UCLA gets $25-million gift from Uniqlo CEO for Japanese humanities endowment

Uniqlo is opening its first stores in Southern California in the fall.
The founder of clothing company Uniqlo has donated $25 million to UCLA to bolster the university’s standing as a leading center for the study of Japanese literature, language and culture.
(Tomohiro Ohsumi / Bloomberg)

UCLA has received a $25-million gift from Tadash Yanai, the chairman, president and CEO of Japan-based Fast Retailing and founder of clothing company Uniqlo, the school said in a statement.

The funds will endow the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities, which will bolster UCLA’s status as a leading center for the study of Japanese literature, language and culture. The gift is the largest from an individual donor in the history of the UCLA College of Humanities.

A previous donation of $2.5 million from Yanai in 2014 created the Yanai Initiative, a collaboration between UCLA and Waseda University, one of Japan’s most prestigious universities. The program supports academic and cultural programming and enables student and faculty exchanges between the two universities.

This latest gift will ensure the initiative’s long-term future, according to the statement.


“Mr. Yanai’s extraordinary gifts are a testament to UCLA’s longstanding commitment to educate global citizens who can thrive in careers — and cultures — anywhere in the world,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities will have a profound and lasting impact on this campus.”

The Yanai Initiative is housed in the department of Asian languages and cultures and directed by professor Michael Emmerich. The latest gift will fund and establish an endowed chair in Japanese literature and will fund conferences, public lectures, faculty research, cultural performances and community outreach. It will support graduate and postdoctoral fellowships and undergraduate awards, the statement said.

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