Sponsored by a Rotary Club in Japan, Mako Tanaka was awarded a Rotary Scholarship to enable her to pursue her post-graduate studies in Edinburgh. Her host Rotary Club in Scotland is the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno and she is one of three Rotary Scholars in the Edinburgh area this year.

Mako’s home is Kanagawa, just 15 minutes by train from Tokyo, where she lives with her parents and older brother. She went to university in Akita in northern Japan and she spent a year in Thailand as an exchange student. 

Mako is studying for an MSc in Urban Strategies and Design at Heriot Watt University and at Edinburgh University’s College of Art. She had developed an interest in the need for balance between conservation and economic development as an undergraduate and this interest was heightened during her time in Bangkok, a city growing rapidly and experiencing heavy traffic and pollution. 

She would have been more aware of the conflict between conservation, economic development and tourism in Edinburgh had it not been for Covid-19. She said: “The city is kind of empty. It is like a theme park. The city centre is so much more beautiful than I expected and just walking around the city excites me. I really like Edinburgh. It is a lovely city.”

Mako keeps in close touch with the Currie Balerno Rotary Club.