John earned an MIT bachelor’s degree in architecture and planning in 1975 and a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1976. Two years later, he earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and then began his career in New York at Morgan Guaranty Trust, now J.P. Morgan. He joined Goldman Sachs in New York, co-led its investment banking services in Tokyo, and became a general partner. Later, he founded Unison Capital, the first private equity firm in Tokyo. His work in Japan gave him opportunities to build something new from scratch, something he’s relished throughout his career. He and Kayoko, who earned a BA in Spanish and economics from Wellesley College in 1983, enjoy opera. He also designed their houses in Tokyo; Hakone, near Mount Fuji; and San Diego.
John: “The tremendous training MIT provided to me was a sound foundation for my career, and I appreciate that very much. That’s why we established a scholarship. Young people from any ethnic background are eligible as long as they apply from Japan, and we hope the scholarship will be a bridge between the two countries. Years back, Japan was still a developing country; today, it’s the third-largest economy. Now, many young people in Japan feel they can have a comfortable life just staying home—why venture abroad to study? But that’s an inward-looking view. It’s important to become global, to learn English, learn the culture, learn new customs. You need that in any field if you want to succeed. Tuition is a significant financial commitment. We thought a scholarship would help students overcome the burden.”