Good afternoon, everyone.
The Tokyo Tech community is pleased to welcome students, parents, family members, staff, and friends to the 2021 Spring Graduation Ceremony for master's and doctoral program students. To begin with, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding graduates completing their degrees today. Despite the enormous challenges and unpredictable environment that have surrounded you for the past two years, you have attained successfully an important milestone in your lives. I realize that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly overshadowed your time at Tokyo Tech, restricting—and for some, completely preventing—access to our physical campuses. You did not, however, let that stop you. Your unshakeable determination, individual and collective creativity, and adaptive 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 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 during these difficult times.
On this special day, 1,574 students graduate from Tokyo Tech with master's degrees, 26 students complete their professional master's degrees, and 178 students earn their doctoral degrees. Graduates: Throughout your time at the Institute, you have explored not only your technical specializations, but also the humanities and social sciences, in order to formulate your own distinctive vision of the world. You have received advice from your trusted mentors and offered support to your peers through teamwork and collaboration that gave birth to fresh, innovative ideas and new value. You have persistently 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, encourage you to continue learning actively, and thank you for adding another unique page to the 141-year history of Tokyo Tech.
This approach that you have adopted — this broad perspective, openness to new ideas, and strong resolve to achieve your goals — can lead to truly significant outcomes. Time and again, those who passed through the lecture halls, labs, and campuses of the Institute before you have demonstrated this. Take alumni Kanjiro Kawai and Shoji Hamada, for example.
Kawai graduated from Tokyo Higher Technical School, Tokyo Tech's predecessor, in 1914, while Hamada did so two years later. Seeking their path to new discoveries, the graduates united in Kyoto and relentlessly conducted over 10,000 experiments with ceramic glaze. Surely, as they pursued their passions and continued to develop their unique styles of pottery, neither Kawai nor Hamada could have predicted how far-reaching their influence would become. Hamada helped set up a pottery studio in Great Britain with his friend Bernard Leach, which operates to this day. Kawai was praised for his pottery techniques, receiving numerous prestigious awards throughout his career. Together with Yanagi Soetsu, the two were key figures in the mingei folk art movement which became a critical component of 20th century Japanese arts. In other words, by pursuing their own paths of innovation, Kawai and Hamada helped cultivate a phenomenon that continues to attract interest across the globe 100 years later. I hope you can draw inspiration from these and other Tokyo Tech greats who completed their journeys before you.
With the skills and experience you have accumulated, I have no doubt that each of you will create positive impact in your future endeavors. If you want to continue to create with Tokyo Tech, 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 realize 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, think back to your Tokyo Tech friends and colleagues for additional courage and strength, 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, persistence, and passion. Continue to pursue your own path while sharing your knowledge to create a better, brighter future!
Class of 2021: Congratulations!
March 28, 2022
President, Tokyo Tech