‘Nurturing Tough Todai Students’: Lecture Series of The University of Tokyo


Last December, President Hamada of the University of Tokyo sent out a message ‘Let Us Nurture Tough Todai Students’.

As part of this effort, a new lecture series titled ‘The Way of Life in the Global Age ? New Possibilities Suggested by Professionals’ was launched this April mainly for the freshman/woman and sophomore students.  Please refer to the Todai web site for information on lecturers, topics, abstracts, etc.  The list of invited lecturers is pretty impressive.  I felt honored to be invited.

The last lecture for this semester was on June 25th (Mon).  I was assigned for that day.   Early in the morning of this day the World Cup ‘Japan vs Denmark’ game was being played, with the result of Japan defeating Denmark by ‘3-1’, which entitled Japan to go to the final tournament so I was not sure whether students would come because I imagined that they must be sleepy after staying up all night watching the game live on TV.  However, this anxiety proved to be unnecessary.

Students seemed to have enjoyed my lecture.  I talked about the importance of going on journies abroad to discover one’s self, about ‘Let Us Take Leave of Absence From School’ (Ref.1 2),  watching and listening to Steve Jobs’ speech , and thinking of the ‘strength’ and ‘weakness’ of oneself as well as that of Japan.

At the ‘questions and answers’ session, many interesting questions were raised and I enjoyed the time very much.  The eyes of every student were shining.  My wish is that each one of these students  grasp wonderful future in their hands.

I want Japanese youths to see the world in broader perspectives as they live the ‘global age’, thus to spend more time to find out what they really want to do, or want to be.  I would like to encourage them to connect to people around the world, look for their identity, and to find opportunities to be active internationally.  All this, I have been saying repeatedly in my web site also.

Faculties at universities, people in industries, I urge you to give students support and opportunities, in any way possible, to ‘take a leave of absence, if necessary, and go out to see and feel the world’.  Any time spans, styles, programs, are OK.  I think even having students to plan and launch his/her own projects would be a good idea.

Our future lies in the hands of the youth.