From La Jolla – Entrepreneurship meeting



Kauffman Foundation  is a group focusing on "Entrepreneurship" (so to say "Entrepreneurial mind" or "Spirit of enterprise" (as in the book "5 propsitions of Web age" by Mochio Umeda.) ? since it is not just about businesses・・・.) that held Global Entrepreneurship Week around the world and as I have reported to you in this blog, several programs were carried out in Japan also at National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS) where I work and at Kyoto with cooperation from Honda foundation.

Kauffman foundation and UCSD (University of California San Diego) jointly opened a 2 day conference hosted by U.S.A. inviting Great Britain, Japan, and Canada under the theme of "What Industry Wants from Universities."  Several attendee from each country (naturally people from U.S.A. were dominant because they were from the host country.) gathered to have great discussions over various topics including policies.  The program was nicely planned and contents were very good.  It was truly a worthy meeting.  Especially, I would like to point out that British people contributed much in keeping the discussion in good mood by their witty comments.  Their sense of humor is outstanding.

I will write about the meeting once the report is posted on the web.


Photo1: With participants from Japan
(more photos are uploaded on Picasa)

Participants from Japan were Dr.Sunami from GRIPS, Dr.Harayama from Tohoku University, Dr.Kneller from RCAST, University of Tokyo, and Dr.William Saito.  They are unusual members, I would say.  All are working in Japan for these few years, but their main education or career path were at overseas.

Nice weather and campus, jolly fellows.  I was very much in a refreshed mood.  After the conference we had a tour at Calit2.  We saw only a few people around though brobably because it was Saturday.

In San Diego, WBC which Japan also participated was about to start.  Wasn’t it great that Japan won the championship?

Anyway, after all, California is a bright sunshine state.  It’s so nice.

Tahiti-4 (About YOSHIDA Shoin)



In my last column of "Tahiti-3," I uploaded a photo of a plate hanging at the entrance of a lighthouse.

It reads: Robert Louis Stevenson, Tahiti 1888.

‘Great were the feelings of emotion as I stood with mother by my side and we looked upon the edifice designed by my father when I was sixteen and worked in his office during the summer of 1866.’

The moment I saw this, I felt "This is it!"

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) is a British writer known for "Treasure Island," "Strange Case of Dr. Jykyll and Mr. Hyde" etc., but his parents and grandfater were legendarily famous lighthouse design engineers.  Lighthouse desin was his family profession.  Robert was physically weak and had tendency for sickness so he was incapable of fulfilling the family expectations.  However, he was gifted with talents of literature.  In 1874, while he was staying in France in attempt to recover from illness, he fell in love with an American women 10 years older and with a child.  He goes to California in 1879 in a very weak condition, risking death, and marries in 1880.

Stevenson returns to England with his family from 1880 to 1887, but when he father died in 1887, goes back to the United States with his mother and family.  Next year in 1888, he sets off for a cruise to southern Pacific Ocean.  It is in this year of 1888 that the words were engraved on the plate at Tahiti.

Stevenson died in late 1894 in an island of Pacific Ocean at age 44.  Explore for information in Wikipedia etc.  The story is very attractive.  You will find history of a man.

Why did I think "This is it!" when I saw this plate in Tahiti?  It has something to do with YOSHIDA Shoin(1830-59).  I was thinking for years on how and when to introduce you this strange relationship between Shoin and Stevenson.  Likewise, I also thought very much about the right time when I introduced in my blog the lecture of His Majesty the Emperor in England on the 300th anniversary of the birth of Linne (May 2007).

YOSHIDA Shoin played an important role in forming spiritual peg for the structuring of modern Japan.  Many activists fighting for Meiji Restoration were nurtured at Shokason Jyuku, the school he founded.  Stevenson was the first to write about Shoin.  His article was published in March 1880 (Cornhill Magazine 41) under the title of "Yoshida-Torajiro" (Shoin was commonly known as Yoshida-Torajiro).  Later, it was made into a (chapter of a) book "Familiar Studies of Men and Books" published in 1882.

The article was written 20 years after the death of Shoin, in English.  Who told Stevenson about Shoin?  The answer is found in the beginning of Stevenson’s essay.  It was "Taizo Masaki." 

Taizo Masaki was the first President of Tokyo Institute of Technology (the name was different then).  There are many sites referring to the relation between Masaki and Stevenson (Ref. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ).

Also, a book by Midori Yoshida, titled "Mystery of Biography of Shoin Yoshida written before Japan. Passionate Japanese ? why Stevenson the great British writer?" is published (2000).  I advise you to search the sea of information and think about this mystery of relationship, the great Shoin, and "essence of education."

Where is Shoin of today in this troubled Japan?

Anyway, I didn’t even dream of coming across their relationship at Tahiti.

“Todai and Nobel prize” Young people that do not aim for frontier


“Global world” and “Education・Human resources” are themes which I frequently come back in my Blog.

In this age of global competition investment by the government to science and technology is important for tackling global issues.  However it is after all each individual who carry the tasks out.

In “Innovation 25”- a report and recommendation that I chaired in its drafting-that was approved by cabinet of Abe administration, we pointed out that for innovation, a “creation of new social values”, the key factor is “human resource” and  “Deru Kui (nails sticking out/out of box)” type people are very important.  Although the report is an official government paper, a casual phrase of “Deru Kui” appears repeatedly in it.

Now, last year, four Japanese scientists won Nobel Prize and this good news was welcomed by everybody.  If you review their CVs, you will notice that they are all apparently so to say “Deru Kuis” or “Out of Box”.

A nice biweekly series titled “GLOBE” started from last October in Asahi Shinbun appearing on every other Mondays.  I wrote a piece under the title of “Why Todai has difficulty in producing Nobel Prize winners (in Japanese only)” in March 18 issue.  Believe it or not, Dr. Koshiba is the only Nobel laureate who is Todai alumnus who also carried out the award winning research at Todai.

Some of the Todai faculty members reading the article might have felt uncomfortable, but what do you think?  To jump into the broad world and compete away from home ground is an important fundamental principle that should be taken seriously.

A new “bud” of talent would not shoot up and grow to be a “big tree” if that precious genius keep hiding in its shelter.  It is such a waste -“Mottainai”.  As the saying goes, “I no nakano kawazu taikai wo shirazu (the frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean)”. (You may think you know but you don’t.)

Tahiti-3 (Captain Cook、Battleship Baunty、Lighthouse of Stevenson)




Tahiti is famous for Paul Gaugin (1848-1903) (Ref.1) but is well known for Captain Cook (1728-1779) also.

The three great voyages of Cook are without doubt extraordinary.  He sailed to Tahiti in 1769 by the request from Royal Society to observe ‘Transit of Venus across the Sun’.

By the way, as you may be familiar from movies etc., in 1788 (nine years after Cook), Battleship Bounty known for “Mutiny on the Bounty” arrived at this very same place.  A monument is built in memory of the Bounty (Photo2).


Photo2: Monument of Bounty landing

Lighthouse in Photos3~5 also stands at this place.  This was built by the famous company “Lighthouse Stevenson” (founded by Robert Stevenson, 1772-1850), 100 years later in 1867 (first year of Meiji era).


Photo3: The lighthouse




Photo5: Entrance of the lighthouse

I found a very interesting thing as I looked close to this lighthouse.  It is shown in the photo on the top, an enlarged picture of something seen in the left part of photo5.  In my next posting I will write about it.  It is about the “Story of coincidence in history ? in relation to the Meiji Restoration.”

At about the same time, i.e. the early period of Meiji era, several lighthouses were build in Japan and major ones were designed by Richard Branton who was trained at “Lighthouse Stevenson.”




Tahiti (Ref.1) is a place anyone would dream of visiting once in a lifetime, it’s image is a beautiful resort far off in the Pacific Ocean.  Bora Bora Island in the Tahiti island chain is especially a popular destination for honeymooners.

This is a follow up of my last blog and I feel very lucky to have an opportunity to come to this place as an attendee of Pacific Science Association, a distinguished academic conference that has a history of 90 years.

Since I may not have so many chances to come back, it would be a waste if I didn’t enjoy the nature at least a little, like swimming in the coral sea or canoeing.

So, I made some time to drive around the Tahiti Island. I also drove to the foot of Mont Orohena (2,241m) stands high in the center of the island.  Further in the heart of the mountain, there is a hotel called Le Relais de la Maroto Mountain Hotel and "marae" which is a sacred place for the local people where they do open air rituals for the local god (Ref.1).

I also went to the Gauguin museum (although I wasn’t able to go inside), enjoyed canoeing, and snorkeling in a small island far off.

Dr. Ichida said that there are not so many butterflies or birds here and the species are few.

But the blue sea, blue sky, white sand and green trees are fantastic and I recommend you to come here by all means.

I have uploaded some photos in Picasa for you to enjoy.





For the first time, I came toTahiti, a southern island far away from Japan. It was an 11 hours’ non-stop flight by Air Tahiti Nui from Narita. The Narita ? Tahiti Island(Papeete) flight flies twice every week.

I am visiting here to attend the Inter-Congress of Pacific Science Association. At the venue, they even had a large tent set up at the beach(Photo1), which was very nice in atmosphere. You could see Moorea Island, an island often used for movie location because of its very Tahitian view, was right before your eyes. The Congress was held last time at Okinawa two years ago as I have written before.


Photo2: Moorea Island

Since Tahiti is a part of French Polynesia the French government also strongly supported the conference and the number of attendee reached up to 800 people. Many of the speeches given on the opening day sounded very patriotic, maybe a bit too much, at least from my point of view.


Photo3: Opening Session

There were so many topics connected to Pacific Ocean such as climate change, coral reefs, wild life diversities, human society v.s. nature preservation, etc. and I think it was what characterized this Pacific Science Association Inter-Congress.

Dr. Ichida, who is an expert on bird watching from the BirdLife International and Professor Isao Nakajima, Director of eHealth, ITU, also came and they each delivered wonderful speech on relations between avian influenza and migratory birds, and the feasibility of observation of the birds.


Photo4: With Dr. Ichida


Photo5: Dr. Nakajima at lecture

At night, receptions were held by different hosts every day. The first night was co-hosted by the Chairman of this meeting, President of French Polynesia, and High Commissioner. The second night was hosted by PSA and President of French Polynesia, and the last night was a farewell party hosted by PSA with performance of charming Tahitian and Polynesian dances.

I have uploaded some photos on Picasa for you to enjoy.

The Steller’s Sea Eagle and the White-tailed Eagle






Photo1 is the Steller’s Sea Eagle, the second largest eagle in the world which breeds mainly in the northern sea area of Kamchatka Peninsula to Hokkaido.  Photo2 is the White-tailed Eagle, a bird that is slightly smaller in size than Steller’s Sea Eagle.

These photos were taken by a friend of mine about a week ago. (See also other pictures from links given below.)

 ・Steller’s Sea Eagle
 ・White-tailed Eagle

During this season, these raptors fly from the Sea of Okhotsk to Shiretoko Peninsula of Hokkaido along with drift ice in search of food making this area the most crowded place in the world.



Troops of professional wild life photographers come to this place with chartered boats to photograph these eagles, I heard.  My friend also told me that a crew of BBC was seen among the people.



Those photos are just wonderful.  They are so beautiful, don’t you agree?