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The history of the Joshibi University of Art and Design Alumnae Association Italy Branch

The Joshibi Alumnae Association Italy Branch (abbreviated name), was established in March 2008 to support the Joshibi Milan Prize.
In April 2007, previous graduate Professor Nui Sano, became dean of the Joshibi University.
This was the first time in thirtythree years that a graduate became dean of the university. She named me chairman of the Joshibi Alumnae Association, and my first project there was to create the Joshibi Alumnae Association Italy Branch.
In 2010, Prof. Sano, who was the dean at that time, and Prof. Satoshi Omura, who was the president of the university at that time, asked me to start a project called the “Joshibi Milan Prize”. This followed on from the “Joshibi Paris Prize” 10 years previously. This new program was quickly supported by the Joshibi Alumni Association.
During the course of three years (2008 to 2010), the Joshibi Milan Prize program had sent in total six students to study in Milan (two students for three months a year).
In 2010, the program changed form so as to be able to offer a more practically based training program for one year at a time. For this residency, the university and the alumnae association agreed to collaborate and share the rental fees on a fully furnished apartment in Milan. The apartment was owned by Joshibi graduate and member of the Alumnae Association Italy Branch, Mrs. Kazuko Nishio.
The Alumnae Association Italy Branch took care of the residency students in the program from the time of their arrival in Malpensa airport to their return to Japan a year later.
Joshibi students have been studying in Milan, the city of design, since the 1960’s, amongst them Fusako Yusaki. They have also been in Rome, Florence and Bologna.
There were twelve original members in the association, with Natsuko Nojiri as the first branch chief and Kazuko Nishio as the accounting manager, including Ikuyo Toba-Chiba who has since sadly passed away.
The first recipient of the Joshibi Milan Prize arrived at Migliore+Servetto Architects in 2010 for the one year residency program.
In April 2014 another project was started to give 10 Joshibi students the opportunity to join an intern program in their studio during Milan Design Week, and this continuted for three years.
During this period, previous Milano Prize winners who were in Milan helped as assistants for the workshop.
Since 2017, the Milan Prize has transformed into the study program in Brera Academy. During the previous ten years, the Joshibi Italy Branch had been involved with approximately fifty Joshibi students visiting Milan.
Mara Servetto, a visiting professor at Joshibi University, has worked conscientiously with all of these projects.
The collaborative project between the university and the alumnae association; the Milan Prize, could not have been realised without the support of the Alumnae Association Italy Branch.
The Italy Branch, with its representative Natsuko Nojiri who lives in Milan, was awarded the Joshibi Omura Special Prize in November 2017.
For the award ceremony, previous Milan Prize winners Miyazono, Kobayashi and Harukusa, who had already finished their program and were living in Tokyo, presented the award instead of Mrs Nojiri who is the representative of the Alumni Italy Branch.
For the coming ten years and for the future, I wish for the Joshibi Italy Branch to become a meaningful and joyful association which continues to create strong connections between Japan and Italy.

July, 2018
Kazuko Sato
Representative of the founding Joshibi University of Art and Design Alumnae Association Italy Branch