Good afternoon, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2020 Spring Graduation Ceremony for master's and doctoral program students. First and foremost, I would like to recognize the outstanding graduates completing their degrees today. Your journeys have been hampered by daunting obstacles, particularly in the past 12 months, and yet here you are graduating from Tokyo Tech. It is your resilience, your creativity, your unshakable determination that has brought you here. I want you to take pride in being members of Tokyo Tech’s tenacious Class of 2020.
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, we celebrate the graduation of 1,559 students with master's degrees, 32 students with professional master's degrees, and 162 students with doctoral degrees. Graduates: Just over one year ago, your lives were disrupted greatly by the emergence of COVID-19. Suddenly, the world was full of 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 added another special page to the 140-year history of the Institute.
This drive demonstrated by all of you reminded us that, despite the difficulties, the global pandemic has also presented a unique opportunity to adopt new perspectives and create a better future. One aspect we have all had to reconsider in the past year, for example, is that of efficient communication. By combining innovative ideas and cutting-edge technology, Team Tokyo Tech has already created a new normal in this area by staying connected online. This shift in communication methods reminds me of the achievements of Kenjiro Takayanagi, a creative and determined graduate of the Institute like all of you.
Takayanagi, also known as the "father of Japanese television," developed a passion for science and communication at an early age. He graduated from the Electronics Department of the Affiliated School for Technical Teacher Training under Tokyo Tech’s predecessor in the early 1920s, when radios were the main medium of communication. Takayanagi dreamed of creating a "wireless distant vision" that could reproduce images from faraway places. Despite living at a time of global turmoil — again much like all of you — he never gave up on his goal. He went on to contribute to the advancement of color television, stereo, and video tape recorder technology throughout his life. I hope you can draw courage and strength from Takayanagi and other Tokyo Tech success stories that came before you.
Consider challenges that the world may be facing 20 years from now and focus your research on such challenges. This was the approach taken by Takayanagi, an approach which in many ways continues to thrive in the Tokyo Tech community. The Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks, or DLab, for example, 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 2020: I encourage you to embrace any challenges that come your way. I encourage you to become creators of a better future!
Class of 2020: Congratulations!
March 26, 2021
President, Tokyo Tech