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式辞・告辞集 平成28年度秋季入学式 総長式辞

Address of the President of the University of Tokyo
at the 2016 Autumn Matriculation Ceremony

Welcome to the University of Tokyo. On behalf of the University, I would like to extend our sincere congratulations to you on joining our community. I also congratulate your families, who have supported you through your studies, and are present here today to join you in this celebration.

The total number of students entering our Graduate Schools this autumn is 663. Of these, there are 367 in master's courses, 252 in doctor's courses, and 44 in professional degree courses. At our Undergraduate Faculties, 31 students are enrolling in Programs in English at Komaba, or PEAK, an English-language degree program. Also, 5 students are entering the Global Science Course of the Faculty of Science, an English-language transfer program for those who started their study at foreign universities. All of you must be eager to take on new challenges in research and study at the University of Tokyo. In terms of its size, the range of its academic disciplines, and the level of its research activity, the University of Tokyo is one of the world's leading universities. I would like you to make the best use of our outstanding academic environment to expand and realize your dreams. You will have full support from all our staff at the University.

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This year, five years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster, tragedy struck once again. A series of large earthquakes hit the prefectures of Kumamoto and Oita. Many precious lives were lost, including some of your age. I extend my sincere condolences to the victims. In addition, many residents are still living in shelters. Students and staff of the University of Tokyo have participated in a variety of recovery efforts following these natural disasters. I ask that you too take part in recovery efforts while engaging in your studies at the University. Also, the University's support does not stop at direct involvement in recovery efforts. A great amount of research at the University has the potential to contribute to this area, such as research on earthquakes, disaster mitigation and recovery methods. I encourage you to participate in this kind of research.

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Since its founding 139 years ago, the University of Tokyo, as an Asian university, has cultivated an environment for scholarship rooted in both Eastern and Western learning, and contributed to the diversity of the world's knowledge. While learning from Western science and philosophy, the University has strived to honor and uphold the scholarly traditions of the East.

Today, dramatic developments in science and technology, such as high speed communications and transport, are rapidly unifying the physical world. At the same time, humanity faces many shared challenges: depletion of resources, environmental degradation, worldwide financial uncertainty, increased regional disparity, and religious conflict. The year of 2016 began with global financial insecurity, and several large-scale terror attacks have occurred this year. In June, citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Such issues impact the entire world and are becoming more and more complicated. Isolated expertise in one field alone, no matter how outstanding, cannot address these issues. All individuals have unique knowledge that they have cultivated within their various regions and cultures. Linking these diverse types of knowledge and combining their strengths will empower us to find solutions to today’s challenges. As an Asian country with a unique tradition of knowledge creation, Japan bears a responsibility to actively contribute to this kind of collaboration based on diversity of knowledge. As a university with a tradition of combining Eastern and Western cultures, the University of Tokyo must take a central role in this collaboration.

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All of you entering the University of Tokyo now have the chance to contribute to humanity through this form of knowledge collaboration. While you are here, I ask that you cultivate the courage, passion and confidence to take on this challenge. Then, I hope you will make it your goal to become “knowledge professionals” who will lead global collaborations to solve today’s difficult issues. You may be wondering what you should do at the University of Tokyo to become knowledge professionals. I would like to stress two important qualities that I believe are essential to your journey.

The first is to develop a logical way of thinking. We live in a world surrounded by many kinds of phenomena. The purpose of research is to analyze these phenomena through investigation and experiment and to discover the novel principles behind them. This requires an analytical way of thinking based in logic. An individual discovery can be shared with others only if it is firmly supported by logic. To develop logical thinking, I encourage all of you to take every opportunity to discuss and share your thoughts with friends and colleagues. I have been doing research in experimental physics, particularly in optical physics, since I was a student. In my 36 years as a researcher, I have many times realized the importance of engaging in deep discussions with my colleagues. Such discussions have helped me to better understand difficult research papers and have also guided me towards the universal knowledge hidden within experimental data. These experiences are an invaluable asset and were my first step towards becoming a knowledge professional.

The second is to have the pioneering spirit to explore the unexplored with ambition and vision. Throughout the history of scholarship, new vistas have suddenly opened up against a familiar academic landscape. These occasions have helped us to correct contradictions and flaws in accepted scholarly understanding. At times, they have also dramatically affected how we see the world. Heliocentrism and the theory of evolution are just two examples of ideas that caused such paradigm shifts. The excitement generated by these occasions is the driving force that attracts people to scholarship. By coming to the University of Tokyo, you have a very precious chance to be part of the scene of innovation. I encourage you to work hard and challenge accepted models so that you too can bring about such paradigm shifts.

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I would now like to say a few words about what is asked of us as scholars today. The 20th century is often called the "century of science." Tremendous strides have been made in the natural sciences, bringing us many innovative technologies and vastly expanding the scope of humanity's activities. Our activities now transcend national borders. We can instantly learn of events happening all over the world. However, humanity's actions have had dire consequences. They have brought about changes to the Earth itself from which recovery is difficult. These changes now threaten our very existence. Although we have made numerous technological advances, religious conflicts and international disputes are ever more complicated. The fundamental systems by which society operates today, are the product of centuries of humanity’s combined wisdom. However, even these systems have not provided solutions to today’s difficult problems. Instead, it seems that inequality and other sources of social instability are increasing.

Clear trends have emerged around the world in response to this increasing instability. Some are losing hope in the power of knowledge. Others are even denying the value of knowledge altogether. However, to construct a peaceful and stable world, one thing must be made clear: we cannot abandon knowledge. It is absolutely essential that we think of new societal and economic systems driven by human knowledge and wisdom. The University of Tokyo states in its Charter that it will serve the global public. We must propose new systems, take the lead in their implementation, and provide the driving force that changes society. This, I believe, is the most important duty of the University of Tokyo.

To uphold that duty, it goes without saying that the members of the UTokyo community must respect the rights of all people both within and outside the University.  We need a spirit of tolerance to acknowledge and accept those who are different from ourselves. Never forget that protecting the rights and dignity of all individuals is the fundamental principle behind not only every aspect of research activity but also of all activities in daily life.

The University of Tokyo offers many programs to support you on your journey towards becoming knowledge professionals. Please make full use of them to deepen your understanding in your chosen areas of study. In order to change society, a diverse group of individuals, including academic staff, students and others, must first share a grand vision. They must then transcend generational and organizational boundaries to build deeper ties with each other. Only then can they work together to realize that vision. To make this possible, we are creating a global base for knowledge collaboration at the University of Tokyo, where individuals from different backgrounds and disciplines can work together to create new value. We are also making efforts to improve the working environment for researchers, so that all of you can experience the appeal of a life dedicated to research.

Studying and researching at university, it is our duty to honor the hard-earned achievements of those who came before us. At the same time, we must deepen our own scholarly understanding to create new value and produce wisdom that will drive our ever-changing society forward. I feel very fortunate to stand here with all of you, the future leaders of the 21st century. Let us work together to find answers to the world's problems and create new traditions for the generations to come. I hope that you will make the most of your academic journey at the University of Tokyo.



Makoto Gonokami
The University of Tokyo
September 23, 2016

(和文)平成28年度秋季入学式 総長式辞



この秋、大学院へ入学したのは、修士課程が367名、博士課程が252名、専門職学位課程が44名、合計663名です。学部へは、初等・中等教育を日本語以外で履修した学生を対象としたPEAK(Programs in English at Komaba)に、31名が入学しました。また、グローバルサイエンスコース―GSC、海外大学の学部課程を2年以上修めた留学生を編入させ、講義を全て英語で行うプログラム―に、5名が入学しました。皆さんは、これから始まる、研究と学びへの期待に胸を膨らませていることと思います。東京大学は、規模、学問分野の幅、研究水準の三点において、世界有数の大学です。この恵まれた環境を存分に活用して、学問に懸ける夢を育み、それを叶えて下さい。私たち教職員は、皆さんの夢の実現を全力でサポートしたいと思っています。


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東京大学総長 五神 真