Over 190 attendees came out on November 8th to participate in the 2019 Reunion and to celebrate the opening of the New TUJ Campus in Setagaya-ku.

It was amazing to have so many alumni - the largest number in recent years – come together. And for those who unfortunately could not join us for the party or during the week of festivities, you can read about all the events below. Join us next year!

The 2019 TUJ reunion was organized as a central part of the official opening week of the new TUJ campus that also included several separate celebrations all commencing on Wednesday, November 6th.

A ribbon cutting and the kagamiwari ceremony were held in the mid-afternoon Wednesday on the lawn or hiroba of the new campus. This celebration was followed by a degree ceremony honoring Showa Women’s University (SWU) Chancellor, Mariko Bando, who was awarded a doctorate of Public Affairs, honoris causa, by Temple University. The conferral ceremony took place at the Hitomi Memorial Hall at SWU and was followed by a reception back at the new TUJ campus.

The evening reception was held in the TUJ Parliament and Cafeteria that were transformed for the night into a party venue with live music. Individuals who have supported the development of TUJ and the construction of the new campus were invited, including major donors, individuals from the international business community, neighborhood leaders, contractors and vendors, as well as guests from SWU and other universities, high schools, and friends of TUJ. Everyone enjoyed a night with representatives from Temple University and the Board of Trustees visiting from Philadelphia, along with TUJ staff and faculty.

On Thursday, November 7th, the party continued with Community Day. This American Style festival was opened to all and featured various performances throughout the day including singing, instrumentals, dance, shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and samurai art. One of the highlights was a performance by Aisha, a star singer and TUJ alumna. Guests also enjoyed a wide selection of international foods served by local restaurants as well as carnival-style games and activities, including pumpkin carving, balloon art, caricature artists, a wax workshop, and student-made films in the evening.

Mamiko Taira with her bandmates – Satoshi Inoue and Daiki Yasukagawa

On Friday, November 8th, the 2019 TUJ Reunion was held in the new Parliament space. Many alumni arrived early and joined the campus tours, and many were heard to comment that they would be happy to relive their college life on a campus like ours! The doors opened at 7 pm, and Mamiko Taira, a professional jazz singer based in NY, and a 1992 graduate of Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance welcomed the guests along with her bandmates – Satoshi Inoue and Daiki Yasukagawa.

Paul, left, Bruce, middle, Sylvie, second from right
Paul, left, Bruce, middle, Sylvie, second from right

Other distinguished guests that night included Dr. Paul Curcillo, the President of the Temple University Alumni Association who is also a Temple University Trustee and Board member, and Sylvie Gallier Howard, First Deputy Commerce Director, City of Philadelphia. Following the opening remarks by Bruce Stronach, Dean of TUJ, Paul Curcillo offered a welcome speech, extolling the importance of alumni to the success of the university. Sylvie Howard then presented a formal Tribute and Proclamation from the Mayor of Philadelphia to Temple University. After a Kampai, the party kicked off with music, food and great wine.

All the wine served at the reunion party was from Hasumi Farm and Winery. The owner, Nick Hasumi, is a 1995 graduate of Temple University, Philadelphia and has been producing wine in Nagano since 2005. His winery is located in Tomi city and he also runs a related café nearby in Ueda city. As many alumni know, Typhoon Hagibis hit that area badly and it is still recovering economically. As part of the recovery efforts TUJ donated 10% of the cost of the evening’s wine to charities assisting on the ground locally. Nick Hasumi donated 5% of the cost with TUJ matching the difference. The donation has been already made to the Red Cross Nagano.

This year’s reunion was particularly special as it also featured a performance by two members of the TUJ Class of 2008, Yuri Sekine and Kisen Calligraphy Miami. The alumnae performed the collaboration of Spanish dance, flamenco and Japanese calligraphy, Shodo. Yuri Sekine has 15 years of experience of Flamenco dance and recently was a semi-finalist in the CAF Flamenco Contest 2019. Currently, besides her main business in education and talent management, she performs Flamenco at Spanish restaurants in Tokyo.

Kisen Calligraphy Miami, flew from Florida specifically for this performance. Kisen earned the Master of Pen Calligraphy and the Semi Master of Brush Calligraphy through 17 years of practice and experience. Recent career highlights include: working with rappers Wave Loads (featuring Peedi Crakk) in a music video, having her young students invited to display their work on the stadium field of Major League Baseball’s Florida Marlins, and having Japanese musician and songwriter, Yoshiki, receive a scarf featuring her calligraphy during his recent visit to the University of Miami.

Kisen currently teaches elementary and junior high school students at Miami Hoshuko in addition to her other work. At the end of their performance, Bruce Stronach was called by Kisen, and asked to have a brush. And he wrote one bar in red. Kisen drew the Temple “T” logo with a message of congratulations to the new TUJ campus, but left it incomplete in the bottom. Bruce Stronach finished it in one stroke. All the guests applauded this unique ending!

There were also several prizes for the business card drop. At the party’s end at 10pm, many alumni lingered and didn’t want to leave, saying it was one of the best reunions ever.

Thank you to everyone again for making this year’s reunion success. If you would like to visit our new campus, please come anytime. And here is to the continuing and future success of TUJ.