UTokyo – Princeton Joint Program “People and Culture of Japan in the United States: Past, Present, and Future” Held

[With the permission of the UTokyo NY office, we are pleased to include this article here which originally appeared on the UTokyo NY Office website.]


  • Professor Yujin Yaguchi (Vice President of UTokyo and Director of Center for Global Education)
  • Dr. Sho Shimoyamada (Lecturer at Center for Global Education, UTokyo)
    (2024年 3 月 10 日~3 月 17 日)

UTokyo’s Center for Global Education (alas UTokyo GlobE) hosted a winter program entitled “People and Culture of Japan in the United States: Past, Present, and Future” in collaboration with Princeton University. Eight UTokyo undergraduate students, who completed the Go Global Gateway program, and five Princeton undergraduate students participated in the program and studied together at UTokyo NY (March 10-14), Rutgers University (March 15), and Princeton University (March 16 and 17). In New York City, the students listened to lectures by distinguished guests and engaged in active discussions. The invited speakers were:

  • Ambassador Mikio Mori (Consulate General of Japan in New York)
  • Professor Jin Sato (Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia, UTokyo) “Navigating Global Career: Intentions and Coincidences”
  • Dr. Yoshiko Mito (Adjunct Assistant Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) “Genomic Medicine and Career Path in Science and Medicine”
  • Mr. Kent Yoshida (Co-head of Investment Banking America, Nomura Security) “Cross Boarder M&A”
  • Ms. Keiko Tsuyama (Freelance journalist) “Motivating the Japanese Audience to Understand What Exactly Democracy Is”
  • Dr. Joshua Walker (President and CEO of Japan Society) “The role and significance of Japan Society for the US-Japan relationship”

Professor Jin Sato shared his previous work experiences at Princeton and examined the impact of coincidence on his career development.

Talk by Professor Sato

One of the highlights of the week was a dialogue between Ambassador Mori, who is a UTokyo graduate, and the students of both institutions as they had the privilege of casually conversing with Ambassador Mori over lunch.

Dialogue with Ambassador Mori

Students were also impressed by Dr. Yoshiko Mito, who gave a brief overview of how she climbed up her career ladder after graduation from UTokyo. Mr. Yoshida talked about his career as a business professional at a New York-based Japanese corporation that works with many multi-national companies.

Talk by Mr. Yoshida

Ms. Keiko Tsuyama gave UTokyo students a glimpse into American presidential election and made students of both universities think about the difference and similarity between Japanese and American elections. 

Ms. Tsuyama and students at UTokyo NY

Dr. Joshua Walker reflected on his journey from his youth in Hokkaido to the scholar of Turkey to President of Japan Society. His personal story intrigued many students.

(Pic5: Talk by Dr. Walker)

Taking advantage of the location of UTokyo NY, the New York round of this program also included informal learning experiences in the city, such as a guided gallery tour at Japan Society and a classical music concert at Carnegie Hall, which is in the immediate vicinity of the office. The students also explored New York City by themselves, visiting museums, the headquarter of the United Nations, and other sites as well as eating together at local restaurants.

Gallery tour at Japan Society

On March 15, the students left New York City and visited Rutgers University to attend a lecture by Dr. Haruko Wakabayashi on the Japanese students who studied at the institution in the nineteenth century. Students learned about the commitment and hardship of these early Japanese students and later visited gravesites of some of the students who passed away before being able to return to Japan.

Campus tour at Rutgers University

Following the time at Rutgers University, students moved to Princeton. On March 16, they attended a lecture on the impacts of Japanese online games and manga in U.S. black communities by Dr. Akil Fletcher (The Society of Fellows, Princeton University), and another lecture on economic relations between Japan and the U.S. by Professor James Raymo (Department of Sociology and East Asian Studies, Princeton University).

Lecture by Professor Raymo

Through a variety of academic and non-academic activities, the students of the two universities formed a friendship. They were able to enhance their understanding and awareness of Japanese people and culture in the U.S. from multiple perspectives. In addition, Princeton students inspired their UTokyo peers to study and work in the U.S., and vice versa.

Selfie on Princeton campus