散詩語録

You can change the world if one person sticks to it.

Mitsuo Ochi

 入学式からまだ間もない4月18日から5月23日まで、教養特別講義「世界に羽ばたく。教養の力」を開講しました。

 各界で活躍されているリーダーの方々がどんなことを考え、人生を歩んできたかを、学部新入生に直接語っていただこうと、私が学長に就任して以降開始したプログラムです。2年目の今年は11人の方々を講師としてお招きしました。豊かな経験に裏付けられたリーダーたちの講義は新入生一人一人の心に響いたのではないかと思います。

 私自身も時間が許す限り講義を聴きました。拝聴できたサッカーJリーグ初代チェアマンの川淵三郎さんと、ネスレ・ジャパン代表取締役兼CEOの高岡浩三さんのお話には圧倒される内容がいくつもありました。

 「地域に根差したスポーツクラブをつくる」という揺るぎない信念の下、並み居る「抵抗勢力」に立ち向かい、Jリーグ設立を果たした川淵さん。分裂していたバスケットボール界の立て直しも「自分にしかできない」と引き受け、見事に実現しました。川淵さんがいなければ、サッカー日本代表はワールドカップロシア大会にも出られなかったかもしれません。

 一方、高岡さんは「キットカット」や「ネスカフェアンバサダー」など新たなビジネスモデルを手掛け、リノベーションを超えたイノベーションを次々に起こしました。「顧客の気付かない問題」を見つける努力が成功につながったのだと述べています。

 スポーツとビジネスの違いはあるとはいえ「一人の人間がこれだけ頑張れば、世界を変えることができる」ということを、お二人のお話からあらためて確信できました。一人の力は限られていますが、やはり大きな力にもなります。

 頑張るという言葉はもともと「我を張る」が語源で「自己を貫く」というニュアンスを含んでいるという説があります。もちろん物事を成し遂げるためには、自らの考えを押し通せばいいというものではありません。理を尽くし情熱を持って説明し、周囲の人をうまく巻き込んでいくことの大切さを教えられました。

 世の中に出れば、自分の専門の分野で一流となることはもちろんですが、そのためにもコミュニケーション能力を磨き、リーダーとして活躍できる素養を身に付けてください。以前も書きましたが、コミュニケーション能力とは、その人にもう一度会いたいと思わせる人間力であり、いつもwhyを考えているような人の周りにはおのずと人が集まってくると思います。

 新入生諸君がこれからの学生生活や人生で迷ったとき、リーダーの方々からいただいた言葉の数々が、歩んでいく道を照らす「ともしび」になればと願っています。

Shortly after the entrance ceremony, Hiroshima University organized an event “Liberal Arts Education for Spreading Your Wings around the World” where special lectures by leaders in their respective fields are organized for the newly-enrolled undergraduate students.

This is a program I came up with for the newly enrolled students at Hiroshima University to provide them with an opportunity in which each guest speaker, who is a high achiever in his/her own field, can tell the students face-to-face what kind of life he/she has led and what he/she was thinking in his/her student days. The event this year is in its second running, and in total eleven guest speakers have come and given lectures. I believe that each lecture with stories containing rich life experiences of each guest speaker must have echoed through the mind of the first-year students.

As much as time allows, I attended some of the lectures. I was overwhelmed by the talks of Mr. Saburo Kawabuchi, the first Chairman of the J-League, and Mr. Kouzo Takaoka, President/CEO of Nestlé Japan Ltd.

Under his unwavering belief of “Establishing sports clubs that are deeply rooted in the local communities,” Mr. Kawabuchi dared to stand against many resisting forces and successfully established the J-League (Japan Professional Football League). He has also undertaken the business of shaking out the divided basketball world in Japan, which he successfully accomplished because he felt “no other person but me can do that.” Without Mr. Kawabuchi, Japan would not be qualified to play in the FIFA’s Russian World Cup this year.

Mr. Takaoka is a man who has brought about a string of innovations rather than renovations at Nestlé Japan, coming up with a new business model which led to the products such as “Kit Kat” and “Nescafé Ambassador.” He told us that trying to identify “problems customers have yet perceived” is what has brought about the success of business models he proposed.

I must admit that there is a difference between the world of sport and business. Be that as it may, their stories certainly have demonstrated the following: “If one person makes that much of efforts, one can change the world.” Although there may be a limit to what one person can do, I dare say it can eventually grow into great momentum.

In one theory, it is said that the Japanese expression ganbaru (“stick to it”) originally came from “ga wo haru (it means‘ having one’s way’),” which is said to have a connotation of “acting upon one’s belief.” This should not be construed that you can just push through your ideas in order to achieve something. Rather than that, the guest speakers above made me realize how important it is to exhaust verbal accounts and try to persuade people around you with passion so that they are drawn to whatever you are pursuing and feel compelled to get involved with that.

Once you get out in the adult world, you are expected to become a high achiever in your specialized field. To become one, I would like to ask you to polish up your communication skills and try to acquire skills and mind that will prepare you for playing active roles as a leader. I may have written this somewhere before, but “communication skills” can be defined as an ability to be able to attract people with your ningen-ryoku (a person possessed of considerable personal charm, intelligence, and cultured demeanour) so that they may want to come back to see you again; I think many people are naturally attracted to those who always think whys.

I sincerely wish that those words from the guest speakers will serve the newly enrolled students as “navigating stars” when they cannot make up their mind for something once they sail into their campus life or life in general after graduation.


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