About Tokyo Tech
About Tokyo Tech
Good morning, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2023 Fall Graduation Ceremony for all graduating students. To begin with, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding graduates completing their degrees today. You have attained successfully an important milestone in your lives. In the face of rapid change and uncertainty, your determination, creativity, and resilience have been truly remarkable, and we celebrate together the culmination of your hard work. I want you to take pride in being members of Tokyo Tech's tenacious Class of 2023.
To the families, friends, and loved ones who have tirelessly offered their comfort and support: Thank you, on behalf of everyone at Tokyo Tech, for entrusting these individuals to us, and for everything you have done during these difficult times.
On this special day, 86 Tokyo Tech students graduate with bachelor's degrees, 251 students receive their master's degrees, 9 students complete their professional master's degrees, and 107 students earn their doctoral degrees. All of you have explored not only your technical specializations, but also the liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences, in order to formulate your own distinctive vision of the world. You have collaborated with your peers and trusted mentors to generate fresh, innovative ideas and new value. You have sought the questions and answers that define your path to new discoveries and a better, brighter future. I want to congratulate you for these efforts, and thank you for adding another unique page to the 142-year history of Tokyo Tech.
As you near the end of this shared journey, I encourage you to maintain a broad perspective, an openness to new ideas, and a strong resolve to pursue your passions — the qualities that have brought you this far. Regardless of the path that you choose from here, I also invite you to continue turning to the Institute for knowledge, inspiration, and strength, particularly at times of adversity. Tokyo Tech's archives abound in stories about unrelenting pioneers who continue to motivate the world, and as I look at you, the newest Tokyo Tech graduates, I would like to share two of these stories.
The first inspiration comes from polymer chemist Shu Kambara, whose discoveries contributed significantly to advances in rubber, plastics, and medical materials. Kambara began working at Tokyo Tech in 1930, and some ten years later, discovered a novel method for production of polyacrylonitrile fiber. This was developed into Cashmilon, a hugely successful synthetic fiber used around the world to this day. Kambara's research also provided the first solid evidence of sulfur bridges in vulcanized rubber products. And, the groundwork laid by the polymer research group under his supervision would lead to further exciting discoveries decades later.
One of Kambara's passionate doctoral students was Hideki Shirakawa. Shirakawa's deep interest in synthetic polymers resulted in his earning a doctoral degree from Tokyo Tech in 1966, after which he became an assistant professor at the Institute. Soon after, a fortuitous error in the lab led to the discovery of a polyacetylene film with metallic luster. Some 10 years later, Shirakawa, together with his American and New Zealander colleagues, reacted this film with iodine vapor, increasing its conductivity tremendously. The trio was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000 for the discovery and development of electrically conductive polymers.
I highlight these two stories because they are wonderful examples of two individual successes which, under the surface, are very strongly connected. I hope you, too, can continue to create your own stories, strengthen your connections, and perhaps, pave the way for the explorers and discoverers who come after you.
Today marks the successful end of one stage in your lives, and the beginning of a new one. As you look forward to future challenges, so too does the Institute with the creation of a completely new university, tentatively named Institute of Science Tokyo, or Tokyo Kagaku Daigaku, together with Tokyo Medical and Dental University. This integration will fortify and diversify our abilities to search for truth and reason, and push the boundaries of technology for the betterment of humankind. It will not, however, change the fact that you are all lifelong members of the Tokyo Tech community. Regardless of our evolution and continuous pursuit of new challenges, we will cherish our traditions and welcome you here with open arms. The Institute and the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, or Kuramae Kogyokai, are always here to engage with you. Reach out to us when you can! Join the Tokyo Tech Online Community to stay connected and share the impact you create.
To conclude, I want to draw your attention to the Tokyo Tech Seal, the swallow by the window. This seal symbolizes the Institute as a hub of technical innovation from which the windows of the world open up to its members. You entered this window seeking knowledge, guidance, motivation, and excitement. Today, you are standing at this same window, facing the world, ready to take flight.
Class of 2023: Continue to seek new challenges and opportunities with resilience, persistence, and passion. Continue to pursue your own path while sharing your knowledge to create a better, brighter future!
Class of 2023: Congratulations!
September 22, 2023
President, Tokyo Tech