Congratulations, New Students! (2022 Entrance Ceremony)

April 5, 2022

On Tuesday the 5th of April, the 2022 Academic Year Entrance Ceremony was held. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s entrance ceremony was held separately in the Prometheus Hall and Research and Lecture Building’s classroom.

TUFS welcomed 365 new students (including 10 transfer students) to the School of Language and Culture Studies, 348 (including 9 transfer students) to the School of International and Area Studies, 79 to the School of Japan Studies, 161 into the Master’s and Doctoral Programs of the Graduate School of Global Studies – a grand total of 953 new students.

New student taking pictures in front of TUFS monument
A performance of University song. Performed by TUFS Orchestra
Entry Ceremonical Address from the President
Welcome message from current students
Greetings from a representative of new students

2022 Entry Ceremonial Address from the President

To all incoming students:

Congratulations, and welcome to TUFS! The entrance ceremony this year had to be held with many undergraduate students distributed in different classrooms. It is unfortunate that this ceremony could not be held in a hall full of people, and we cannot see your smiling faces directly, but I think it is still special that you are watching this live broadcast with your friends who will be studying with you, and with your teachers who will be teaching you. Of course, this is a measure to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but we must not simply be victims of this two-year pandemic. We must actively take advantage of this opportunity to reflect on and update our ways of life.

Many of you who are entering the undergraduate program spent more than half of your high school years under the pandemic. As you have come from all over the country, your circumstances may vary, but I am sure you all share the experience of studying at home and of having school events postponed or cancelled. All the more reason, I am sure, that you are filled with hopes and plans for your university life. We have also been working hard dealing with the coronavirus pandemic these past two years. Now it is time to embark on a “new normal” in our lives. While we naturally must continue taking some necessary precautions, such as wearing masks and eating silently, we are planning to remove various restrictions on campus activities. Short-term and long-term study abroad programs are also included in this plan. We will build a rich “new normal” with you all, based on what we have learned during these difficult two years. I hope that you enjoy your university life to the fullest, studying hard, spending time in extra-curricular and volunteer activities, visiting museums and art galleries, watching movies, and many other things. It may seem strange to be extolling such ordinary things, but when I think of how long it has been since our “ordinary” activities have no longer been “ordinary,” I am excited that we can resume them at last.

Just as we are about to welcome spring with such a positive spirit, we are given a cold reminder by the sad reality in Ukraine. Those of you who have studied world history should be familiar with the history of Ukraine, which started as the Principality of Kiev on the plains along the northern coast of the Black Sea, where the Scythians and Kharzas were active. This was followed by the Kipchak Khanate, Crimean Khanate, the Russian Empire, and the Kingdom of Austria-Hungary. In the 20th century, this region suffered great devastation in two world wars, yet Ukraine continued, as a republic state of the Soviet Union, then later, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as an independent nation. The people of Ukraine, who have developed a rich history through the comings and goings of various peoples, are now facing indescribable destruction and loss of human lives caused by Russia’s aggression in purported defense of its own national interests. The attack on Ukraine, where ethnic and religious diversity is an integral part of the nation, is a graphic illustration of how one state’s ego can cause so much suffering.

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies is dedicated to education and research on languages, cultures, and societies of the world. I would like to talk a little about how we view this issue.

We at TUFS do not have a major that specializes in Ukrainian language or the Ukrainian region, but we have long offered the Ukrainian language as an elective course. Thanks to the efforts of faculty members from the Russian and Polish programs, we have an exchange agreement with the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, and student exchange has been very active. Many of our students studying Russia have chosen Ukraine as an area of research specialization. Ukraine is also a place where study of Japan is flourishing. To support their Japanese language education program, our university has an overseas office at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

We view this war on Ukraine in this context. The first to speak out were professors in the Russian program who have a deep understanding and love of Russia and Russian culture. They have clearly expressed their strong anger at the violence perpetrated by the leadership of their country and have voiced their support for the Russian people who oppose the war. They have also taken action to comment and expound on the current issue from the perspectives of international politics and history. On the other hand, they oppose the tendency to characterize this war as the first war of the 21st century and call attention to the many wars and turmoil in Asia and Africa caused by the aggression of major powers. This is because Ukraine is not the first example of such aggression.

As a university, we consider it our responsibility to communicate these diverse perspectives to Japanese society. There is no one simple answer to the world’s problems. Naturally, there are differences in views and opinions. There are debates, and there is much to learn from different opinions. And that, I think, is the way it should be to understand the world.

What this means is that the whole world is reflected within our university. Here, there are faculty members and students who are concerned not only about the fate of the people of Ukraine, but also about the agony of the people in Russia who are shamed by the war and oppose it. There are also those who think hard about and act for the world in turmoil. This is what our university is all about.

This is the culture of TUFS, that you will become a part of today. We are a small university, but please remember that we are a university that stays close to the people of the world.

I hope that through your studies at TUFS you acquire deep understanding and well-informed judgment, and that you develop deep empathy for the world, and that you will learn to take action. The culture of our university will naturally permeate within you. The world today needs you. I hope that you are ready to take on your role in this world and do your best.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to heartily welcome our international students in the Graduate School of Global Studies and School of Japan Studies. Congratulations!

I know you must have been worried as to when you would be able to come to Tokyo because of Japan’s strict border controls. Thankfully, the Japanese government has changed its policy and is now prioritizing international students, as we had been requesting repeatedly for quite some time. I know that there are some of you who are still preparing to travel to Japan. I sincerely hope that we will see all of you here in person very soon and that you can start studying on our real campus with your teachers and friends. This will surely be a rich learning experience that cannot be replaced by online classes.

Congratulations again!

Kayoko Hayashi
President, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

April 5, 2022