Tomoko Ebine

Senior Manager Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Tell us about your early years.

My father was a diplomat working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and my younger sister and I were born in Iran. I visited various other countries my father worked in, such as Brazil, Korea and Egypt. I lived in the United States (Los Angeles) during my elementary school years. I went to an American school from Monday to Friday and Japanese school on Saturday to keep up my Japanese. I really enjoyed the American school because they encouraged us to learn more about things we were interested in, compared to Japanese schools that expect students to learn everything the same. This sparked my interest in North America, and I always wanted to study abroad again.   

From junior high school I went to a Christian girls high school in Japan called Akenohoshi, which had a sister school in Canada, and some of our teachers were Canadian sisters. I believe my relationship with Canada started from there.  

I majored in English literature at Tsuda University, which was established by Umeko Tsuda, and earned an English teaching certification there. Tsuda was the first Japanese woman to study abroad at six years old—the same age as me—and will be on the new 5,000 yen bill in 2024. I’d like to teach or do something related to education like her someday.


Where do you work now, and how did you get into your chosen career?

My father wanted me to succeed him as a diplomat, but I decided to work at a trading company, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. I chose a private trading company because I thought I would have various chances and assignments. I’ve been in the corporate unit, where I handled board protocol and supported our business between Canada and the U.S. It’s interesting that I happened to work a lot with the government and Embassy, which my father wished. I also worked in the environment, CSR, audit and IT divisions.  


What are you doing now?

I was transferred to the Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute (MGSSI) this past April. MGSSI is an in-house thinktank for Mitsui & Co., Ltd., supporting business from the intelligence side. Before that, I was a researcher of ASEAN countries from 2012 to 2019, writing reports for our company members.


Why did you join the CCCJ, and do
you have any special interests in Chamber activities?

Since I was working with our Canada office, I became a big fan of Canada. I joined the CCCJ because I believe this relationship with Canada will be my life’s work. CCCJ members are so kind and fun, as you can see from the photos of the Maple Leaf Gala. My daughter was a volunteer at the event.  

I play golf and enjoyed participating in the TPP Cup this year in a group of women, playing scramble golf, which I hope to do again. These members encourage me a lot in terms of working and enjoying life, and I’d like to collaborate on some activities with them. 


When you’re not doing all of the above, what do you do to have fun?

One of my hobbies is viewing musicals and ballet on stage, because I used to sing and dance when I was a student. I also love reading books such as Anne of Green Gables. I’m interested in cultural exchange with Canada as well, and I’m always happy to strengthen the relationship between Canada and Japan by introducing people to each other.

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