About Tokyo Tech

Interview with President Kazuya Masu

Sharing Tokyo Tech’s three commitments with the wider community

Six months into his term of office, President Kazuya Masu sat down with Institute for Liberal Arts Dean Noriyuki Ueda to talk about Tokyo Tech's three commitments.

Professor Noriyuki Ueda

UedaSix months have passed since you took office as president of Tokyo Tech on April 1, 2018. You recently announced what you call the 2018 Tokyo Tech Commitments. Can you talk about how you formulated them?

MasuMy predecessor achieved exceptional reforms during his five-and-a-half-year tenure. He established Tokyo Tech's six new Schools, the Institute of Innovative Research, and the Institute for Liberal Arts which you have spearheaded since 2016, and which we need precisely because we specialize in science and technology.

However, for us to continue innovating teaching, learning, and research, the Institute must boldly continue to evolve. My duty is to advocate and facilitate this evolution, and to ensure that it continues to result in outstanding teaching and research. These results, of course, come from the hard work of Tokyo Tech's people — our students, faculty, and staff. To achieve a shared sense of value and better express our identity as highlighted in the Tokyo Tech 2030 statement, I hope we can all adhere to three commitments as we move towards the future. These commitments are appreciating diversity, embracing collaborative challenges, and taking decisive action.

UedaCan you briefly expand on how you view these commitments?

President Kazuya Masu

Masu I became well-acquainted with the first commitment — appreciating diversity — as a researcher. Changes occurred rapidly then, as they do now, and new developments often required venturing across borders — in other words, being open to and appreciating diverse approaches to research. For some researchers, the passion for discovery leads them to an inadvertent solitude, severing ties to diversity. Unfortunately, innovations rarely emerge from within a single individual. I think the future looks very bright if researchers learn to embrace and appreciate various forms of diversity.

UedaAt the time of your inauguration, I recall you encouraging all students and staff to experience Tokyo Tech's buzzing hub of activity as they pursued their passions.

MasuYes. I believe that is a good first step.

In terms of research progress, however, that alone may not suffice. By collaborating and engaging in friendly competition with an array of researchers, we can rise to the challenge of conceiving next-generation creations. In the past, my research on integrated circuits was firmly rooted in the electrical and electronic field, but as the composition and structure of circuits evolved, knowledge from the materials science, chemistry, and mechanical engineering fields became increasingly important. And today, when we consider software that utilize these circuits, the discussion often turns to artificial intelligence. This is a prime example of how diverging from an intradisciplinary approach can generate great advances in a once seemingly obsolete phenomenon.

The third commitment I invite the wider community to declare is decisive action. A recurring observation during discussions with business professionals is that industry-academia collaborations are highly favorable activities for all those involved. The positive effects are evident and societal expectations are high. Yet in Japan, a peculiar indecisiveness seems to be holding us back. I invite all stakeholders in academia and the private sector to make decisions confidently, and to turn those decisions into actions. If we do this, we will undoubtedly unlock new frontiers in science and technology.

UedaAre these commitments an invitation to society to adopt a more open mind and take more risks in creating the future?

MasuThey are. They are also the result of candid discussions with faculty, staff, and the broader community. As a Designated National University, Tokyo Tech aims to maintain this open setting on and off campus so that positive change continues. I realize that integrating these commitments into daily teaching, learning, and research activities may take time. To begin with, I ask all Tokyo Tech community members to examine and acknowledge their own preconceptions. The next few years will bring exciting events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games to our doorstep, but also unforeseen phenomena. So what can we do to ready ourselves and mold the future into a better one? We can leave behind our preconceptions. We can create a buzz. We can appreciate diversity, tackle challenges with shared knowledge, and savor together new accomplishments through agile yet firm decision-making and action. Only our decisions and actions will bring about a better future.

Tokyo Tech 2030

An alternate future
The Tokyo Tech 2030 statement, consisting of spirit and action, formulated in a series of workshops by members of the Tokyo Tech community

Tokyo Tech 2030


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