|長崎大学長 河野 茂
|Entrance Ceremony Speech by the President of Nagasaki University (on April 2, 2021)|
|Congratulations on your admission to Nagasaki University! We've got a spot waiting for you and can't wait to welcome you to Nagasaki University. In the midst of the spread of corona virus, you have overcome various difficulties to get where you are now. This is an outstanding accomplishment. I am sure this will give you confidence for the rest of your lives. I also would like to express my heartfelt respect to all the families and school staff who have supported you.
You have just started your university life in the difficult times of “With Corona.” In order to survive these difficult times I would like to suggest three things to you. The first is to think globally. Why? We are facing world-wide challenges. In just a year or so, the new coronavirus, COVID-19, has already infected more than 100 million people world-wide, across 77 countries. Coronaviruses, once known as mere cold viruses, are now causing major damage to humanity as SARS and MERS did, and now the COVID-19 pandemic is a major threat to us. COVID-19 is said to be a virus originally carried by bats, and it mutated and infected humans. As a result of deforestation and resort development, this has occurred. These environmental changes have clearly increased the contact between bats and people and animals. The spread of COVID-19 is closely related to the aforementioned environmental issues. Environmental problems such as the recent pandemic and global warming cannot be solved by individuals and any country acting alone. The whole world must work together to fight global issues.
The slogan of Nagasaki University is "Contributing to Planetary Health”, the Health of the Earth. Now I would like to urge you to take great interest in various kinds of global issues. Turn your eyes to the world and broaden your horizons. I strongly believe that you will be able to learn lots of things and embrace new opportunities at Nagasaki University, and that you will be able to spread your wings and explore the world in the future. Many of your predecessors have accomplished this. I can take Dr. Shimomura, who won the Novel Prize in Chemistry in 1998, as a good example. He discovered a green luminescent protein which is extracted from aequorea Victoria. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, which used to be a school attached to the Medical School at Nagasaki University. During his later years, Dr. Shimomura visited Nagasaki several times and said, “I was a subnormal child, and my memory was not so good. I was physically weak, too.” According to his autobiography, he struggled to find direction for about two years before entering the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at our university. After that, he studied very hard, receiving a scholarship, and graduated at the top of his class When he finished his fourth year in college, he took an exam to try to join a pharmaceutical company, but he failed. However, he never gave up. He still believed that process counts and that his all efforts would pay off. He finally became determined to be a researcher and went to America. I think we can count Dr. Shimomura as a good example of the realization of "From Nagasaki to the World.” He set a great example for us as an excellent researcher. Dr. Shimomura also said, “The origin of my study lies in my student life at Nagasaki University.” Now you stand here as Dr. Shimomura did.
Based on Dr. Shimomura’s words, I would like to make a second suggestion to you. You need to establish your identity. Seek to know more and more about Nagasaki. 2021, this year, marks a milestone anniversary, the 450th anniversary of the opening of the port of Nagasaki. With the arrival of Portuguese trading ships, Nagasaki opened its gate to the world. During the Edo period, Nagasaki became the only port open to the world. The wealth of new knowledge came in from the western world, of course, but a variety of disease was also carried by the visitors. Around the end of the Edo period, cholera, a gastrointestinal infectious disease, landed in Nagasaki. The disease spread from Nagasaki to the rest of Kyushu, then to Osaka, and then to Tokyo (Edo), and the disease came roaring into Edo and killed more than 40000 people within 40 days. During this time in Nagasaki, according to a historical record, the Dutch doctor Pompe and his students built a Japan's first Western-style hospital on a hill overlooking Nagasaki Harbor and fought Cholera. This particular history reminds us of the fight against COVID-19 by the researchers and doctors at Nagasaki University. We have much to learn from our history.
There is one more historical issue, a tragic event on our campus that you must remember. Nagasaki University is the only university in the world that was exposed to the atomic bomb radiation. On August 9, 1945, at 11:02 a.m., the U.S. military dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki. The bombing attack killed 74,000 people out of 240,000 and burned and half destroyed about 36% of the buildings in Nagasaki. The history of our university is a history of powerful recovery from this horrible tragedy. At that time, Dr. Takashi Nagai, Assistant Professor Cho Rai, and other members of the School of Medicine devoted themselves to the medical treatment of A-bomb survivors. In "Reminiscences," a collection of records compiled by the School of Medicine as a tribute to the spirit of the atomic bomb victims, there are many accounts of the terrible experiences that the instructors and students had during the time. Now let me introduce a written text by Yoshiharu Kaieda, a third-year medical student, who was undergoing clinical training at a university hospital at the time. He said, “The blast and noise of the bomb explosion was horrendous. I got down on the ground as if I was being blown over. After a moment of the blast and noise, darkness and silence filled the place. I thought I was buried alive, and then I tried to move my body. My body was moving. Is everyone all right? Several responses immediately came back. “Ohhh.” Then some people seemed to start moving in the darkness, and someone was crawling over my body. I felt as if the darkness was going to continue longer. As the darkness cleared, I looked around and was very much surprised at the extent of the damage. My surprise doubled when I ran out of the building. As far as I could see, all the buildings had been completely destroyed, and the whole area was burned to the ground. I suddenly came back to myself and examined the kimono I wore. I noticed the back of my white gown was stained bright red with blood. I had to put the torn gown on the injured man who was shivering in the cold. The area was full of wounded and burned people. My friends and I gathered the scattered wood around us and cremated the bodies of what we thought were friends of ours on the hill near the university hospital. I prayed for the souls of my classmates and seniors. These are the terrified scenes of the time and they are beyond description. Students and faculty members stood together for the post-disaster recovery in the midst of the burned-out ruins and the threat of school closure. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, we are where we are today. I hope that from our university's painful history you will be able to grasp something. I would like you to be persistent and flexible in dealing with reality.
The third suggestion is to move forward into the future, remembering and learning from the past. And never stop learning something new. Learn about AI (artificial intelligence) and information data science. These are must-learn subjects. In AI technologies and information data science, there have been remarkable progress. I know many of you carry smart phones. These have brought drastic changes to the modern world. Smart phones enable us to connect with people from all over the world and get a lot of information. For example, people are using smart phones to collect data on the total number of COVID-19 cases. In contrast, smart phones also have some negative impacts as well, so we need to learn more about the impacts of modern technologies. The development of AI and information data science will increase the number of simple routinized tasks that can be easily automated. There are certainly many advantages, but on the other hand, those who do not fully understand and utilize the advantages of the technologies will face difficulties maintaining stable and robust livelihoods. In the future, once you get a job, it will be rare for you to stay in the same place for 40 years until you retire. Whether you are in humanities or sciences, you must continue to learn new things. You must see from a variety of perspectives. Please keep in mind the three things I have described so far: think globally, seek to know more about Nagasaki, and continue to learn by actively using information data.
Of course, we, the faculty and stuff, work together to implement the described ideas. However, now that the spread of the new corona infection has not ended yet, we are facing many difficulties in implementing the aforementioned ideas. Notice that there is a big gap between the conventional image of university life that you have and the reality. We may not be able to gather, enjoy club activities, and gain experience through part-time jobs. You may have restricted access to in person classes and club activities. In order to bridge the gap we have been trying hard by offering hybrid classes that mix face-to-face and remote learning, small group practice, and many other efforts. In order to avoid dense crowding at this ceremony, we have divided you into two groups.
Be flexible, accept this reality, and we will surely survive the difficulties we are now facing. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. The highest good is like water.” These are the words of Lao Tzu. I truly believe that the best way to lead a good life is to be as flexible as water. Think, work, and respond flexibly. The world is constantly changing, so remember that when faced with changes, successful people are flexible enough to adjust themselves to the ongoing changes. I would like you to grow, learning how better to be flexible. Gain knowledge and necessary skills and improve yourselves.
Let us now move forward and get a good start. Fulfill your dream for yourself and your family and make contributions to our society and the earth’s health.
Once again, congratulations on your admission to Nagasaki University today.
Your future starts here. The entire faculty and staff are looking forward to your future.
President of Nagasaki University