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Spring Semester Entrance Ceremony 2012.4.3

Spring Semester Entrance Ceremony 2012.4.3

Today at the 2012 Entrance Ceremony, on behalf of Hiroshima University, I would like to congratulate all the new students here and sincerely welcome all of you. It is my hope that your new life at Hiroshima University will be fulfilling and steadfast. I would also like to express my congratulations to the parents and those related to these new students.

Hiroshima University was established in 1874 as Hakushima School, but after various transitions, was combined with eight schools such as the Hiroshima University of Literature and Science and the Hiroshima School of Secondary Education to be re-established on May 31, 1949 as the new Hiroshima University, with its main campus in Higashi-Senda, Hiroshima City, an area that was devastated by the atomic bomb.

Inheriting the founding spirit of “a single, unified university, free and pursuing peace,” we have protected the integrity of our Five Guiding Principles:(1) the Pursuit of Peace, (2) the Creation of New Forms of Knowledge, (3) the Nurturing of Well-Rounded Human Beings, (4) the Collaboration With the Local, Regional, and International Community, (5) Continuous Self-Development, and in order to respond to public expectations, we have made efforts to improve education, research and social contributions, and developed into a leading comprehensive university in Japan with 11 faculties and 11 graduate schools.

University, as an institute of higher education, has contributed to the development of human society as a “base of knowledge creation”, which has accumulated the knowledge, technology and wisdom of humanity, and has cultivated advanced research as well as specialists and educated citizens. Now, in a time of rapid aging of the population resulting from a decline in the birthrate and of the advancing globalization of human society, the role of the democratized university has been questioned again. In recent years, there is a call from society for young people as bearers of the future society to have the basic skills of behaving themselves as proper members of society. It is very important for the university to not only pursue specialized education, but also give young people a good general education and promote extracurricular activities that lead to the basic skills of behaving as proper members of society.

As Japan is facing continuing globalization of society, not only large enterprises, but also small-and medium sized companies are being forced to expand globally. They have become aggressive, recruiting excellent foreign manpower, and overseas firms are already taking efforts to secure top-class personnel regardless of nationality. In other words; mobility of employment is increasing. That is why in our country’s universities, we have to foster human resources able to play an active role in the global community. Also at Hiroshima University, we intend to cultivate global manpower with the basic skills of behaving themselves as proper members of society, ready to be active globally after graduation. A university is an excellent and rare institution, able to offer diversified environments. It is the best place to deepen cross-cultural understanding and to cultivate human power capable to accept the diversity of races, religions, cultures and art etc. In order to improve this terrific environment even more, we plan to enrich liberal arts education in order to adjust it to the needs of the 21st Century. Furthermore, we plan to accept even more international students and to build a globalized campus. Additionally, Hiroshima University will offer more opportunities to experience foreign culture to our students by consolidating the systems of language education abroad and long- or short-time overseas studies. Fostering global manpower also means cultivating the basic skills of behaving as proper members of society. We always have to keep in mind that our society has become more and more globalized and that we must be ready to tackle it.

I would like you to understand that the attitude toward academics at the university level changes; unlike the passive learning up through high school, you must actively focus yourself on scholarship of the problems that face human society.

This year, a project was started to develop an anticancer drug with the help of “K Computer”, the world’s fastest Japanese made supercomputer. It is said that the origins of computers date back to the 1640s, when the gear type calculator was invented. From then on, improvements were made that eventually lead to the development of the supercomputer. Until now, no one even imagined that the design of a new drug could be made by computer. But by this method it will be possible to significantly reduce the number of animal experiments, and the time necessary for new drug development could be shortened from the current 20~30 years, to just one-fifth or even one-tenth of that time. The computer is useful not only for the creation of excellent new drugs, but also for substantial cost-saving. In this way, academic research will progress even faster.

When we look back at that type of great research achievement, we can see that at first it starts as a brilliant fundamental discoveries, becomes established as applied research, and from there through concerted efforts leads to a contribution to human society. A strong spirit to “never give up” and the courage to overcome difficulties are essential for that.

Any person can have a dream, regardless of age, or situation. Those dreams give us power. I wish for every one of you to have high aspirations and a “big dream” for your future. I would like to encourage you to try hard for your dreams, without being scared of making mistakes; to always have courage and a challenging spirit. I wish for you to learn from your experiences, and that the results of your efforts will help you proceed towards the realization of your dreams.

Today, I have the honor of welcoming 3,765 new students to Hiroshima University, and I wish to walk together with you toward the pivotal goal of “contributing to future society”.

Once again, congratulations, and welcome to Hiroshima University.


April 3rd, 2012

Toshimasa Asahara
President, Hiroshima University