Good afternoon, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2021 Fall Graduation Ceremony for master's and doctoral program students. First of all, I would like to recognize the outstanding graduates completing their degrees. The resilience, persistence, and passion demonstrated by each one of you is truly admirable, and today we celebrate together the culmination of your efforts. I want you to take pride in being members of Tokyo Tech's tenacious Class of 2021.
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 to make this day possible.
On this special day, 287 students graduate from Tokyo Tech with master's degrees, 14 students complete their professional master's degrees, and 91 students earn their doctoral degrees. Graduates: The last 18 months in particular have tested you with doubts, fears, and complications that could have led you astray. You did not let that happen. You remained firmly on your path, sought new ways forward, and emerged stronger on the other side. Thank you for adding another special page to the 140-year history of the Institute.
In an already rapidly evolving world, the COVID-19 era has accelerated further the rate of global change. We have witnessed this urgency in the swift development of vaccines, the decisive push towards carbon neutrality, and the expanding demand for robotics in various sectors. It brings me great joy to know that all of you have not only mastered some of the fundamentals required to impact this changing world for the better, but also developed the ability to identify pressing issues and create unique solutions to these issues. These abilities, together with the grace, flexibility, and optimism you have demonstrated during these challenging times, will continue to spark creativity and innovation, no matter where you go from here.
One person who knows how to spark creativity within himself and others is Masahiro Mori, who joined Tokyo Tech's Department of Control Engineering in 1969. A year after his arrival, the professor published his famous essay on the uncanny valley phenomenon — the link between a robot's resemblance to a human and our response to such a robot. Mori's work on bipedal walking robots later evolved into the famous ASIMO thanks to one of his students. In 1981, Mori launched a contest for students, asking them to devise a mechanism powered by two batteries which could carry a human. The contest spread throughout Japan, and then developed globally into many variations including the Robocon International Design Contest. Based on his technical and philosophical perspective, Mori attained tremendous achievements in the field of robotics, and continues to motivate the generations who follow in his footsteps. As you move on to new challenges, I hope you can draw inspiration from Mori and others who remain dedicated to creating a better future through science and technology.
If you want to continue to create the future with Tokyo Tech, the Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks, or DLab, is a platform that unites the Institute with the public to create a more desirable future together. Some of you may have already participated in DLab's activities during your time at Tokyo Tech. Whatever path you choose from here, whether you progress to further studies or transition to work life, DLab continues to welcome your innovative ideas to make the world a better place.
Today marks the successful end of one stage in your lives, and the beginning of a new one. A certain fact, however, remains unchanged. You are all lifelong members of the Tokyo Tech community, a community which continues to grow stronger and closer with every passing year. Whenever you face adversity in the future, think back to your Tokyo Tech friends and colleagues for inspiration, and remember that 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 and let us continue to communicate and share our achievements and the impact we create. And, don't forget to spread the word about Tokyo Tech and support those who come after you.
Finally, 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 2021: Continue to practice resilience, flexibility, and passion. Continue to learn while creating a better, brighter future!
Class of 2021: Congratulations!
September 24, 2021
President, Tokyo Tech