Published: May 21, 2020 By

This blog post is one in a series where student interns working on the CU Japanese and Japanese American Community History Project share and reflect on their experiences. 

Until recently, I had no idea that there was such a long history of Japanese international students and Japanese American immigrants studying at CU Boulder. As a Japanese American student at CU Boulder myself, becoming a student intern for the University Libraries’ CU Japanese and Japanese American Community History Project—supported by the CU Boulder Outreach Committee—has proven to be an insightful learning experience. This history goes all the way back to the early 1900s, and during World War II, CU was one of the few schools in the American West that allowed students of Japanese descent to attend. In our project’s research about the university’s Japanese and Japanese American alumni, we have stumbled upon many notable individuals we want to highlight. In particular, the story of Akira Horie (MMktg’54) stands out.

Akira Horie  

Akira Horie graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1952 at age 23, when Japan was still rebuilding after World War II. Horie saw these recovery efforts and decided he wanted to continue his education in the United States. He enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder and was part of the first group of Japanese Fulbright scholars to study in America.

In his two years at CU Boulder, Horie completed his business degree with the class of 1954. Additionally, he participated in a number of extracurricular activities. This well-rounded student was active in the Cosmopolitan Club, which brought international students and students of color together; the Kenkyu Club, which was aimed at promoting Japanese language and culture; the interdenominational and interracial Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship; and the Wesley Foundation, which represented the Methodist Church on campus. He also played on the 1954 soccer team (#42) and climbed and skied with the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group. 

After graduating with his Master’s, Akira Horie went on to work at the Mitsubishi Corporation. He became Senior Managing Director and the General Manager at the Nagoya Branch in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan. The CU Boulder graduate also served as president of the university’s Tokyo alumni chapter. 

Akira Horie graduated at the top of his class of Fulbright Scholars. Today, CU Boulder has a joint program between the Center for Asian Studies and CU Education Abroad that allows students to travel to Japan for various internships. This program is partially funded through Japanese alumni like Horie. Akira Horie, now retired, lives in Kamakura, Japan. 

Photo: (Akira Horie/University Libraries' Archives)