ABOUT U.P. TOMO-KAI

U.P. TOMO-KAI is a fourteen-year-old organization that started from the pursuit of seven students who were interested in the Japanese culture and language. With this interest came their desire to promote their newfound interest to the Filipinos and also serve as instrument in fostering mutual relations and understanding between Filipinos and Japanese.

For 14 years, we have proven our worth as a vital instrument in fostering and strengthening the better relations and understanding between Filipinos and Japanese. The organization's annual exhibits of various Filipino and Japanese arts, usually held during its anniversary, have been one of the most admired presentations in the university. The organization also conducts series of learning seminars where the members and the Japanese interact and eventually gain better awareness of each other's culture.

There is the bimonthly Saturday Nihongo with the Filipica, a group of Japanese housewives who has become very much a part of Tomo-Kai's success through its lessons about the Japanese language and culture, and the Japanese tutorials offered to members in order to keep honing their Japanese language proficiency.

U.P. Tomo-Kai keeps contact with its sister club called SEAC (Southeast Asian Club) in Soka University in Tokyo, Japan. It is also often called upon by U.P.'s College of Education to take part in activities involving Japanese students who come here for a month of Intensive English Education program. When Japanese students from Meiji Gakuin Daigaku and other Japanese universities visit, the organization makes it a point to conduct learning seminars or fun-filled activities and gatherings, which will make their stays memorable. The organization has out-of-town trips together with the Japanese, touring them around various parts of the Philippines. It also keeps in touch with U.P.'s very own Japanese students residing for a longer time (usually for one year) in U.P.'s International Center.

U.P. Tomo-Kai is also affiliated with the Japan Foundation Manila Office (JFMO), which sponsors the organization's annual Filipino-Nihongo Speech Contest which is a smaller version of the nationwide Nihongo Speech Contest of the Japan Embassy every February wherein Tomo-Kai members always participate and constantly win awards.

The organization's newsletter, called Tayori, is a collection of articles, essays, poetry and news about the organization, U.P., Japan, and the Philippines. U.P. Tomo-Kai sends this to its alumni and other contacts such as the Japanese Information and Cultural Center (JICC) and JFMO.

It is the dream of the past and present members of U.P. Tomo-Kai to further our undertakings. Moreover, these are not only concentrated on culture itself but also on the meaning of friendship. The various activities help foster amiable relations between Filipinos and Japanese, also between fellow Filipinos, specifically through Out-Reach Programs that we hold at least annually.

Supported by the department's Japanese language teacher Mr. Junji Katagiri, Dr. Sylvano Mahiwo of U.P.'s Asian Center, Dr. Pamela Constantino of the Filipino Department, and Ms. Mary Ann Gaitan of the Linguistics Department Tomo-Kai aims to cater to the students' needs to learn more about the Japanese and Japan and equally promote the Filipino language and culture.