Hosei University Entrance Ceremony for fall 2019 President's Welcome Address

September 14, 2019

Good morning. First of all let me congratulate you on entering Hosei University!

Coming to university or graduate school is not just about amassing skills and knowledge. It is about developing a broader and a deeper perspective on what is happening in the world today, and understanding how the world is likely to develop. The sense of values you acquire here at university will help nurture your own individual values and viewpoint.

Lately we have started using a new term to describe time at university: “time spent on learning experiences.” This term encompasses both study-time spent completing courses and various other time spent at university that leads to personal growth. In the process of completing courses to gain credits, you will conduct your own research, read documentation, organize data, carry out field work, seek advice from your teachers, summarize, make presentations, discuss, and prepare papers. Once you start working, you may have few opportunities to think through a given topic for yourself, logically arrange your ideas, and present them in writing. These processes are all part of learning, and each are also significant experiences that will aid you in various situations throughout your life. In line with your individual interests, I urge you to set your own goals, devise learning plans, and study independently while seeking advice from your teachers. If you can accomplish this, you will equip yourself to continue learning once you have completed your degree.

Hosei University offers a wide range of activities not aimed at gaining credits. These include clubs, societies, voluntary activities, and internships offering students the chance to mingle with others, devise plans to achieve goals, and put such plans into action. Together with course completion, such experiences will broaden your horizons.

This year a confederation of national, public, and private universities in Japan started close dialogue with the business community regarding recruitment. Recruitment and employment activities encroach upon university study time, and this has become a serious problem. In the course of discussions, universities and corporations both agreed on the value of time that students spend on the kind of learning experiences I mentioned a moment ago. Meanwhile, the prevailing Japanese system of hiring all new graduates at the same time is coming under review. This move has been prompted by major changes in employment patterns in Japan. Lifetime employment and seniority systems are disappearing. Labor market fluidity is increasing, companies are hiring part-way through the year or all year round, and changing jobs is becoming the norm. Moreover, job opportunities are not limited to Japan, and are becoming globalized. Potential workplaces include not only companies, but also NPOs, NGOs, research institutes, and even extend beyond earth into space. New, undreamt-of jobs are emerging. All these changes are currently under way in Japan.

Now I would like to tell you a little about the history of Hosei University. To study the history of this university is also to study the history of Japan’s modernization.

Hosei University started out in 1880 as the Tokyo School of Law. The Tokyo School of Law was established by three young lawyers in their twenties. It was at the beginning of Japan’s modern era, when the people of the time were just starting to realize the importance of human rights, and the need for legal expertise.

The three lawyers were 28-year-old Kanamaru Magane, 25-year-old Ito Osamu, and 24-year-old Satta Masakuni. The multipurpose Satta Hall, located here on Ichigaya campus, was named after the youngest of the three founders. The 27-floor Boissonade Tower, where we are right now, was named after the French legal scholar Gustave Émile Boissonade. The three young men studied law based on Boissonade’s legal approach, and this became the foundation of the Tokyo School of Law’s curriculum.

While we first learned about law from the French, Japan started developing its own unique method of learning in the Edo period (1603–1867). This involved studying together with other students and, not only listening to lectures, but also giving lectures in turn to fuel mutual discussion. That is how teaching was approached in higher education institutions such as clan schools and private schools. The three founders of Hosei University were born and brought up in the Edo period. They possessed the power of debate, and the importance of practical wisdom for freedom lies at the heart of our University charter.

Hosei University’s Charter emphasizes our role as a university that possesses a broad outlook on the future of Japan, and the world. When you enter Hosei University, your studies will be based on this very same spirit, so let me tell you a little more about it. The Charter’s watchword is “commitment,” or, the “University’s commitment to society.” We call that commitment Practical Wisdom for Freedom.

I read one part of the Hosei University Charter Practical Wisdom for Freedom

Hosei university has always fostered a “free academic atmosphere” in which the rights of others are respected and diversity is accepted, and a “pioneering spirit” which is not bound by convention and aims at building a fair society.

In order to fulfill this mission, the university strives to support farsighted research from a variety of points of view and educate students to become independent citizens who carry out their work for the society and the people based on well-grounded principles and unrestricted thinking.

Hosei University promotes sound critical thinking based on sympathy for all people, both locally and internationally, and the creation of ideas for solving social problems based on practical wisdom. In cooperation with its many graduates, who have the ability to live anywhere in the world, Hosei University will contribute to the future of sustainable societies.

That is the part of Hosei University Charter.
So what is Practical Wisdom for Freedom?
It refers to the freedom to think for yourself, and to direct your life based on those thoughts and beliefs without relying on authority or organizations you find yourself in. Practical wisdom doesn’t simply mean knowledge with valid practical applications. Practical wisdom is the application of astute intellect to real-life situations to achieve an ideal or a goal that is of value to society. This commitment dates back far into the history of Hosei University.

Many professors illustrate the Practical Wisdom for Freedom spirit by cooperating with society on a variety of ongoing projects. We have staff offering personal support for students. The University also encourages students to help each other and act on their own initiative. I hope you will work to extend your own skills, together with others in this precious space of the university. University is the perfect time and place to help each other explore your own capabilities. Truly, there is no other place like it.

Japan and the rest of the world are currently facing an era of unprecedented change. As for our University founders before us, changing times present opportunities for young people to carve new eras and new priorities. I hope that each of you will take the opportunity to test your own creativity.

Let me close by heartily welcoming you into the Hosei University community.

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