Yoshiomi Tamai was born on February 6, 1935 in Osaka. On December 23, 1963, Tamai’s mother was hit and killed by a car driven by a reckless driver. For the next 18 months, Tamai devoted his energy to the study of traffic-related issues and policies, and concluded that Japan lagged far behind other industrialized nations in the area of traffic policy.
In May 1969, the Scholarship Foundation for Traffic Accident Orphans (Kotsuiji Ikueikai) was established to provide educational loans to high school and university students who had lost parents in traffic accidents and Tamai was appointed Executive Director by the foundation.
In April 1994, Tamai was appointed vice president at Ashinaga, a spin-off of the Scholarship Foundation for Traffic Accident Orphans, which had been established the year before to provide educational loans and emotional care to children who had lost one or both parents to illness, natural disasters, and suicide. He became president of the organization in 1998.
In recent years, Tamai has worked to develop the “100-Year Vision for Supporting the Higher Education of Orphaned Students from Sub-Saharan Africa." The plan calls for providing one promising orphaned student from each of the 49 Sub-Saharan countries with the opportunity to study at top universities around the world. The goal of this vision is to foster future leaders who can contribute to poverty eradication in Sub-Saharan Africa; allowing them to overcome their difficult experiences and social vulnerability to bring positive change to society.