2016 New Year's Message from President Gonokami

January 1, 2016

Date of activity: January 1, 2016

I wish you a Happy New Year!

With my appointment as President in April last year, I was tasked with the important role of taking the helm at the University of Tokyo. I spent the first six months after taking office in consultation with many members of the University and external advisors while considering how to prepare the University of Tokyo for the future. The plan has been published as The University of Tokyo: Vision 2020.

In October last year, we had the wonderful news that Professor Takaaki Kajita, Director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. As a guest, I was also honored to share in the grand excitement of December’s award ceremony in Stockholm.

The discovery by Professor Kajita’s group of “neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass,” is a revolutionary accomplishment that will require revision of the Standard Model of particle physics, developed in the latter half of the twentieth century. In the words of Professor Kajita himself, this is surely research that “broadens the horizons of human knowledge.” Professor Anne L’Huillier of Lund University in Sweden, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, has called it a superb accomplishment that has impressed many. This research was led by the University of Tokyo, but it was a large-scale experimental study involving researchers from many Japanese Universities and from other countries. The reason this research has borne fruit now, some forty years after its inception, is thanks to the deep understanding and strong support by Japanese society, for which I would like to express my sincere gratitude. In addition to a sense of pride that such a discovery could be made at the University of Tokyo, it brings me great pleasure to see this global acclaim invigorate Japanese society.

Japan has a rich history of academic excellence in Asia, as evidenced by the Nobel Prizes awarded to Professor Kajita and Kitasato University Distinguished Emeritus Professor Satoshi Omura. I believe that the University of Tokyo’s most important responsibility is to continue to nurture such “knowledge professionals,” individuals who work dauntlessly to contribute to human society through knowledge.

The environment surrounding the University of Tokyo has changed since the incorporation of Japanese national universities in 2004. While adhering to our traditions, the University must be able to adapt flexibly to meet the demands of the times. Building on the firm foundation of public support accumulated over nearly 140 years, the University must envision the path which humanity should take during the next 70 years and act now to pave the way to that future.

Correctly assessing the value and weight of our many years of accumulated tradition, I will create a “global base for knowledge collaboration” in which the pursuit and application of knowledge meet. United behind this vision and mobilizing the collective strength of all members of the University of Tokyo, together we will boldly press forward to the future.

May this be a happy and fruitful year for you all.

Access Map
Kashiwa Campus
Hongo Campus
Komaba Campus