“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.)