学長室

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2016年度秋季入学式(2016年9月19日)

2016年度9月入学式で、英語でのスピーチを行う土屋学長(駿河台キャンパス・岸本辰雄ホールにて)

On behalf of the whole Meiji University community, congratulations and welcome to all of you.

2016 marks the 135th year since the foundation of Meiji University. When we look back at Japan’s history, many universities were founded after the Meiji restoration, under the banner of modernization. This was especially the case with private universities, which were set up by reflecting the spirit of their founding principles.

The founding principles of Meiji University were “Rights, Liberty, Independence and Self-government.” When Japan was pursuing modernization, three law scholars who founded Meiji University proclaimed the founding spirits of “individual rights and liberty, the independence of the individual and self-government.” Here, we can appreciate their notion of modernization influenced by the European enlightenment during their studies in France.

However, Japan made a crucial mistake. After the 1930s, Japan invaded Asian countries based on the theory of imperialism and colonialism. This caused misery and tragedy to those Asian countries, and Japan killed a large number of young Japanese people by sending them to war. Japanese universities, including Meiji University, did not have the strength to stop this tragedy. Japan has spent the 70 years since World War II, reflecting on its past conduct.

The reason why Japan strives to be connected to the people of Asia and the world is because of this reflection on the experience of war. It is a strategy for peace. And universities are the places where we can collaborate globally, hand in hand, and solve the challenges of humanity, so that we never repeat the tragedy of war.

In other words, the university must strive to be a Utopia with its gates wide open and welcome anyone from around the world. Meiji University accepts refugee students because we believe that universities should provide space for those people who have, through no fault of their own, lost their homes. We should open the windows of opportunity for such people to live and thrive. Meiji University welcomes students who foresee an opportunity towards a bright future by attending Japanese universities.

However, I need to emphasize that entering or graduating Meiji University should not be your final goal. We have various study abroad programs with universities worldwide. You may also do an internship at corporations.

Please take full advantage of these opportunities and make your next step into the global society. We would like our students to pursue and create a vigorous life that reflects our founding spirit of Rights, Liberty, Independence and Self-government. Our faculty and staff are here to support your goals for a lifelong achievement.

In addition to your academic studies, you will find many joyous activities. College sports, as with US and UK, is very popular in Japan including Meiji University. Sports express a culture of enrichment as well as possibility. We can learn a lot from sports, and at the same time, discover an artistic beauty through the coming together of our spirit and body.

Most recently, we were delighted by the success of the Japanese table tennis team at the Rio Olympics. Meiji alumni played an important role in the men’s team and won the silver medal. Jun Mizutani, is a graduate from the School of Political Science and Economics. Kouki Niwa is a current student at the same school. The coach, Mr. Kurashima, is also a Meiji graduate.

In addition to table tennis, Meiji University recently won the all-Japan university soccer tournament. Our baseball team has also won the league tournament. As a student at Meiji, please take this opportunity to go and watch these games. I am sure that college sports can enlighten your university life.

Meiji University is a fountain of vital spirit. Opportunities for studies, sports and interaction with the world are all here for you. You all have the chance to breathe in this spirit. As you enjoy this font of vital spirit, I think that you will all realize why Meiji University ranks as the very top school that high school students hope to enter, and also why we attract over a hundred thousand applicants each year.

In Japan, autumn is the harvest season. I truly hope that you will start to harvest your own talents during this time of joy. I believe that you all will accomplish your goals which lead you to a bright and prosperous future. Once again, congratulations and please enjoy your student life at Meiji.

September 19, 2016
Keiichiro Tsuchiya
President of Meiji University 

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