News & Event

2019 Conferment Ceremony: President’s Address

News & Event

What kind of life did you lead at university? It was probably fun at times, and tough at others. No doubt you experienced both fulfillment and boredom. I have the greatest respect for your efforts in overcoming the challenges and making it through to your graduation today. I am certain that the experience of giving your utmost at university will help you to forge your own future path.

You will have many more wonderful encounters. However, since you are going out into the wider world, you may meet with disappointment too. You can turn this to your advantage. When I am discouraged, I think of the people or circumstances I have encountered as negative examples from which I can learn. This presents a good opportunity to consider what kind of person you want to be. People can’t change others, but we can change ourselves through the influence of others. You can turn any circumstance into fuel for personal growth.

It is often said that in our 20s, especially, each individual experience builds a foundation for what comes later. The ten years I spent as an undergraduate and a graduate student at Hosei University are unforgettable, and they certainly provided the basis for what came later. Whatever experiences you have, don’t simply glide through them. Rather, commit them to memory in your own words. Scrutinize your experiences, seek meaning from them, affirm them by putting them into words, and position them within your life so far. In this way, you will develop crucial life experience.

Speaking of university experiences and memories, Hosei University has created the Hosei University Museum as a place where you can recall these things and gain inspiration for setting out in search of new experiences. You will all have the opportunity to visit this brand-new facility in the new Kudan North Building. Digital signage touchscreens enable you to explore the history carved out by the place you have been studying.

To learn the history of the university is to learn the history of modern Japan. The bright side of modern Japan includes the emergence of laws and citizens’ rights and the creation of new technologies and cultural assets, but there are also regrettable aspects, including a long period of colonial rule and war. The new Japan National Stadium for the Olympic and Paralympic Games was completed recently. It was built on the site of the former Meiji Shrine Gaien Stadium. In the last stages of the Second World War, the Minister of Education and the university president sent many students off to battle from this stadium. We should etch this page of the university’s history into our memories as something that must never be repeated. In the context of Japan’s modern history, please think about what kind of era you are living in now.

Hosei University Museum will also have exhibits inspired by six themes characteristic of Hosei University, which are: In Pursuit of peace; Studies on social and labour issues; Tradition meets contemporary times; Studies on sustainability; and The creation of culture, art and sports. In this Olympic and Paralympic year, our display looks back on the origins of sporting activity at Hosei.

The existence of university sport shows that university is not just about study and the pursuit of knowledge, but also extends to many other facets of life including physical and mental control, time management, teamwork, competition and cooperation, and international exchange. The purpose of sport is not to promote the university or help people find employment. Through sport, students can broaden their learning. For example, 88 years ago in 1932, the coach and players of the Hosei University baseball team translated a book they had received from the University of Illinois in the US, which was published by Iwanami Shoten under the title Yakyu Tokuhon (Baseball handbook). This led to the development of American baseball techniques in a form aligned with the physical strength of Japanese players. Knowledge and sport were linked in the university environment. I hope that sport will continue to play that kind of role at Hosei University. 

Our Institute of Okinawan Studies is a prime example of the theme “perspectives on citizens and the community.” The reason I began to think about Okinawa was that I had studied at Hosei University. The Japanese literature course taught classes on Omoro Soshi, a compilation of ancient Okinawan poems and songs; Okinawa became part of Japan again in 1972, when I was studying at Hosei; and the Institute of Okinawan Studies was established that same year. The late Takeshi Onaga, who was studying at Hosei at the same time, went on to become governor of Okinawa Prefecture and overcame political factionalism to unite the will of people in Okinawa. This links to another of the museum’s themes, “the quest for peace.” 

Hosei University also has an internationally renowned Noh Theatre Research Institute. During my time as a student I also studied Noh farces, and learned how important they are as a basis of Japanese culture. When I studied at Hosei, the university already used the term “Japanese literature” rather than “national literature,” reflecting its stance of viewing Japan from a global perspective. That formed the foundation for the establishment of Japan’s first Research Center for International Japanese Studies and International Japanese Studies Institute. The museum theme of “past and present in dialogue” aptly expresses Hosei University’s innovative perspective on traditional culture.

The Ohara Institute for Social Research, Hosei University, symbolizes the theme of “explorations of workers and the working world.” This rare example of a Japanese institute specializing in the study of work carries on the founding spirit of Hosei University, namely scholarship for the sake of citizens. Sooner or later, all those who have carefully thought about matters during their studies at Hosei probably notice that the university plays an important role in shaping social values. 

The newly opened space is called the Museum Core, which forms the heart of the museum. When you take a look, you may be surprised by how compact it is. Hosei University Museum will open Museum Satellites on each of our campuses. It will also set up Museum Points dotted around campuses, where information will be accessible via QR codes and other technologies. Ultimately, we aim to establish a digital museum viewable anywhere in the world. Rather than a weighty and authoritative edifice, Hosei University Museum will be a center for disseminating information that is accessible to our students and graduates as they move around the world.

I wonder if you have seen the Hosei University Charter during your studies. It is titled “Practical Wisdom for Freedom.” I hope you will form your own ideals about how society and the world should be in order for everyone to live freely, and then live freely in your own ways. Ideals are often far from reality. However, within your current reality, there will always be a path leading to your ideals and freedom. Seek that path as you act, and craft your own words through reading. That is practical wisdom for freedom. Hosei University Museum breathes life into this concept. Even after you graduate, I encourage you to return now and again to this museum and other places that remind you of your university experiences and memories and maintain your own form of practical wisdom.

Let me conclude by once again congratulating you on your graduation.