Letters from HUAP

Mr. Toru Chino

Director, Denali Chino Nature Center in Alaska, appointed as a Hokkaido University Ambassador in September 2016

Despite my initial lack of knowledge about the details of the Hokkaido University Ambassador and Partner System, I accepted the post of Hokkaido University Ambassador in North America out of a hope that I would help the university expand its global network for the peace and wellbeing of the world. I began by promoting Hokkaido University to the universities, research institutes and government agencies in the United States with which I already had connections.

Looking back on my years at Hokkaido University, the first overseas trip I took when I was in the School of Liberal Arts was a 30-day tour to Europe organized by the Hokkaido University Co-op, and it left a profound and indelible impression on me. So much so that it was then that I decided to work on the world stage in the future. While I was enrolled in the School of Fisheries Sciences, besides playing rugby and skiing with the university’s Skiing Race Club, I was engrossed in research on natural and artificial antioxidants using fish oils. The research theme was great for me as I love making things and had to begin with making research devices. I never forget those nights I slept in the lab, and cannot express enough how grateful I am to my supervisor, the late Professor Toru Takagi.

Hokkaido and Alaska are both located at northern extremes: Hokkaido at the northern end of Japan and Alaska in the north of the North American continent. Befitting its status as an international center for Arctic research, Alaska abounds in natural resources worthy of global attention as research themes, such as flora and fauna (e.g., research on polar bears), climate, geology and geological formations (e.g., research on dinosaurs), and human society (e.g., research on the lives and language of the Inuit). All these studies can contribute to the achievement of global sustainability.

I worked worldwide as an environmental engineer and launched a business in the Silicon Valley before moving to Denali in Alaska, where I have run the Denali Chino Nature Center since 2006. The aim of the center is to foster human resources who can contribute to global peace and wellbeing by drawing on experiences they will gain through various activities in the natural splendor of the Denali State Park. The center also serves as a site for fieldwork to develop natural energy technologies that will enable self-sufficient lifestyles also in Japan. In August 2017, the center hosted a group of 12 Hokkaido University students and faculty members with the cooperation of the University of Alaska. It also hosts students from other Japanese universities as part of their study-abroad programs.

I believe the university needs a North American Office to expand its global reach, and will continuously work with the university to open the office in AY2019 as currently planned.

( Litterae Populi Spring 2018 )

Hokkaido University students and faculty members at the Denali Chino Nature Center. Mr. Chino is third from the left in the back row

Denali Chino Nature Center.

Northern lights can be seen over the center throughout the year.

The setting sun as seen from an open-air bath in the front yard with Denali (formally Mount McKinley) in the background.

茅野 徹 氏








デナリ・チノ・ネイチャー・センターにて北大生及び北大教員と (後列左より3人目が茅野氏)

デナリ・チノ・ネイチャ ー・センター全景