President’s Welcome Address
LastUpDate： April 11, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, congratulations on your entrance and welcome to Osaka Prefecture University (OPU). On behalf of the university, it is my great pleasure to give an address to commemorate this event.
My address starts with three questions which relate to the Wind, or “風” in Japanese. [When the kanji is read as kaze, it means wind, but when read as fuu, it can mean “style.”] First, I will give my impression of “wind (風)” in the PyeongChang Olympic Games. Then, I will discuss two lyrics referencing “wind (風)” from famous American and Japanese songs. After that, I will consider how OPU-goers have special behavioral qualities, or a special “behavior-fuu (風).” Then, I explore the relationship between problems and solutions. Finally, I will encourage you to learn in the OPU style for your entire career.
I’d like to begin with the effect of the wind “風” on the Olympic ski jumping competition. Watching the Pyeongchang competition on TV, I was excited when Japanese athletes got medals. However, the competition was paused frequently because of strong wind. The weathervane showed that the direction and strength of the wind was frequently changing. I felt that these were not fair conditions for ski jumping.
When Japanese ski jumpers started from the jumping hill, the wind was not favorable for them. As a result they missed their opportunities to obtain gold medals, and this made me disappointed. However, they expressed how they enjoyed joining the game and their aspirations for the future. They did not blame the weather conditions for their inability to get a gold medal. Perhaps they were satisfied with their preparation and accepted the bad luck. Here is my first question: what can we learn from this episode?
Let me proceed to my second question. Bob Dylan, who is a famous singer and songwriter in the USA, won the Nobel Prize in Literature two years ago. The prize was awarded to him “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” One of his masterpieces is “Blowin’ in the wind.” In this poem, he wrote “the answer is blowin’ in the wind” regarding some rhetorical questions about war and oppression.
Influenced by this poem, Osamu KITAYAMA wrote Japanese lyrics for a song, and Norihiko HASHIDA wrote its melody. In their song “風,” they say, “whenever we look back after we give up on a dream or suffer a heartbreak, there is only the wind blowing.” While the melody is so beautiful that it makes me sing it here, the lyrics are as inconsolable as Dylan’s. How should we interpret their lyrics?
Next, let me introduce the words of our graduate, Manabu SAKAI at a symposium held in 2016. He said, “I felt something different from my previous impression of Silicon Valley when I visited there for the first time. It is difficult to express the exact differences, but the place seems to have a special smell.” As you may know, Silicon Valley is that famous area on the West Coast of the USA, where many start-up companies were established.
As I understand, the “smell” he refers to is invisible but gives a distinguishing character to the place and its inhabitants. I wondered, then, if the OPU campus had its own particular smell or not. If it does, do the students attending OPU get a sense of that smell from their studies? It exists as a kind of “OPU style,” or “校風” in Japanese. Do my questions make sense?
I have posed these three questions to you. Now, you can see there are no specific correct answers for them. You can have your own original answers. Indeed, you should find your original answers.
Let us get back to the second question. The lyric “the answer is blowin’ in the wind” implies that there is no one solution for real social problems. Rather, it seems to encourage us to create original solutions for the problems. While the entrance examinations may have correct answers, real-world problems do not always have single solutions. There should be lots of alternatives. The important thing is to have the ability to suggest alternatives and compare them.
We are proud of our “校風 (OPU style)”; Nikkei reported in 2017 that the overall evaluation for our graduates is ninth among Japanese universities. OPU-goers always make the most of their abilities. They have room for further growth. OPU-goers do not run away from any difficulties. They are friendly and like festivals and events. Providing a variety of ways to learn, such as community regeneration programs and global internships, we continue to maintain this OPU style.
Let us return to the first question. All people should accept the winds of life. We know the wind always changes its direction and strength, as we saw in the Olympic ski jumping competition. When faced with an opposing wind, you should endure weather like a willow tree and prepare for your future. Without a doubt, the wind will change its direction and support you one day.
Real social problems do not have universal correct solutions. We must have the ability to create alternatives and select one from them. OPU provides a variety of programs for OPU-goers to acquire that ability.
I hope you will remember my message from today whenever you feel the wind blowing. Once again, congratulations on your entrance to OPU. Thank you.
April 6, 2018
Hiroshi TSUJI, president of OPU
NB: Full address is posted on the Japanese official OPU website.