Message From the DeanJAPANESE PAGE
Kyoto’s Four Seasons
I entered Faculty of Economics at Kyoto University in the spring of 1985. I remember it well. A tea party was held the day before the admissions ceremony, and there was a man there who, oblivious to the dean and the director of the research institute, humbly stated that he was a new member of faculty, and entered into an unfaltering monologue: “I’m glad I went to Faculty of Economics rather than Faculty of Law. There is no branch of academia more interesting than economics. I want to study a discipline that can give back to society.” I felt that university was a place filled with mysterious figures. Choosing my seminars, I learned that one mysterious figure’s name was Mitsuharu Ito, and seeking to beat him, I boldly knocked on the door of Ito’s seminar, and challenged him to debate at every weekly seminar. I did not win. This man loved to challenge young people, and when I called on him to announce my having found employment in the fall following my graduation, he breathed a deep sigh and said, “What a shame.” Hearing those words, I realized my life’s calling, and decided to enter Graduate School the following year. Encounters with others can change your life.
So, I have been appointed as Dean of Graduate School of Economics and Faculty of Economics from Spring 2021. Life is short. I don’t wish for much. I would like to focus on two themes:
The first is the promotion of education integrating the humanities and the sciences. There is no more interesting branch of academia than economics. Today, as it merges with data science and technologies like artificial intelligence, economics continues to change the world as a new empirical discipline. Faculty of Economics at Kyoto University was one of the first to introduce a science entrance exam and has aimed to provide an education integrating the humanities and sciences. Here too, we will address teaching the fusion of economics and data science in cooperation with centers and graduate schools from all disciplines. I would like for students of the humanities to obtain knowledge of science and technology, and for students of the sciences to learn of the culture, history, and art of the humanities. Today, Japan is creaking under the strain of competing internationally. We will be unable to ride out these rough seas relying on people with conventional, narrow fields of knowledge. I wish for you all to exceed the framing of science and literature, and for you to create the wave of a new generation.
The second theme is that of strengthening international research capabilities. The Japanese people earnestly expect outstanding research capabilities from Kyoto University as a free university. As Professors Yukawa Hideki, Fukui Kenichi, and Yamanaka Shinya have said, we wish to give back to society through peerless, international research. To this end, we must innovate the activities of our teaching staff and make changes to roles. We must as a team strengthen the research capabilities of the Graduate School of Economics. You, our Graduate Students, must form the backbone of this effort, and boldly take up the challenge of innovating upon these traditional modes of academia. I shall exert myself in developing such an environment. It is my wish that every one of you will exceed the frame of international boundaries and create a new wave of academic disciplines.
Kyoto’s seasons, like our lives
Life seems short, but it’s long and you may feel impatient. We want to give you the freedom to be impatient, and the freedom to be bewildered.
In these moments, in spring, you can walk along the Philosopher’s Path in east Kyoto, in summer, you can enjoy the cool air of Kibune in north Kyoto, in fall, you can take in the moon in Daigo in south Kyoto, and, come winter, venture out onto the snow in Arashiyama in west Kyoto. Please enjoy the beauty of Kyoto’s four seasons.