President’s Commencement Address
LastUpDate： March 24, 2020
Congratulations on your graduation from and completion of studies at Osaka Prefecture University.
Although the first Spring Degree Award Ceremony in the Reiwa era was scheduled to be held at U Hall Shirasagi today, we were forced to cancel it as part of countermeasures against the new coronavirus. We hope that you will understand that this unfortunate decision was made to ensure your safety and prevent the spread of infection. Your diploma will be delivered to you today without fail, but I am very sorry that I cannot hand a diploma to each of you in person nor give each of you a personal message. Nevertheless, I would at least like to deliver my congratulatory message to you through this electronic media.
Today, a total of 2026 students are receiving a degree, including 1322 students who are graduating from the college and are receiving a bachelor’s degree, 648 students who have completed the master’s course and are receiving a master’s degree, and 56 students who have completed the doctoral course and are receiving a doctoral degree.
Although you will all take different paths in the future after receiving your degree, I hope that what you have learned at Osaka Prefecture University will help you live a rewarding life. I also hope that you will value not only the knowledge you acquired at the University but also your relationships with many faculty members, seniors, juniors, and friends to make your life richer. I understand that one’s evaluation of University is formed over many years by graduates who have entered society. I greatly look forward to your future performance.
Today, I will talk about three things at this important point in your life. These are: “having a dream,” “continuing to learn,” and “your encounters with others.”
First, about having a dream. Many people may remember that last year the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Dr. Akira Yoshino and other scientists. They received the award for their development of lithium-ion batteries. Since his research field is close to mine and I have also conducted studies on battery materials, I am more pleased to hear he had been awarded the Nobel Prize than simply because he is Japanese. As a corporate researcher, Dr. Yoshino says that in-house research has its goal and any treasure only comes from pursing the goal. As his words show, lithium-ion batteries have currently become an indispensable part of our society, including being used in smartphones and eco-cars. He also says that it is important to have a clear goal, target, or vision in order to achieve fruitful research and development. If what you strive for is a little less feasible than those ideas, the word “dream” will be used. Walt Disney, who created the dream paradise on earth called Disneyland, said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Since I became a research associate at the University 40 years ago, I have been involved in education and research for a long time. More than 20 years ago, I contributed an essay titled “Dreams” to an academic bulletin. In the essay, I wrote that I had a dream of developing a new battery called an all-solid-state battery through my research. At that time, development of an all-solid-state battery was thought to be almost impossible. However, as a result of the hard and steady research that I have conducted with students in my laboratory, all-solid-state batteries are currently coming close to practical use as in-vehicle batteries. Wishing to see the practical realization of all-solid-state batteries as ultimate batteries that play a large role following lithium-ion batteries, I am still doing research on all-solid-state batteries even after becoming President. I continue to tell students in my laboratory at the important point in their lives to consider how they want to live in 20 or 30 years. There is a saying that, “It is more pleasant trying to realize a dream than trying to achieve success.” I hope that you will have your own dreams, visions, goals, and targets and continue pursuing them in your future life.
Second, I want to talk about continuing to learn. When learning mathematics, Japanese language, and other subjects in high school and junior high school, each question had only one answer. However, you must have noticed through learning at university that, though there is a single answer to a question in some cases, in other cases, there are multiple answers. We have offered various curricula that aim to help students acquire the ability to respond to challenges with multiple answers. After venturing out into the world, you will face many cases where you have to cooperate with many people in resolving complex issues that will be hard to find answers quickly. Answers to such issues can be obtained through learning in the real world. However, if you don’t keep on learning, it will be hard for you to resolve such issues. I believe that through your learning at the University, you have acquired the basic skills to educate yourself. I hope that you will continue having aspirations to improve yourself and work on yourself. I also hope that you maintain a desire to learn, always absorbing new things, always impressed by new discoveries.
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to become an inventor like Thomas Edison. He said, “A university is a place of learning, business is also a place of learning, and life itself is a place of learning.” Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” I would like you to think that the diploma you receive today is a document that encourages you to keep learning in the future. It would be wonderful if you would take this opportunity to choose to enrich your life by continuing to learn all life long.
Third, I want to talk about your encounters with others. Even any great person cannot live alone. We all live by receiving support from various people. You have grown to what you are today through your encounters with many people. How many people can we meet in a lifetime? The number of people we meet within a limited amount of time is actually small, even though we seem to meet many people. It can only be called a miracle that we meet specific people from among so many hundreds of thousands of people. Why not appreciate all the encounters that you have had? By doing so, you will surely form new relationships with others. Mr. Katsuya Nomura, the first person to win the triple crown in Japanese baseball and the founder of the ID (important data)-based baseball strategy, who died the other day, said, “No matter how much computer technology evolves, it is the human who takes the initiative in work. As long as people work together, they build “en” ties to other people and “jo” sympathy. I believe that a person who notices and values this can become the final winner of the race.” In my 40 years of working, I continue to realize how important “en” human relationships are in research and everyday life. It is said that encounters at university and in graduate school in many cases will last a lifetime. I would like to ask you to appreciate your encounters and value your relationships with others, and I will end these three stories here.
In many universities in the U.S., the graduation ceremony is called the “commencement.” Since the term “commencement” refers to the start of something new, it is slightly different from the image of “graduation.” I have heard that the term “commencement” is used with the nuance that students are expected to set off into the world of wisdom or the world of truth and begin their new life there. I also graduated from teaching in March last year and have just started my life as President, who is expected to spearhead the University’s integration. In this new era of Reiwa, let us take on challenges for the future.
Lastly, although you will receive a diploma today as a result of your efforts, I believe that this is also attributed to the support you have received from your family and other people around you. I would like you to be strongly aware of this and clearly express your appreciation to them.
I would like to conclude my congratulatory remarks by wishing you all good fortune and every success in the new phase of your life that commences today.
March 24, 2020
President, Osaka Prefecture University