 students at U.S. universities) are for the summer programs and 12 (11 University of Tokyo students and one student from a U.S. university) are for the Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship.

This year, in addition to Teruo Fujii, Executive Vice President of University of Tokyo, who became a board member last April, we welcomed Takatoshi Ito, Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, Tai Hasegawa, president of the Henry Taube Institute, and Junji Takegami, Managing Partner of Tiger Pacific Capital LP, to the FUTI Advisory Committee, strengthening the organization even more. In recent efforts to globalize itself, the University of Tokyo has introduced new measures to encourage more students to exchange new ideas with foreign colleagues, broaden international views, and build up a desire to study abroad. As a result, there are more students now who are eager to study internationally. It gives FUTI great encouragement to see our Scholarship recipients grow a great deal and succeed in various global competitions. Additionally, we continue to give research grants supporting Columbia University and Yale University in their research exchanges with the University of Tokyo. All of this is made possible through the support and generosity of your donations and I would like to express my sincerest gratitude.

The Friends of UTokyo also collaborates with alumni organizations such as the Akamonkai and Ichokai who provide opportunities in New York and all over the world to UTokyo students in order to help as many of our young colleagues as possible to succeed globally and become leaders in Japan and abroad.

As our treasurer and vice-president Yuichiro Kuwama emphasizes in his letter, individual donations are more important than ever. We are enormously appreciative of your contributions and belief in our mission, and we ask for your continued support to maintain and cultivate our programs.

Yours sincerely,
Masaaki Yamada
President, Friends of UTokyo, Inc.

A Message from the Treasurer:

Thanks to your generous support, donations from individuals increased slightly in 2017-18 compared to the prior year. To accept large gifts, we must stay qualified as a public charity. Maintaining this status requires that the total amount of individual gifts be at least a third of all donations. Donations from our individual supporters are the foundation for large donations, making every individual gift three times more valuable. It is essential to have as many of our supporters as possible to contribute.

I believe the easiest methods for donating are either online by making a secure credit card payment or sending a check by mail. For those who prefer sending a wire transfer to FUTI, please email donation[at] for instructions. We will send you the necessary FUTI account information to complete the transfer.

Yuichiro Kuwama
Vice-President and Treasurer, Friends of UTokyo, Inc.

Eri Furusawa

  • Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation/Urban Program
  • Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship Program (2016-2018)

With the Ito Foundation U.S.A.-FUTI Scholarship I was able to study Urban Planning at Columbia University in one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. At the graduation ceremony this May, I received the American Institute of Certified Planners Outstanding Student Award, a prize granted to one student in the graduating class for outstanding performance. After graduation, I have been working in the Urban Design and Zoning Division at the New York City Department of City Planning. This position enables me to marry my architecture education from the University of Tokyo and my planning expertise from Columbia, and I will strive to absorb everything I can in order to contribute to Japanese cities in the future.

Natsuki Furukawa

  • University of Tokyo, Pharmacology, MA Program, 2nd year
  • Global Leadership Program (2015)

With the FUTI scholarship, in 2015 I took biology courses at the Harvard University summer school where I became acutely aware of the depth of cancer issues and the high social expectation for cancer research. My experience at Harvard was not only a catalyst for my cancer research, but also a strong motivation to study at a foreign facility, which led me to my internship in structural biology at Oxford University last summer. I am very grateful for the support from FUTI, which has given me such a valuable experience three years ago.

David Burke

  • Northwestern University, Chemistry, PhD program
  • FUTI Global Leadership Award (2016)

I found the UTRIP program at Mitsuhiko Shionoya’s bioinorgnic chemistry laboratory to be a highly rewarding and beneficial experience that shaped my future research interests and career plans. I’m currently enrolled in the Chemistry PhD Program at the International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, conducting research under the supervision of Professor William Dichtel. Our work is focused on designing new membrane technologies capable of performing environmentally relevant chemical separations such as water purification and desalination.

Ayu Yoneda

  • University of Tokyo, Medicine, 6th year
  • FUTI Global Leadership Award (2018)

I did a pediatric clinical clerkship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School. It was a very valuable to experience medical practice in the United States. I was struck by the speed at which research results are reflected in clinical practice. In the New York Life Science Forum sponsored by the Japanese Medical Association (JMSA), United States, I received the Award for Excellence in the Student Division. I am determined to develop myself further by taking advantage of what I have learned.