The Faculty of Arts building is located on the right side of the main gate where students from various departments study. Apart from Egyptian students, most of the students were from Arabic-speaking countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Libya, and Sudan. So Koike must have stood out as a Japanese female student without a head scarf.

However, Adel Hanafi who graduated from Cairo University's Department of History, Faculty of Arts in 1976, the same year Koike claims to have graduated, and still lives in Cairo now says "I saw Jihan Sadat, wife of President Anwar Sadat, who graduated from the Department of Arabic, Faculty of Arts often at the university, but I have never seen Koike". A Japanese graduate from Cairo University says "I saw Yoshiharu Ogasawara frequently at university although the period we overlap with each other at university is only a few months. I only saw Koike once or twice at university although the years that we were at Cairo University overlaps".

Other Japanese graduates took 5 to 7 years to graduate

At the undergraduate level at Cairo University there were five Japanese graduates in the 1970s and 1980s, apart from Koike. For all of them it took between five to seven years to graduate, despite studying very hard.

One of them is Yoshiharu Ogasawara, a 1973 graduate from the Department of Arabic in the Faculty of Arts who first studied Arabic for three years in Cairo before entering Cairo University. It took him seven years to graduate from Cairo University. He wrote an academic book "The World of Jaahiliiyah (Pre-Islamic) Poetry" (290 pages in Japanese).

This is such a sophisticated book that it would probably be a challenge even for native Arabic speakers to write such a book. I learnt Arabic from him at the Asian and African Language Institute (at a course for businessmen) for 6 months in Tokyo. He speaks beautiful and dignified Standard Arabic like a native Arabic speaker.

Another graduate is Rikijiro Saito, who graduated from the Faculty of Archaeology in 1976. It took him about seven years to graduate. After the graduation he taught Arabic at a well-known language school called Polyglot Language School in London and until recently wrote his blog in Arabic.

Ashraf Yasui attended the University in the 1970’s (his Faculty is unknown but one of the graduates says he may have studied education). He had bad eyesight and was reading Arabic books with his face stuck to it. He spoke quite good Arabic. After returning to Japan, he taught Arabic at the Asian and African Language Institute and other institutions.

All three of these Japanese men are Muslims and each took about seven years to graduate (we have not been able to confirm this point for Yasui, but according to one of the Japanese graduates he was there for quite a long time).

Naohiko Sawada (ex-Mitsubishi Corporation) and Noriyuki Suzuki (ex-Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ) graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science in 1978 and 1981 respectively. They both failed once and it took each of them five years to graduate.

I was struck by the fact that all of the graduates I interviewed said that studying at Cairo University was tough for non-native speakers of Arabic. I wonder how Koike, whose Arabic is far inferior to other Japanese graduates and does not carry the impression to have studied hard, could have graduated in four years.

Ryo Kuroki is one of the best-selling authors in Japan. He graduated from Waseda University (BA in law, 1980) and the American University in Cairo (MA in the Middle East Studies, 1986). He has so far published 25 books which are mainly economic novels and non-fictions such as "The Bulge Bracket", "Energy", "Carbon Credit Merchant". His latest title is "Rise and Fall of Japanese Apparel" (February 2020). He lives in the UK since 1988.