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Congratulations, New Students! (2017 Entrance Ceremony)

published April 28, 2017

On Saturday 8th April, 2017, the 2017 academic year entrance ceremony was held in the Prometheus Hall of the AGORA Global building at TUFS. With 404 School of Language and Culture Studies students (including 15 transfer students), 413 School of International and Area Studies students (including 15 transfer students), 163 Graduate School of Global Studies Master's/ Doctoral programme students, and 72 Japanese Language Centre for International Students, a total of 1,052 new students were granted entry into the university.

2017 Entry ceremonial adress form the President

170408_05_2.jpgGranting entry

170408_06.jpgThe President's ceremonial address

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Mr. Hasegawa, Tokyo Gaigokai Director

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A Performance of the university's anthem by the philharmonic chorus, 'Choeur Soleil'

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In front of the venue, the AGORA Global Building

170408_07.jpgMs. Michimune, Student Support Association chairperson

170408_09.jpgCongratulatory address from Ms. Fujimura, Director, Japanese Language Center for International Students

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The university monument, a popular spot for comemorative photos

170408_03.jpgCherry blossoms in full bloom on campus

2017 Entry Ceremonial Address from the President

170408_06.jpgAs president of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of our new students.

In addition, I extend heartfelt congratulations to the parents and guardians here today who are listening to this ceremonial address from multimedia hall 101 in the Research and Lecture Building.


Today, we welcome here 404 School of Language and Culture Studies students (including 15 transfer students), 413 School of International and Area Studies students (including 15 transfer students), 163 Graduate School of Global Studies Master's and Doctoral programme students, as well as 72 Japanese Language Center for International Students. Standing before everyone here brimming with hope, I am humbled in both body and soul.

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, which will become your new place of learning, can be traced back to the Bansho Shirabesho, which was established in 1857. In 1873, the Tokyo School of Foreign Studies was founded upon the study of the five subjects of English, German, French, Russian, and Chinese. In 1897, the school was incorporated as a language school for an industrial high school, and, in 1899, it became independent as Tokyo School of Foreign Studies. Then, in 1949, with the commencement of the new university system, the school started its new beginnings as Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Please think of the name of this institution, Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku, as 'Tokyo University of Foreign Studies', and not 'Tokyo University of Foreign Languages'. This name was adopted along with the launch of the new university system in 1947, and 'Foreign Studies' derives from the concept of, not only studying foreign languages, but also, beginning with the combined study of 'languages of the world and the general culture based in them', being able to acquire 'the high level education required to live an international life'. To everyone here, I anticipate that you commit yourselves to' foreign studies' here at Tokyo University of Foreign studies, which is supported by the two pillars of 'Language Studies' and 'Area Studies', and that, in the near future, whilst freely using English and other foreign languages in all areas of the world, you will flourish as multilingual, global citizens equipped with the ability to understand other cultures.

I wonder if you all are aware of the 'Doomsday Clock'. The clock was shown on the cover of the American journal 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists', and is a symbol representing the severity of the danger of the world ending by counting the remaining time until 12 midnight, which represents doomsday. Recently, the Doomsday Clock was put forward by 30 seconds, to two minutes and 30 seconds to midnight. Until now, the closest to doomsday came with the success of hydrogen bomb experiments by the United States and Soviet Union in 1953, when the clock was advanced to two minutes to midnight. Now, with the birth of a political administration touting the principal of 'own country first', the world is becoming destabilised, and it can be said that the crisis awareness held by scientists is proof of this.

Moreover, the condition of ignoring objective facts to proclaim one's individual opinion, referred to as 'post-truth', has emerged. The concept of the substituting of facts with 'alternative facts' in order to justify one's standpoint has even come in to existence. If we continue on like this, the 'Doublethink' depicted in George Orwell's Novel, '1984', published in 1949, in other words 'The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them', might become a part of our way of thinking.

In order not to fall into this state, I think that it is necessary to learn and always put into practice the scientific way of thinking that the study of recent history has cultivated. This is not such a difficult thing. It means having a 'logical integrity', or explaining a fact without contradictions or leaps of logic, and a 'factuality, or verifying as far as possible whether something is backed up by objective facts. For instance, to name the Russian revolution that occurred in 1917 as the cause for the Great Depression that started in 1927 would be beyond feasible.

When we say 'post-truth', we encounter the difficult question of 'what is truth', which then becomes an endless argument over who is speaking the truth. However, if we reword this as the 'post-truth politics' originally discussed in the English speaking world, surely we will as a matter of course decide that we must not excuse politics based in 'non-truths'. I plead that all of you protect the two principals of 'logical integrity' and 'factuality' as you study on your own initiative at this university and advance each of your areas of specialisation.

In addition, I truly hope that everyone here, through your studies at this university, will develop into global citizens, overcoming the borders between nations and cultures to possess an 'international' and 'intercultural' outlook.

(Message in English to students of the Japanese Language Centre for International Students)

Lastly, I would like to say congratulations to our new students here at Japanese Language Center for International Students.
JLC is a leading Japanese language educational institution established in 1970. It has been under the Joint Usage Center for Education, since 2012.
It is my most sincere wish that your Japanese language abilities blossom while here at JLC. May you take the language and culture learned here at JLC and move on to your own area of expertise.
Finally, I hope that in the future you may become a bridge between Japan and your own place.
Thank you.

With this, I conclude my ceremonial address. Thank you.

8th April 2017

Tateishi Hirotaka, President of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies