Abdullah Al Rushud
RIYADH: King Saud University, located in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, is one of the most prestigious universities. Japanese student Reo Ishikawa (who goes by the name Usama on social media) studied Arabic literature at the university for five years, completing his bachelor’s degree in January.
Ishikawa originally specialized in international relations in Japan, and during that process, he also had the experience of studying at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, for a short period of time.
After returning from Egypt, he found himself fascinated by the beauty of the Arabic language, and enrolled in the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo, the local branch of the Imam University of Saudi Arabia, where he encountered Saudi culture for the first time. “Through Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo, I have made many Saudi friends. Thankfully, I still enjoy a good relationship with them,” he said.
Ishikawa then benefited from a Saudi government scholarship and commenced studies at King Saud University in September 2016. In Saudi Arabia, he did not limit himself to university studies, but he also distinguished himself as an influencer. At one point, the total number of social media followers reached 100,000, and he received invitations from many media and events, also working hard to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the Kingdom.
“I learned a lot of things being away from Japan. Saudi Arabia is full of things that are superior to those found in Japan. This experience had a huge impact on my life and values. I am grateful to all the people I have met in Saudi Arabia,” Ishikawa told Arab News Japan.
After returning to Japan, Ishikawa joined Jameel Trading Co., Ltd. (Abdul Latif Jameel) and is currently working as a member of the Middle East Division of the Sales Headquarters.
“The connection between Saudi Arabia and Japan is gaining in importance. My hopes are for Ishikawa to use the Arabic language skills and knowledge of Arab culture that he has developed through his experience in Saudi Arabia as weapons to play an active role,” said Manabu Yokouchi, head of the sales division who was responsible for recruiting Ishikawa.
Ishikawa aims to serve as a bridge between Japan and the Middle East, with the goal of delivering Japanese products and technologies to the Middle East and contributing to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.