It began with a sign. Tsuyoshi Matsumoto, a professor at Japan’s University of Tsukuba, was visiting Jackie Goodway, professor of kinesiology, to plan the seventh Tsukuba Summer Institute (TSI).
International colleagues for a decade, the duo had organized six sport and physical activity institutes for college students in Japan. During that Columbus visit, Goodway hosted Matsu, as he is known, at an Ohio State football game.
In Ohio Stadium, Matsu spied a sign advertising Kubota. The company, with a tractor plant near his university, is a global producer of tractors and construction and turf equipment.
Matsu thought of Mikio Fukunaga, Kubota’s retired system engineer, as well as the first head coach of Tsukuba University’s American football team during Matsu’s college days. Excited, Matsu approached his friend.
Would Kubota be interested in supporting Ohio State students to attend the groundbreaking TSI?
Fukunaga took the idea to his college friend, Nobuyuki Toshikuni, Kubota’s former president. Toshikuni agreed that students would benefit from attending TSI at Japan’s premier sport and technology university. They also would tour Kubota to learn about precision manufacturing of equipment that drives farming worldwide.
“TSI offers an outstanding opportunity for students to become global citizens,” Goodway explained. “They learn from Japanese sport masters about traditions of kendo, kyudo and more.”
“Graduate students choose research or lab experiences,” said Sue Sutherland, associate professor of kinesiology, who plans and teaches at TSI. “Each team of students from different countries focuses on a global challenge in sport or physical activity, such as childhood obesity or the benefits of exercise for Alzheimer’s disease. They design a project to address the challenge.”
Thanks to the Kubota gift, seven EHE students will attend the eighth TSI with scholarship support in July.
Keith Taniguchi, Kubota human resources coordinator and former assistant manager of the Tsukuba Plant, shared, “We are very excited to invite our Ohio State friends to Japan and to our plant in Tsukuba, Kubota’s largest tractor plant. I believe this program will continue to build on the great relationship between Kubota and Ohio State.”