Message to Future Students of Nitobe College
Nitobe College is an interdisciplinary educational program established at Hokkaido University with the aim of promoting all-round education which will foster students who have an international mindset and global perspective. Nitobe College takes its name from former student Nitobe Inazo, an international figure in modern Japanese history who spent 20 years living and working abroad. With his profound affluence and sincere efforts, Nitobe introduced Japanese culture and moral values to the outside world, and became a role model for students of Hokkaido University.
In a world undergoing a rapid advance of social and economic globalization and where growth of the internet has enabled people to connect instantly with others and obtain information from anywhere, Nitobe’s ideas of “autonomous identity based on integrity and ethics,” “an international spirit free from prejudice” and “international cooperativeness irrespective of nationality” are becoming especially important.
Nitobe was a student in the second graduating class (Class of 1881) of Hokkaido University’s predecessor, Sapporo Agricultural College. After graduation, he studied at Tokyo University until the age of 21 when he decided to study in the US, and then continued his studies in Germany, after which he returned to Japan to teach at his alma mater, Sapporo Agricultural College, for 11 years.
Subsequently, he accepted an invitation from the Governor-General of Taiwan and contributed to industrial developments there, and when the League of Nations was established in Geneva, Switzerland, he became one of the first Under-Secretary Generals, which gave him the chance to display his abilities and make a mark on the international stage. He also excelled through publishing many literary works including the well-known Bushido: The Soul of Japan. I believe that the true mission of our university as a comprehensive university is to produce students who, like Nitobe Inazo, have a broad range of knowledge, excellent communication skills, strong beliefs and a deep understanding of other cultures. With these ideas in mind, Hokkaido University founded Nitobe College in April 2013.
In addition to “global perspectives” and an “all-round education” as described above, Nitobe College emphasizes “practical leaning” in basic research and education and its practical application. To enable Nitobe College to rise to this challenge, we have asked globally active alumni of Hokkaido University to work with us as Nitobe College Fellows to offer their knowledge and expertise during classes, support students in the pursuit of their studies, and help students plan their careers. I am sure all of you will learn from their valuable experiences and make full use of your time with Nitobe College in the future. Nitobe College is truly the first of its kind in Japan.
At the age of 21, Nitobe aspired to “become a bridge across the Pacific” and planned his life according to that idea. I hope that all of our current and future students will dream big during the course of their studies at Nitobe College. Hokkaido University is ready to fully support you as you strive to fulfill your dreams.
Having said that, the most essential component to make your dreams come true is your own volition. One of the reasons that Sapporo Agricultural College was able to foster globally minded leaders can be traced back to the philosophy of the first vice-principal, William S. Clark, urging his students to “be gentlemen,” which inspired the students’ autonomy and independence. To the women in the audience, the true meaning of being a gentlemen is not restricted to gender. I urge everyone to find and grasp it, set your own goals and earnestly put them into practice.
I am eagerly looking forward to all of your achievements.
April 2, 2018
President, Hokkaido University