Tokyo Tech News

Third Taki Plaza Lecture: Films and the future of science and technology


Published: September 25, 2023

The third Taki Plaza Lecture, "MOVIES IN TAKI: Films and the future of science and technology," was held from July 3 to 7, 2023 at Hisao & Hiroko Taki Plaza (Taki Plaza), Tokyo Tech's flagship exchange hub. The event was co-organized by the Student Support Center's Student Success Support Section, the Student Support Division's Support Planning Group, and the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association.

This three-day event was one of several sessions comprising the Student Success Support Project, an initiative supported by Tokyo Tech alumnus and Gurunavi Inc. Chairman and Director Hisao Taki, which aims to encourage students who are actively engaged in various activities at Taki Plaza.

Situation while watching a movie (grand staircase space)

Situation while watching a movie (grand staircase space)


  • July 3
    Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • July 6
    Ready Player One (Warner Bros.)
  • July 7
    Gattaca (Columbia Pictures)

Under the theme of "Films and the future of science and technology," this event included the screening of films related to Tokyo Tech and movies that have received high international acclaim on the large monitors in Taki Plaza. On each of the three days, Associate Professor Yuto Koizumi from the Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) provided commentary on each of the films, giving away popcorn and drinks to the first 50 people in attendance. Quizzes on the film themes were also organized to encourage interaction and make the event more enjoyable for the participating students. All movies were screened in English with Japanese subtitles.

Before each screening, two Student Success Support Project organizers — 4th-year student Risako Yanagase and 3rd-year student Namkyong Kim — offered their opening remarks in both English and Japanese. Koizumi also offered points worthy of note before each film. Before the screening of Gattaca on July 7, he heightened the viewers' anticipation by explaining, "This movie has many impressive scenes of the night sky. Watching these scenes today on Tanabata, the annual Star Festival, will be particularly worthwhile."

Students Yanagase (right) and Kim speaking to participants

Students Yanagase (right) and Kim speaking to participants

ILA Assoc. Prof. Koizumi offering his thoughts to viewers before screening

ILA Assoc. Prof. Koizumi offering his thoughts to viewers before screening

All the participants seemed to enjoy the screenings in their own way. Some watched the films with popcorn in one hand and a drink in the other, while others quietly chatted with friends while watching. Yet others viewed the films from beginning to end with serious expressions on their faces.

Film commentary by ILA Associate Professor Koizumi

For each film, ILA's Koizumi provided plenty of additional details that kept the audience well informed.

In addition to explaining the content of Big Hero 6, he also mentioned that the original concept was a less well-known Marvel comic which was discontinued after one year. Koizumi also introduced to participants Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie produced by Marvel Studios, as a related film that he would recommend.

Regarding Ready Player One, Koizumi spoke about the actors' performances, feelings, and facial expressions, as well as the significance of a memorable scene towards the end of film in which a virtual reality "egg" also begins to glow in the real world.

When discussing Gattaca, Koizumi not only highlighted various visual representations in the film, but also noted that NASA had deemed it the most realistic science fiction movie of our time. He also posed to his audience some of the tough questions that Roger Ebert, one of the most influential film critics in the US, had asked. "Do parents hope that genetic engineering produces the perfect child? Should we roll the genetic dice and then place all our bets on raising that genetically engineered child?"

Each film commentary was easy to understand and provided a wealth of knowledge to the participants, deepening their understanding of the works and sparking interest in other related films.

Participants watching film in Taki Plaza's Event Space

Participants watching film in Taki Plaza's Event Space

Students who participated in the event later commented:

  • It was great to see my dream of watching movies on the big screen at Taki Plaza come true. The teacher's commentaries were also very interesting.
  • I enjoyed following the subtitles and learning the Japanese translations for the English I was hearing.

The Tokyo Tech community is already looking forward to the next Taki Plaza Lecture so that more students, faculty, and staff members can deepen their interactions through a variety of entertaining topics.

(from left) Yanagase, Koizumi, Kim

(from left) Yanagase, Koizumi, Kim

Comments from Student Success Support Project student organizers

Risako Yanagase
4th year, Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering

I am very pleased that we were able to realize our dream of showing films at Taki Plaza. This event was planned under the theme of "Films and the future of science and technology" with the hope of creating an opportunity for students to have a relaxed, fun, and productive time.

The films were all very worthwhile, and I believe I learned a lot from watching them. In addition to the selection of screened films, we made every effort to ensure that participants had a fulfilling time by quizzing them on the content and having Associate Professor Koizumi provide commentary.

It is significant that we were able to hold such a special event in a location that is familiar to many students on a daily basis. We will continue to plan various events to make Taki Plaza a hub for more student activities. We look forward to your continued support and cooperation.

I want to thank all the faculty and staff members who assisted in the planning and execution of the event. Thanks to them, we were able to make it a success.

Namkyong Kim
3rd year, Materials Science and Engineering

I always wanted to screen movies on the monitors on the B2 floor of Taki Plaza and watch them with my friends, so I am very happy that we were able to do that through "MOVIES IN TAKI."

We had a hard time deciding what kinds of movies we would like to show from the long list of options. We opted for science fiction movies that fell under the theme of "Films and the future of science and technology" because we felt that Tokyo Tech students would enjoy films related to science. I think we made the right good choice. Some students commented that they enjoyed recalling the knowledge they had accumulated at Tokyo Tech and thinking about how the content of the film could be realized.

We also asked Associate Professor Koizumi to provide commentary on the films so that participants could not only watch the films, but also generate new ideas. The professor kindly explained various points that viewers did not understand, content that viewers found particularly interesting, and scenes that they may have missed.

In addition, the student organizers created quizzes based on scenes that demanded particular attention in the films, and also created a website where people could enjoy taking some of these simple quizzes. This creative approach made it possible to enjoy the films while interacting with other people, unlike when watching a film in a theater.

Tokyo Tech Fund

This event is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund

Tokyo Institute of Technology Fund


Support Planning Group, Student Support Division, Student Services Department