Located in Fukuoka, a culturally rich and largest city of the island of Kyushu, Kyushu University is primed to, and has cultivated a distinguished list of alumni. Also known as ‘Kyuudai’, Kyushu University was founded in 1911, and has since produced many alumni who have pioneered all sorts of research and activities on the global stage.

The alumni of Kyushu university are incredibly diverse, and still maintain strong connections to the university and with each other. Various departments in the university have their own specific alumni associations – for example, the Department of Earth Resources Engineering and the Department of Material Science and Engineering has its own alumni association called ‘Koinkai’ which comprises over 4,000 members. Kyushu University’s international reach is also strong, and various countries, such as the United States and China, host their own country or state-specific alumni associations.

Some of Kyushu University’s most illustrious alumni are:

Koichi Wakata

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata. By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Dr. Koichi Wakata is as of April 2018 the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Vice President, as well as the Director General Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate. Dr. Wakata completed his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate studies all at Kyushu University before starting his career as an aircraft structural engineer for Japan Airlines. Consequently, Dr. Wakata was selected by JAXA to be an astronaut candidate in 1992, after which he made a number of significant accomplishments, such as setting a record in Japanese human space flight history for the longest space stay, and for being the first Japanese Mission Specialist on the STS-72 in 1996.

Kyozi Kawasaki

Dr. Kyozi Kawasaki is a Japanese physicist who graduated from Kyushu University with his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Physics, before heading to Duke University in the United States to obtain his Doctorate. After his graduate studies, Kawasaki held teaching positions at numerous universities both in the United States and Japan, with Kyushu University being one such example. Kawasaki was awarded the Boltzmann Medal in 2001, a prize conferred by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Commission on Statistical Physics for significant contributions to the field. Kawasaki pioneered work in statistical mechanics, and also received a number of other science prizes such as the Nishina Memorial Prize in 1972, and the Toray Award for Science and Technology in 2001.

Yasuhiro Yoshiura

Yasuhiro Yoshiura at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival. By Dick Thomas Johnson, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
In addition to achieving a variety of scientific accomplishments, the alumni of Kyushu University also hold significant positions in the fields of the arts and the humanities. One such person is Yasuhiro Yoshiura – a writer, director, and creator of numerous animated short films. Yoshiura studied art engineering at Kyushu University, and one of his first short films – Mizu no Kotoba – won the ‘Excellent Work Award’ in 2003 at the Tokyo International Anime Fair – one of the biggest anime fairs in the world. He has continued to create and direct many well-regarded short films, such as the Time of Eve, and the film Patema Inverted, which ended up winning prizes on the international stage at festivals such as the Edinburgh’s Scotland Loves Animation Festival, and the Chicago International Film Festival.

Feature image is Kyushu University Ito Campus during Summer 2015. By Jtpfbardon [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons. Image retrieved from: