Sophia University has found its niche in Japan as one of the best internationally minded educational organizations in the country. Its history reflects this with their Jesuit roots, but in modern day Japan, the school is known for something far different. Having been conceived by Western educators, the at times perceived constrictions of the Japanese educational system are known to be less strict at this university. Not only does this entice the more open-minded, but also those with a bit of flare. Alumni include a whole slew of those within the entertainment industry; from actors to manga artists, Miss Universes and Lt. Sulu!
1 – George Takei
Famously known for his role on the original Star Trek television run, Takei’s career has branched off into realms more directly related to himself. Having been interned with his family as a Japanese American during WWII, his work as a human rights activist has won him recognition by both private organizations and the Japanese government. He is also a leading figure in the LGBT rights movement, something that has also garnered him international recognition.
2 – Hosokawa Morihiro
Hosokawa Morihiro was the 50th Prime Minister of Japan from 1993 until his resignation in 1994. He was the first non-LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) PM for nearly 40 years. Leading an eight-party coalition in opposition to the LDP, he campaigned against what he felt was bureaucratic corruption and nationalistic stubbornness on the international stage. Domestically, he helped institute the 40-hour work week as well as lowered taxes after the Japanese bubble economy of the early 90’s imploded. Internationally he reached out to Japan’s Asian neighbors in a gesture of good will following his statements concerning Japan’s aggressiveness in WWII, something that no Japanese PM had yet stated before his time. He resigned after being accused of corruption which he vehemently denied, and in his later years he ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Tokyo.
3 – Crystal Kay
Crystal Kay Williams, better known by her stage name Crystal Kay, is a chart topping J-Pop artist, having starting her career as a toddler and reaching fame in her teenage years. Over her career she’s sold over two million records and now is a successful radio host. She is of mixed heritage; her father is African American and her mother is Japanese-Korean. Kay was one of the first interracial celebrities to gain popularity within Japan, and thus she has opened the door for others like her in the industry to follow.
4 – Adolfo Nicolás
Father Adolfo Nicolas is Superior General (the highest ranking) Emeritus of the Society of Jesus (better known as the Jesuits). His studying at Sophia may have influenced him in his pursuit of his understanding and interest in the people of East Asian, having stated that he had still felt spirituality in his time there, despite the lack of Christian theology. Most of his career prior to his appointment as Superior General took place in East Asia, from Tokyo to The Philippines.
5 – Peer Schneider
Peer Schneider is currently the General Manager at IGN Entertainment, a popular video game and entertainment company. Schneider attended UC Berkeley’s graduate level journalism program after obtaining his bachelor’s at Sophia. In his off time, he began coding and chopping video clips and created a small website based around gaming journalism. Eventually he realized that this passion project of his was becoming something he could pursue full time.
6 – Jake Adelstein
After graduating from Sophia, Adelstein became the first foreign staff writer for Yomiuri Shinbun newspapers, one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the world. After twelve years Adelstein left and for a year worked for the US State Department, helping to uncover the sex trafficking industry within the Japanese criminal underworld. His first book, Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, garnered him both international acclaim and death threats from those whom it attempted to expose. He is still currently active within journalism.
Cover Photo: Sophia University