Growing up with a Japanese mother and a Chinese father, Asia in a cultural sense always played an important role in DePaul graduate Kenji Negi’s life. It wasn’t until his junior year at DePaul, when he studied at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto through DePaul’s exchange program, that Negi developed a newfound understanding of the economic and social importance of Asia in the 21st century.
At Ritsumeikan, Negi enrolled in numerous courses that taught about the political, social, and economic landscape of Asia, as well as the emerging role the region played in the global context. It was at this time that Negi developed a deeper desire to return to Japan/Asia upon graduation to continue to learn about the influence of the region in the so-called “Asian Century.”
Upon returning to Chicago for his senior year, Negi assumed a program assistant role for the Global Asian Studies program. Although still a relatively new initiative at the time, the time spent with then-director Professor Elizabeth Lillehoj and Professor Kathryn Ibata-Arens helped reinforce the notion that understanding Asia in today’s world economy was imperative in becoming a global citizen.
After graduating in June 2013 with a degree in International Studies and Economics, Negi relocated to Tokyo, Japan to join Rakuten, Inc., a national e-commerce company. At Rakuten, Negi worked in the cross border trading (CBT) department and consulted hundreds of US and Japan-based online retailers who sought to remain competitive in the globalizing e-commerce industry by strengthening their CBT efforts.
Negi moved back to Chicago in May 2015 to continue working for Rakuten, Inc.’s digital marketing division, Rakuten Marketing. He’s currently an active member of the Japanese American Citizens League and the US-Japan Council, both non-profit organizations that emphasize the preservation of Japanese and Japanese American interests. Negi plans to continue to be involved in the local Japanese American community to help foster US-Japan relations.