Reflecting on the University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo was born when Japan was setting out to build a modern nation through its opening to the world and the Meiji Restoration. As a comprehensive institution then called an “imperial” university, it produced talented individuals who excelled in many fields, including law, public administration, science, medicine, industry, economics, culture, and education, and it dedicated itself to research and education that rivaled academic institutions abroad. But we must not only highlight our past achievements. We must also learn from our failures and mistakes that may have been forgotten. Today, when the world is burdened by divisions and disparities both within and among countries, when markets cannot thrive without recognizing their impact on society and the environment, and when the practice of science is inseparable from research ethics and justice, the relevance of universities is being questioned throughout the world. The University of Tokyo must now consider what needs to be changed and what must be preserved. We must envision what the future should be and advance toward that future together.

Creating by the University of Tokyo

Humanity faces many issues of global significance, challenges that will have a profound impact on the future of life on Earth—climate change, extreme weather, pandemics, rapid advances in information technology and artificial intelligence, growing geopolitical instability, and the sustainability of natural resources and the global commons. Solving those problems requires the cultivation of comprehensive knowledge that crosses the boundaries between academic specializations, an even stronger desire to pursue the unknown and the mysterious, and the realization of diversity and inclusion that aim for mutual resonance, for kyozon. In 2004, when Japan’s national universities were incorporated as autonomous entities, we adopted the University of Tokyo Charter as our declaration of self-governance, committing our institution to serve not only Japan but the global public as well. That commitment is one of our founding principles, and we will continue to share with the world our wide-ranging accomplishments achieved through free and autonomous exploration.

Connecting with the University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo community extends far beyond our current faculty, staff, and students. In addition to our alumni, who are active in many fields, people of many professions, organizations, positions, fields, ages, and regions are also essential partners in our endeavors. As stated in UTokyo Compass, rather than being a closed and isolated organization, we aim to be a place where diverse knowledge and people from throughout society and around the world can come together for dialogue. By connecting with society and the world, with people and nature, with the past and the future, we acquire new strengths for solving problems. A vital step for creating such a place is expanding UTokyo NEXT150, the autonomous fund that supports our long-term mission. As we embark on our anniversary celebrations, we look forward to renewing our ties with everyone in the University of Tokyo community.