April 4, 2022
Professor Kohei Itoh
President, Keio University
To all of you, the new students of Keio University graduate schools gathered here today, welcome. I would also like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to your family members.
As we begin, I would first like to read "The Mission of Keio University" as articulated by our founder, Yukichi Fukuzawa.
"Keio Gijuku is not merely a place for academic pursuit. Its mission is to be a constant source of honorable character and a paragon of intellect and morals for the entire nation and for each member to apply this spirit to elucidate the essence of family, society, and nation. They will not only articulate this essence in words, but also demonstrate it in their actions, and by so doing make Keio a leader of society."
While I imagine there are a variety of reasons you each decided to join Keio from among the many other options, I believe that this mission I introduced just now is a goal we should all share as members of this community. To be a "constant source of honorable character" and aim for the heights of becoming a "paragon of intellect and morals" to lead our society and the world forward, you must all devote yourselves wholeheartedly to your studies as graduate students. Along the way, you will make lifelong friends and research colleagues to accompany you on your journey. I can assure you the researchers you encounter while at Keio University will be among the best in their fields, and hope that you will enjoy the days to come.
Now then, have any of you ever heard of the three viewpoints known as "worm's eye," "bird's eye," and "fish-eye"? I first learned about these when reading Motoshige Itoh's The Three Eyes of Economics. For my speech today, I want to give my own spin on this concept and how it relates to your research and specializations as you begin your studies at Keio's graduate schools.
The first viewpoint is that of a "worm's eye." This perspective is focused on digging deeply into one's area of interest. As each of you endeavor to enhance your academic expertise, you will also start to come in contact and explore other adjacent areas of study. You will forward your own research and learning while referring to papers and presentations from other experts in your field scattered across Japan and indeed around the globe. This is your close-up "worm's eye view." Your research may involve trial and error. It may not progress as planned. You may be disconcerted by realizations at, for example, academic conferences, that other scholars in your field threaten to outdo you in research areas that you had previously felt to be your unique expertise. But you are all here joining graduate programs because you love learning. Immerse yourselves completely in research that you enjoy so much that you go "bug-eyed," almost forgetting to eat or sleep, not caring about how others view you, in pursuit of your personal goals.
The second viewpoint is that of a "bird's eye." This perspective allows you to achieve an overarching panorama to systematically situate yourself and your research within the broad spectrum of academia. Last year, Keio University was chosen for JST's project, "Support for Pioneering Research Initiated by the Next Generation." Our initiative under this project is titled "Nurturing doctoral students who will map the grand designs for future society." It aims to raise up doctoral students who consciously think about how their actions and ideas can bring about a better future over the next fifty years. Extending across all of Keio's graduate schools, this project works to create new approaches to comprehensive learning by instilling values, inventing breakthrough technologies, and imagining novel societies. By implementing cross-disciplinary classes, seminars, and symposiums, Keio pursues its commitment to providing an integrative learning environment where students can engage with world-class opportunities.
This program also provides stipends and research funds to doctoral students, the backbone of the initiative, so that they can stretch themselves to expand their horizons. While funding may be limited to doctoral students, master's students also benefit from the connections between our 14 graduate schools. Because Keio is a university which provides students unique access to expertise in social sciences, the humanities, science, engineering, and medicine it is the ideal location to build a platform to achieve panoramic insights into scholarship. I hope you all take flight and find a bird's eye perspective on your own research and how, in a broad sense, it can further the cause of academia. Likewise, with eagle-eyed precision, I hope that you find meaningful and creative research topics to contribute to the world.
The final viewpoint is that of a "fisheye." This perspective allows one to gauge currents and trends. Unlike the snapshots or static images captured by a worm's or bird's eye, a fisheye allows you to dynamically ascertain the emerging picture. This includes encounters and interactions with faculty and friends during seminars, classes, or at conferences, as well as knowledge of new approaches and trends encountered while travelling for yourself or for work. In other words, a fisheye perspective allows you to trace changes in societies that humans have made and the earth's environment which they live in. Because society's foundations are built on connections between people, and the dynamic interplay of these connections are what ultimately shape society, it is essential to be able to skillfully navigate this complex ecosystem of interactions to perceive where the tide is flowing. Similarly, we must learn to look at the world from a global point of view, taking on the perspective of true leaders.
As you will be aware from looking at the Ukraine Crisis, our world, right now, is at an immense turning point. While I am a physicist, my experiences have led me to be invited to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and other countries to participate in a "borderless" discussion of pure physics with experts contributing from all these various countries. However, right now, due to political reasons, my dear colleagues are having their human rights violated and freedom stolen. I know, as someone who has first-hand experience of their kindness, that this continuing discord must be causing them immense pain and suffering. I implore all of you here today to get involved whenever possible with opportunities that allow you to make such deep and personal connections with scholars around the globe so that you, together, can build a better world.
I sincerely hope that you will all, at Keio, gather the deep specialized knowledge facilitated by a worm's eye perspective; harness a bird's eye perspective to gain a rich cultural overview of your discipline; and apply a fisheye perspective to refine your abilities to read the currents of world society. It is my address to you here, to make use of the universality of learning, to overcome ideological barriers and borders, and to connect with others around the world. I hope that you will join hands together with your colleagues and with communities around the world to advance our global society over the next fifty years.
For today, I once again say congratulations to you all.