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December 24, 2016

968 IS “KAMITTERU” REALLY POPULAR?

At yearend, one of the favorite topics which attracts keen interest among the Japanese public is the announcement of the “U-Can New Words and Buzzwords Award” which is mainly chosen by the readers of the annually published book, “The Basic Knowledge of Current New Terms” by Jiyukokuminsha. The words, usually newly coined, refer to what were particularly popular and/or controversial to reflect that very year. To my surprise, this year’s first place winner went to “Kamitteru” (which means possessed by superhuman behavior or in the zone). This word was quoted by manager Koichi Ogata of the Hiroshima Carp when the baseball team won the Central League pennant to praise the team and its star players’ outstanding performance. I mean no offense here but manager Ogata is not known widely but, more or less, only by professional baseball fans, specifically the Central League fans. I, of course, did know of this term since I have been an avid Hanshin Tigers fan since my childhood but it took me by total surprise that “Kamitteru” came in first as this year’s buzzword.

A Tokyo housewife’s blog titled “Didn’t get a slot in day care. Drop dead, Japan” which was posted on the net this past spring (which I also referred to in my Rapport − 959) came in 6th place although it did arouse a lot of interest as well as reinforced a movement to demand for more day care centers for working mothers. Sixth place? This I do not understand. After the death of our first daughter at an infant age, my wife and I have been blessed with three sons and one daughter. As it was perfectly normal for wives to stay home to take care of household chores and child rearing at the time, my wife never went out to work but we can fully sympathize with the anger and the despair of the mother who posted “Drop dead, Japan.” It is a sad truth that the growing demand for children’s day care centers to suffice the needs cannot be met in Japan in a short timespan against the country’s current social and economic backdrop.

Having said the above, I sincerely hope that a comprehensive framework on the national project scale can be implemented as soon as possible and executed realistically where housewives who need (or want) to work do not necessarily seek workplaces outside the home but can earn decent incomes by working from their own home so they do not have to depend on day care centers. I am fully aware that planning and realizing this goal is no easy task to say the least due to various foreseeable obstacles but because it is so, I wish to put my confidence in Prime Minister Abe’s decision making power to illustrate that he is a strong yet considerate leader whom one can rely on when in need.

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June 6, 2016

961 KARL BENGS, MY FRIEND

Among my foreign friends, I must say that Karl Bengs stands out as an extraordinary figure. Although he was born in Berlin during WWII, Germany after defeat went through robust economic growth like Japan by the time he reached his youth. It was Karl’s father, a Fresco artist who specialized in restoring wall paintings, who provided a cue to his son during his childhood to take interest in Japan. As Karl highly respected his father, he decided to attend a Japanese university as an overseas student to study Karate. However, what Karl encountered in Japan was a nation which was in the midst of undergoing economic reconstruction and rapid growth after WWII‘s defeat.As Tokyo and most of the major cities were devastated to ruins, new homes and buildings were built successively in a fashion of conformity disregarding the essential essence that was distinctive to Japanese tradition. Witnessing this reality, Karl was disappointed as this was totally contrary to what Karl had expected as Japan to be.

However, during his stay in Japan, Karl was fascinated by the profound beauty and the attention to minute architectural details of traditional Japanese homes that were still left in regional cities and villages. Upon graduation from university, Karl worked at architecture as well as design firms in Berlin and Paris with an aspiration to become an architectural designer and engaged in restoration and rehabilitation of old buildings and furniture. At the same time, he continued to nurture his fond memories of Japan so he took every opportunity to visit the country and if he took fancy, purchased old private homes which satisfied both his aesthetic taste and architectural evaluation. By dismantling these traditional homes and reconstructing them in Germany, Karl cultivated a business sector unique to himself.The restoration of old Japanese homes was not an end in itself as restoration projects but as symbolized by the expression of ”scrap and build,” it was to reappraise traditional values and lifestyles and this became Karl‘s life work.

While engaged in this project for several decades, he visited various regions throughout Japan, deepened his friendship with respective Japanese and finally found what he deemed as the village of his dream in the mountainous area in Niigata Prefecture. He immediately fell in love with the group of old homes which perfectly matched the picturesque natural surroundings as well as the warmhearted residents. After convincing his wife, he decided to make Japan his permanent home and purchased a large Japanese−style country house in Tokamachi which is located in the hearat of the area in 1993, remodeled the interior thoroughly to serve as his residence, office space and guest room and announced that this will be his final abode. I deem this foreigner who has accomplished what we Japanese, including myself, never thought of achieving as a close friend that I can always be proud of.

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May 15, 2016

959 DROP DEAD, JAPAN!

Three months have already passed since an anonymous blogger wrote “Didn’t get a slot in day care. Drop dead, Japan.” From the harsh language explicit with unusual vengeance, there was speculation that the blogger was a middle aged man who pretended to be a middle aged woman torn between balancing childcare and her job. However, the vivid outrage and sadness that permeated throughout the whole text (mainly the anger and despair of the shortage of children’s day care centers) instantly won the sympathy of the readers that it was immediately taken up by the media and even became a major topic at the diet session. I am sure that “Drop dead, Japan” will win this year’s buzzword of the year.

When Prime Minister Abe was questioned on this topic at the House of Representatives’ budgetary committee meeting, he avoided to make any clear comment saying that he had no way to verify the credibility of the blog. His response probably could not have been helped due to his upbringing. He was born and raised in an extremely wealthy family with numerous servants so as a child, he probably could not imagine his mother having to survive ultra-busy days from morning to night not only with her job but with household chores and child raising. Furthermore, after marrying the daughter of Morinaga & Co., Ltd. (one of the leading confectionary firms), the couple was not blessed with any offspring, so he, as a husband, probably never got in contact with his wife who was totally preoccupied with child rearing on top of household chores.

This, however, does not mean that I am “anti-Abe.” Of the 35 prime ministers who took office during the 70 years after WWII, I highly evaluate the accomplishments he has achieved during the second Abe administration that he will definitely be included in the top 10 prime ministers (even if Abenomics does not attain the initially proposed result). But from the way he was raised, I am deeply concerned that he prefers to have aides who speak sweet words and shy away from those who remonstrate the words of seniors. Whether on the issue of visiting the Yasukuni Shrine or exercising the Japanese Self Defense Forces’ right to collective defense, I think, if he is a first-class politician, that he possesses the capacity whereby he takes pride in being surrounded by people who can composedly object to his opinion from time to time as his best asset.

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May 14, 2016

958 SEVEN & I HOLDINGS CO., LTD. (PART II)

Even after a month since the first earthquake devastated the Kumamoto region, aftershocks still continue to occur on a consistent and frequent basis. During the same period, news that the Chairman and CEO of Seven & I Holdings Co. (S&IH Co.), Mr. Toshifumi Suzuki, decided to resign his post since his proposal to dismiss the President of Seven-Eleven Japan (S.E.J), the core business of S&IH Co., was not approved at the board meeting shook Tokyo. The media reports that the executive reshuffling conflict has seen its settlement with the appointment of Mr. Ryuichi Isaka as the new President of S&IH Co. (as well as retaining his President post of S.E.J.) while Mr. Suzuki steps down from his current post. However, as far as the current top management status of S&IH Co. is concerned, I do not think that the executives of the group companies under the said firm, especially store managers of 2,000 S.E.J. throughout the country, do harbor quite a degree of anxieties or dissatisfactions. In addition, depending on how well the company does under the policies implemented by the new management, I am apprehensive that various “aftershocks” may occur akin to after a massive earthquake (i.e. after the upheaval among top management at S&IH Co.).

The “S” in S&IH Co. stands for Seven-Eleven and Mr. Suzuki himself is the embodiment of Japan’s largest convenience store chain as being both the biological and the foster father. On the other hand, the “I” in S&IH Co. stands for Ito-Yokado. After WWII, American style supermarkets flourished in Japan and Daiei which started out in western Japan and Ito-Yokado founded by Mr. Masatoshi Ito were considered the two summits of the industry. As Mr. Ito foresaw that supermarket as a retail format will inevitably decline, he took special note of Mr. Suzuki who joined Ito-Yokado when he was around 30 years old since the former discerned that the latter possessed an outstanding talent to keenly perceive what is in demand at any given time together with an excellent capability in business to thoroughly complete projects successfully. After promoting Mr. Suzuki to various important posts, Mr. Ito appointed him to become the President of Ito-Yokado in 1992 and in 2005, appointed him to become Chairman and CEO of S&IH Co., a corporation which consolidated all the operations which Mr. Ito was involved in.

The fact that Professor Kunio Ito of Hitotsubashi University Graduate School (who drafted a blueprint to overhaul corporate governance in Japan last year), an outside board member, oversaw and promoted the whole power struggle within S&IH Co. caught the public’s interest. However, it is also somewhat disturbing to me that it is unclear how he will take responsibility in case the current outcome backfires. At any rate, both Mr. Masatoshi Ito and Mr. Toshifumi Suzuki are old friends of mine. I can only pray that the reforms to take place within the firm will blossom to bring about a bright and fruitful future for S&IH Co.

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April 20, 2016

957 AS I LAMENT THE CURRENT SORRY STATE

As if it is not bad enough that the country’s economy is fragile as a candle in the wind, a huge earthquake with unprecedented number of strong aftershocks still continues to rock the mid-Kyushu region. My thoughts were filled with sympathy for more than 100 thousand refugees but for some reason I suddenly heard the angry voice of an anonymous blogger who posted “Drop dead, Japan” as if she forecasted the catastrophe. The blog was written in exasperation by a working mother who was unable to place her child in day care and woefully criticizes the nation’s wasteful spending which can be used to correct the shortage of nursery schools. This sparked a movement by outraged working mothers who claimed that the blog mirrored their situation where not being able to enroll their child in day care has forced them to quit jobs.

Although it is one of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s main policy to utilize women who are busy with household chores including child (children) rearing to become active members of the social workforce, I feel immense anxiety, as a father of five children, that the prime minister himself does not know what “household chores” really entail. Born to a wealthy family where several servants ran the house, Mr. Abe, since his childhood, must not have seen his mother totally preoccupied with domestic chores and child raising.

Furthermore, after marrying a daughter from a prestigious family, Mr. Abe and his wife were not blessed with a child of their own. In other words, he probably has not encountered a situation where his wife’s time is predominantly taken up with home keeping and child rearing. In conjunction with this, I think that the view that household chores and child raising must be equally shared by both the father and the mother is an idealism which does not fully understand the mindset of children. For small children, just the fact that the mother is always at home, within immediate reach acts as an ultimate tranquilizer to soothe their soul.

Do not get me wrong that I am discouraging women who are also mothers to pursue their careers outside the home by putting their talents to good use. I am positively for it. However, in order to do so, I am not encouraging low birth rate nor am I advocating that the government should drastically increase the number of nursery schools where children are looked after while the mothers work. What I currently have in mind are: (1) to thoroughly promote telecommuting as a sophisticated way of work for salaried workers and (2) to thoroughly expand the “freelancer” market. The latter is an innovative new business model which I am currently working on. Hope you look forward to hearing more about it as the plan matures.

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April 16, 2016

956 SEVEN & I HOLDINGS CO. LTD. (PART 1)

While the Kumamoto area continued to quiver with unending aftershocks after the massive earthquake last week, news that Mr. Toshifumi Suzuki, Chairman and CEO of Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. (S&IH Co.) suddenly decided to step down from his post since he was unable to reshuffle executives as we wished at the board meeting made huge headlines. As known by most, S&IH Co. is a leading gigantic retail group and its annual sales figure together with Aeon Co., Ltd., sits at the top holding off the others by far and as far as profit is concerned, it outdoes Aeon by a huge margin.

Mr. Suzuki is known as a legendary figure who introduced the franchise business format of convenience store to Japan from the U.S. (Seven-Eleven Japan). He further refined and improved the management style and transformed the system to be authentically Japanese and is referred to as a tremendous contributor who perfected one of the social infrastructures of Japan. So report of Mr. Suzuki’s announcement to resign when his proposal to dismiss Mr. Ryuichi Isaka from the President’s post of Seven-Eleven Japan was denied at the board meeting broke out, the news was reported widely with various mixed feelings. In fact, although Mr. Suzuki is the one who gave birth and raised the convenience store chain which now constitutes the core business line of S&IH Co., the entity who actually founded the S&IH Co. itself was Mr. Masatoshi Ito of Ito-Yokado who together with Mr. Isao Nakamichi, founder of Daiei, Inc., are known as the two pillars who successfully launched the supermarket business which became the star industrial sector after WWII.

It was half a century ago when Mr. Ito who was deeply concerned about the future prospect of the retail industry decided to ask Mr. Suzuki, who was then working at a publishing firm, as one of the key personnel to oversee the company’s future. In order to meet Mr. Ito’s expectations, he made his mark as a prominent staff member upon joining the firm, achieved the aforementioned accomplishments (introduction and founding of Seven Eleven Japan), became a member of the board of directors before he turned 40 years old and became the president after turning 60 years old (i.e. after Mr. Ito resigned due to involvement in a disgraceful scandal). Since then, he has been orchestrating the successful growth and expansion of the firm and left a name for himself as an exemplary business leader.

As both Mr. Ito and Mr. Suzuki are old friends of mine, I am distressed by the sudden outbreak of the incident. I am especially concerned that the words and deeds of infuriated Mr. Suzuki may taint the elderly years of a person renowned as a charismatic and respectable business leader and that the outcome of the incident may turn out to be a decisive blow to what has been a subtle and sensitive relationship between Mr. Ito and Mr. Suzuki.

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March 20, 2016

955 FOUNDING AND THE SPEED OF CORPORATE GROWTH

The article I wrote for “Nikkei Business” magazine (March 16th issue of this year) about my young friends Hideo Sawada and Masayoshi Son whom I have known for 30 years portrayed the origin of their unique business talents and highlighted the growth process of their companies. It was part of a special feature which covered 20 pages under the title of “Strength of Family-Owned Companies” and it introduced success stories characteristic to family-owned Japanese and Western firms. If I am asked whether H.I.S. and Softbank, representatives of recent entrepreneurial firms, will become family-owned in the near future, I will immediately respond 100% not.

Both men are endowed with god given business talent but they further strived by thoroughly believing in their own convictions and within a few decades, they were able to transform their small entrepreneurial company they founded into two of the leading and successful firms in Japan. As the velocity of corporate growth was so fast, both men probably did not have time to consider how their family members and/or relatives can get involved in the company’s management. Having said this, both men are around 60 years old and they must be thinking about their successors. As for Sawada-kun, he already has a solid array of highly qualified executives in place. To further ensure the company’s future, he has initiated an educational program last year to nurture next generation executives to succeed the current top management.

In the case of Son-kun, it is well known that he opened the Softbank Academia in 2010 to nurture staff members who share his ideas and vision so that they can take on the responsibility of the company’s future which keeps on diversifying the business lines. Later, he shifted the firm’s business activities to the U.S. when he acquired Sprint Corporation and surprised the public when he headhunted Nikesh Arora of Google and announced that he will be the next CEO. In light of this, the Academia graduates’ hope has gone out of initial orbit and they will need to wait for the next to next opportunity like those enrolling in Sawada-kun’s educational program.

At any rate, regardless of the founder’s intention, the growth speed of new businesses is the largest factor that prevent the company from being family-owned.

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February 12, 2016

954 BLESSED WITH FRIENDS THE SAME AGE

As I turn 89 years old this year, I experienced the Second Sino-Japanese War during my elementary school years, World War II during my junior high school years and war defeat during my senior high school years. Looking back on the past, I think I have lived a full and extremely blessed life to reach old age that goes far beyond my wildest expectation which I had as a youth.
Among those belonging to my generation, virtually everyone graduated from school after WWII and started to pursue their career in society. The “Showa 2 Club” (2nd year in the Showa Era, meaning those who were born in the year 1927 which happens to be when I was born) came into being as a gathering of acquaintances who became renowned in the field of their specialty and we took every opportunity to get together for drinks, conversation, singing, etc., in short to share good times which became unforgettable memories. Although there were 50 members at the peak, 90% of them have passed away including Seiji Tsutsumi, Hitoshi Ueki and Saburo Shiroyama.

Tsutsumi-kun was a hard-core anti-establishment reveler but when he joined the company his father founded and later succeeded him, he exerted all his efforts to expand and diversify his business to form the Saison Group (which included department stores, supermarkets, shopping complex, music shop, etc.). Besides being a successful businessman, he was also a writer and poet and I personally think that the melancholy underlining his distinctive writing style which continued to pose society with questions in his novels and poems reflected the real him. Ueki-kun (famous actor, comedian, singer) in contrast to his excessive, over reacting performance in movies and theater was very quiet among us and was a devote listener. However, when our discussions became overheated to the point of chilling the whole atmosphere, he would act as a perfect “fixer” to appease both parties so he was loved by everyone for his mild temperament.

Saburo Shiroyama was a straightforward and serious writer who was a man of few words but when asked, he would quietly state his own opinion. After his beloved wife passed away, he thinned drastically from grief but one day, he mumbled with a wry smile that, “Y came over the other day and he persistently recommended me to marry a lady he knows. So in return I told him that I hope she is not your second hand.” This is him at the utmost! For your information, Y is a few years younger than us and is a writer of erotic novels. He is a person who is totally unqualified to become a member of our club!

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February 5, 2016

953 HIDEO SAWADA AND MASAYOSHI SON

Abenomics has been struggling for the past few years due to various instable economic and social factors in the domestic and international arena. In such a midst, the above captioned two individuals were recognized by various industrial and business organizations as business leaders who achieved the most outstanding corporate results last year by being awarded the most number of honors. On a personal note, I am particularly pleased and proud that I met the two gentlemen, whom I consider are exemplary entrepreneurs, about 30 years ago when they were still start-ups, got to know them, nurtured friendships and that the amicable relationship still continue unchanged to this day.

The first time Sawada-kun visited my office in Akasaka was when he just turned 30 years old and Son-kun when he was about 25 years old at a time when they just found their own companies as young men. Back then, I was already in my mid 50’s and was regarded as a “business scholar” in general from the works I accomplished in economic journalism over the past several decades. Although I was actively involved in business management, I did not even belong to the Business Management Association which was constituted mainly by university professors. What I was in real pursuit was to deepen my insight into “vividly live management” through field research of companies that attracted my interest as well as through the friendly relationship with business leaders who showed their interest in me.

Among the business leaders who most stimulated and influenced me both intellectually and mentally when I was young were Mr. Konosuke Matsushita and Mr. Soichiro Honda, vintage entrepreneurs. As I listened keenly to them who, with fond memories, recounted their huge blunders hilariously before they made a name for themselves, my admiration towards entrepreneurs kept growing. This became one of the reasons for me to set up my personal office in Akasaka so that it would provide a venue where I can meet with young entrepreneurs who have promising prospects and nurture friendship with them so that we can learn and grow together.

When we first met, Sawada-kun had just over 10 employees and Son-kun had only 2. As they started out from scratch, I am particularly happy about their recent achievement of huge successes. In this context, I have contributed an article in the near issue of the “Nikkei Business” magazine which highlights the manifestation of their rare business talents.

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January 15, 2016

952 INSPIRED BY THE MOVIE, “SUGIHARA CHINUE”

My third son, Yutaka, returned to Tokyo from the U.S. with his wife and four children during the New Year’s holiday and although he was extremely busy with his hectic schedule, he managed to see a Japanese film “Sugihara Chinue” one evening and was so deeply moved that he even called his mother from Narita Airport on his departure to recommend that she, too, must see it. Accordingly, my wife, who is always considerate about her children, took Yutaka’s advice seriously and asked me to accompany her. I, thus, went to a movie theater in Roppongi Hills yesterday with my wife. Although I am fully aware that I am in no position to evaluate how well movies are made, my candid opinion was that the film in itself was nothing out of the ordinary. However, I was genuinely struck by the way Mr. Sugihara devoted his life to a historically significant cause which brought tears to my eyes several times while watching the movie.

Before World War II, Mr. Sugihara was a vice-consul at the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania, a small country in Northern Europe. When war broke out and political confusion reigned, many Jewish refugees, especially those deported from Poland, poured into Lithuania. Although they had entry visas to the country they will be immigrating to, many could not leave the country as they were unable to obtain transit visas from the countries they will be crossing in order to reach their final destinations. Several thousand Jews found themselves stranded and were distraught at the bleak prospect. Witnessing their hopeless plight, Mr. Sugihara made an exceptional decision as a diplomat (dismissing instructions from the Japanese government) and decided to grant and issue transit visas to Japan with hand written notes and signatures.

Lives of several thousand Jewish refugees were literally saved by the daring initiatives and actions which Mr. Sugihara resorted to. Sincerely moved and with deep gratitude, many who immigrated to the U.S. passed on the story of their hairsbreadth escape to their children and their grandchildren at every opportunity possible and expressed how deeply indebted they are to the invaluable support Mr. Sugihara (a Japanese man) rendered them. In fact, my son, Yutaka, who is currently involved in a project to establish a hotel in Manhattan found out that his American partner, who happens to be Jewish and the owner of the excellent property the accommodation will be built, became a big fan of Japan since his childhood because he learned from his father that the latter’s life was saved by Consul Sugihara. By urging my wife to see the movie, my son, in an indirect way, showed me a real historical example of how the humanitarian act of one Japanese diplomat (by ignoring the conventional diplomat’s custom) are still serving and benefiting his home country, Japan, and his fellow citizens, the Japanese, to this day. Thanks to Yutaka for making me start the year in a heartwarming way.

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November 22, 2015

951 SAVORING LIFE AS I MATURE WITH AGE

Last Wednesday was my 58th wedding anniversary. To celebrate the auspicious event, we decided to head for Shinshu (Nagano Prefecture) upon my wife’s request and asked our daughter to act as our chauffeur. To betray what you may have in mind, this trip was not to leisurely soak in hot springs as suited to our age and what Nagano Prefecture is famous for. Since one of my wife’s aims in life is to actually visit and appreciate all the national treasures of Japan, she has already been to 800 out of the 1,100 sites designated as so. In other words, this means that the remaining sites are located in remote areas which are far from Tokyo as well as with inconvenient transportation access.

With this in mind, we took the Jyoetsu Shinkansen train up to Ueda City, rented a car there and headed north past Bessho hot springs to Hakkaku Sanjyunotou (three storied octagonal pagoda) of Anraku-ji, the oldest Japanese Zen temple. This pagoda was built 800 years ago by thoroughly studying the stylishness of the most advanced architectural technology of China at the time but adopting the Japanese style architectural method. As we gazed up in rapture, we were overwhelmed by the extraordinary talent of our ancestors as well as the divine power of religion. After finishing lunch at a nearby soba noodle shop, we proceeded to Azumino by not taking the steep mountain crossing route which is a shortcut. Instead, we took the highway north to Nagano City and then turned south to reach that evening’s lodging at Hoshino Resort KAI Alps, an authentic Japanese style hot spring inn.

Next day, our destination was the Nishina-Shinmei Shrine, the oldest shrine built in the Shinmei-zukuri style located in Shinano Omachi City. Being a member of the alpine club during my university years, Azumino, with its abundance of clear streams and the horseradish farm springs, is full of sweet memories of my youth as a plateau to behold the vast mountains constituting the Japan Northern Alps. However, the Nishina-Shinmei Shrine is located in one corner of the region, surrounded by a thick and luxuriant forest.

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November 11, 2015

950 AS I CONVERSED WITH DR. SHUJI NAKAMURA

Dr. Shuji Nakamura, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics, is one of the individuals whom we Japanese can look up to as a renowned inventor of blue light-emitting diodes. However, he encountered various bitter experiences in Japan, especially within the institution he belonged to. When he received an offer from the University of California, Santa Barbara, to become the professor of engineering, he left for the U.S. with his family saying that he will never return to Japan. He has now already acquired U.S. citizenship and is actively involved in a number of innovative research activities on a global scale.

When Dr. Nakamura visited Japan the other day, I had the honor to be invited to a welcome dinner arranged by two of his friends and I was even seated across from him. I, thus, had the opportunity to converse with him on innumerable topics for several hours. Although it has already been half a century ago, I spent some time at MIT so one of the central topics of our conversation that evening had to do with a comparison of the education, research and management of Japanese and U.S. universities. To make a long story short, we came to the conclusion that universities in both countries have not changed in every aspect.

To avoid any misunderstandings, this does not mean that the predispositions of universities in Japan and the U.S. are in a state of inertia. To be more specific, education, research and extracurricular activities in U.S. universities have skillfully changed with the advanced demand of the time while those in Japan have remained more or less the same regardless of the changing social environment. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with Dr. Nakamura, I sensed a feeling of uneasiness on my taxi ride back home. That is because I was reminded that the universities of our country was ridiculed as an ivory tower by the mass since a century ago and that the institutions are still perceived as such to this day.

The original term for the ivory tower, tour d’ivoire, was coined as a French phrase to mock the high-minded individuals who looked down on the secular world by devoting themselves to art for art’s sake. However, since the term was translated into Japanese a hundred years ago, this phrase was ironically used to refer to universities and still is in use in the same context. A century ago, there were only four imperial universities in Japan located in Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku and Kyushu. Even now, with 800 national, public and private universities with a total of 2.5 million students throughout the country, the universities continue to be perceived as an ivory tower by the people. Indeed, am I correct to assume that this is nothing but a symbolism to humiliate the status of universities?

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October 16, 2015

949 LEADING JAPANESE COMPANIES IN THE AGE OF GLOBALIZATION

This past spring, I received a phone call from one of my American friends who said that an American young man who will be graduating from one of the leading U.S. graduate schools with a MBA degree would like to work for Company A (a Japanese company). The youth in question has lived in Japan with his parents when he was a child, patronizes Japan and seems to be still fluent in speaking Japanese. I hung up the phone reassuring my friend that since globalization is a big buzz word in Japan now and that fluency in the English language is becoming a popular and necessary skill in both the public and private sectors, such a young man will be in great request by any Japanese firm.

During my university years, I was disgusted with the educational system which I deemed as hopelessly pathetic. However, it is ironic that I embarked on a path to become a university professor upon graduation and that this became my profession of 40 years. During my tenure, I continued to advocate the urgent necessity to reform the universities and it took 40 years for my recommendations to realize themselves.

Next morning, the head of the President’s secretariat office called my office in Akasaka and when my secretary passed on the call to me, I heard an extremely courteous thank you followed by; “ By the way, I would like to inform you that the screening of foreign applicants will be held from Monday, June xx to Friday of the same week at the company’s headquarters. For your information, the screening will be conducted in the format of an interview using our company’s official language, Japanese.” To this, I instantly reacted by saying, “(Not only am I surprised that the interview will be held in Japanese), I wonder why the interview has to take place at the company headquarters in Tokyo since your company has a branch office in New York?” To my question, the head of the secretariat office, without hesitation, responded that, “If the foreign applicant is aiming for an executive position, it is highly recommendable that the person is hired by the headquarters for his future prospect.” This transaction amazed me that in an era where globalization is an inevitable must, the Japanese management style of large Japanese corporations still remains intact and inflexibly solid.

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August 20, 2015

948 AS I LOOK BACK ON THE PASSING SUMMER

As I look back on the summer which is about to pass, I turned 88 years old in June and have worked diligently as well as enjoyed my leisure time to the fullest while blessed with excellent health. Among the many events that took place this summer, the most memorable is the “Kazuo Noda Fan Club” gathering that took place in July at a hotel in Sendai City (Miyagi Prefecture) where 88 of my friends congregated to celebrate my birthday.

During my university years, I was disgusted with the educational system which I deemed as hopelessly pathetic. However, it is ironic that I embarked on a path to become a university professor upon graduation and that this became my profession of 40 years. During my tenure, I continued to advocate the urgent necessity to reform the universities and it took 40 years for my recommendations to realize themselves.

To be more specific, this came across my path after I retired as a university professor in the form of being asked three times to found a university which was based on my fundamental idea of what I deem the institution should be and to become the first president. Although establishing a university from scratch and becoming the first president are both no easy tasks to say the least, the most mentally backbreaking institution among the three was the University of Miyagi.

Sendai City (where the University of Miyagi is located) was where my father, whom I genuinely respected since my childhood, spent his youth as a senior high school student. The fact that my father spent his jubilant years itself was almost enough to lure me to this city. Furthermore, Governor Shuntaro Honma of Miyagi Prefecture took the trouble and time of coming all the way to Tokyo to solicit my assistance in establishing the first prefectural university in Sendai. With this honorable solicitation, I decided to commit myself to become one of the founding committee members and ended up becoming the first president of the institution as I was about to enter my elderly years.

When I accepted the post, it was after the resignation of Governor Honma so it was his successor, then Governor Shiro Asano, who officially appointed me. It was an unfortunate and unexpected incident for the University of Miyagi that Governor Asano and I, essentially, did not share the same values. It made things worse when this sour relationship was brought to light to the prefectural citizens who had high hopes for the institution and rumors started to spread among them that the university president will resign and return to Tokyo. It was about this time that a “fan club” was formed by the people, especially local businessmen, who wanted to console and encourage me. If former Governor Asano’s fan club does exist, I would personally like to meet the members to learn firsthand why they support him. If I hear something positive about him which I have overlooked, I am willing to utilize their advice as a reference to, maybe, correct my assessment about him.

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July 15, 2015

947 WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE AIM OF PRIME MINISTER ABE?

This morning, the members of the ruling party steamrollered the much debated security-related bills amid the loud protests of the opposition parties at the House of Representatives special committee on security legislation. The bills which are planned to be passed at the House’s plenary session tomorrow will greatly alter the interpretation of the right to collective defense which constitute the pillar of the current constitution of Japan.

Upon returning home and reading the evening papers thoroughly, my thought ran as follows. When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected to office at the end of 2012 after leaving the post in 2007, the immediate announcement he made was to implement new policies, the so called Abenomics, to uplift the country’s stagnant economy. However, the ultimate aim of this policy was to realize the nationalistic inclination that lurks in his vein. In other words, he was targeting to boost his administration’s pubic approval rating vastly with the success of Abenomics and schemed that this would enable him to change the Japanese constitution (read: expansion of Japan’s right to collective defense).

While Abenomics got off to a good start, Prime Minister Abe went as far as to reshuffle his cabinet members and convened his third administration when the effect of the economic policies started to show signs of slackening. Furthermore, his official commitment to depreciate the yen did not turn out as expected and with the hike of the consumption tax, the public’s outlook on the country’s economic recovery started to deteriorate. Not only were the current cabinet members and his inner circle he relied on prove incapable of gaining the public’s support but in worst instances, their arrogance caused a number of disgraceful scandals. All these added up to bring down the administration’s public trust and approval rating.

I will end this Rapport issue and go to bed as I reached a satisfactory conclusion that the Prime Minister took the risk of forcibly passing the controversial security-related bills now as a last resort since he feared that the further decline of his approval rate would totally perish his dream of achieving his ultimate desire (i.e. the expansion of the right to collective defense). But before falling asleep, I will probably retrace Japan during my childhood and youthful years. Although the country was not affluent as it is now, life flowed at a more leisurely pace. However, with the outbreak of the February 26 incident (attempted coup d’etat in Japan that took place on 2/26/1936), the social atmosphere completely transformed itself and from next year onward, Japan drastically turned its course to militarism and became deeply involved in WWII which killed several million fellow citizens and ruined countless cities and manufacturing facilities to ashes. Alas!

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June 1, 2015

946 CORRELATION BETWEEN HEALTH AND SICKNESS

Upon the advice of my unique friend, Dr. Kazuhiko Atsumi, whom I referred to in my last Rapport, I was hospitalized for the first and the last time in my life so far a little over 20 years ago. The purpose was to get a thorough physical check-up at Hanzomon Hospital. By suggesting that I should at least experience being hospitalized once in my life, Dr. Atsumi had the curiosity to examine my health condition thoroughly from a medical doctor’s point of view.

I, thus, checked into the hospital a few days later and as soon as I was made to change into the pajama which resembled a prisoner’s uniform, I had to undergo, to my surprise, more than 20 examinations in succession. When I was released from the hospital the next day, I felt elated like a person liberated from a prison term. The test results which became available a few days later indicated that I had straight A’s. According to Dr. Atsumi, for those over 60 years old who have taken physical examination at the said hospital, I was the first one to receive such a flawless result. Since then, Dr. Atsumi, contrary to my wish, insists that I attend gatherings of medical doctors’ at every possible opportunity and has virtually forced me to do so.

In line with this, I have been asked to give a two way discussion presentation with Dr. Atsumi at a conference by the name of “Workshop to Promote a Healthy Society in the Future” next week and the organizer has requested that I give a lecture under the title of “The Future Prospect of the Health Industry.” As I am to submit a summary of my presentation by Wednesday of this week, I kicked around with the idea yesterday afternoon.

My chain of thoughts ran as follows. Specialists (i.e. doctors and physicians) throughout the world have found remedies and preventive measures to treat various physical and psychological disorders generally termed as sickness over the years. However, even if the ailing individuals are cured from the disorder caused by the sickness as a result of the treatment, their physical and/or mental condition may not necessarily be categorized as “healthy.” In light of this, the majority of the population would belong somewhere in between healthy and sick (including those who are diagnosed as “mibyou” which is a term used in Chinese medicine to indicate that the patient does not show any particular irregularity that can be pinpointed but still suffers from certain symptoms). This leads me to speculate that even in developed countries, the population of “healthy” people in the true sense of the word may be unexpectedly small. If this is the case, should I consider that the full-scale growth of the “health industry” in the literal sense is yet to begin? Or should I consider that this is the very reason why the industry should embark on its mission right away?

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May 27, 2015

945 AFTER ALL, IT IS NOT ALTOGETHER BAD TO GET OLD

Time to celebrate my 88th birthday is just around the corner. Needless-to-say, the number of friends the same age who are busy with a steady flow of work like me has drastically decreased. On the other hand, I have found that I am able to nurture intimate relationships with “irregular” elderly individuals who, so far had nothing to do with my work, as partners to complement each other to tackle challenging projects. This leads me to appreciate the merit of longevity as well as the marvel of life.

A typical example of this is Dr. Kazuhiko Atsumi who is a year younger than me. We share nothing in common as to our birth, how we were brought up as well as our academic background. Dr. Atsumi, after graduating from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Medicine (specializing in surgery), was asked to stay on at the medical office but was appointed as Professor of the university at record breaking speed and, furthermore, came to be renowned worldwide as the pioneer in the field of artificial heart. Upon retirement, he claimed that western medicine has its limit in providing treatment to illnesses and organized an institute which advocates “integrated medicine” (i.e. including alternative, complimentary and traditional medicines) by consolidating the distinctive advantages of remedies which were cultivated and practiced indigenously in various countries and became the institution’s first Chairman. His present preoccupation which was also quoted in the advertisement of his recent book is “how to age skillfully.”

Dr. Atsumi and I first met at a gorgeous gathering held in Tokyo half a century ago when we found ourselves seated next to each other by coincidence. The first impression we had of each other at the time was; looking at me with a deep tan, Dr. Atsumi guessed I was working at a trading firm and stationed in Southeast Asia while I guessed he was a civil engineer of a general contracting firm judging from his dignified countenance. We had a great laugh when we confessed of our wrong guessing at a later date and we have cherished a long-lasting friendship since then.

On a related topic, ever since the Nikkei Business magazine (in its September 22nd, 2014 issue) ran a special feature titled “The Shock of 13 Million Hidden Caregivers” highlighting the problematic issue which burden many middle age workers who have to nurse their aged parents, this topic has become a new and urgent challenge in the industrial sector. The article implicitly implies that the companies will inevitably loose competent workers since the latter are compelled to look after their parents as a full-time obligation.

In conjunction with this, I have been assisting Mr. Naohiro Osawa (entrepreneur who was a former employee of Recruit Holdings Co.) who foresaw early on that this problem will surface and for the past 7 to 8 years, we have been collaborating our efforts so that this venture can be established as a new business model to propose appropriate and specific measures to solve, or at least alleviate the problem. In other words, I have started to engage in a grand and final project of my life by tightly joining hands with Dr. Atsumi, a medical scholar and a doctor whose lifetime challenge has been devoted to “health and longevity.”

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May 18, 2015

944 LOOKING BACK ON RAPPORT’S 30 YEARS

First, my apology for the two months interval since I last wrote Rapport − 943. As the interlude was unusually long, I even received many warm inquiries voicing concern to my well being but please rest assured as I am sound in body and mind. It would be kind of you if you can interpret it as me taking a short break after working too hard.

In retrospect, the “postcard correspondence” (precursor of Rapport) started in October 1, 1985 and it was titled “The Founding of NBC.” NBC (New Business Conference) is a non-profit organization of new entrepreneurs which was set up by the backing of a young official of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI, now Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) who took special note of the ventures that were accomplishing astonishing growth in the Silicon Valley and me. The organization was established as an incorporated foundation under MITI on September 20, 1985 and upon request, I became the first President. This led me to embark on writing the postcard correspondence as a way of communicating with those who were involved with NBC as well as to promote the organization to my friends and acquaintances.

This postcard correspondence was sent to NBC related people almost every week until I resigned as President at the end of 1986. Upon experiencing the unexpected impact of the postcard correspondence firsthand, I decided to utilize this medium when I took on the responsibility of founding Tama University in 1987. I thus recommenced my endeavor of writing and sending the weekly correspondence as “TIMIS” (Tama Institute of Management & Information Sciences) to people who were involved as well as interested in the university at the end of 1987. 72 issues of TIMIS were mailed until 1989 when the university opened its door and I, furthermore, continued to write 156 issues after I became the first President of the institute until I stepped down 6 years later.

As a footnote, I was to resign my President’s post earlier but since Professor Hideichiro Nakamura whom I entrusted the responsibility of succeeding myself fell ill unexpectedly, I hurriedly became the acting President and persuaded my friend, Prof. Gregory Clark (professor at Sophia University at the time), to become the third President and was finally released from my duty in September 1994. Now, this did not terminate my postcard correspondence. In order to keep in touch with my numerous friends with varied backgrounds as well as to update them on my recent activities and ideas, I started writing “Rapport.”

The first Rapport was sent out on November 1, 1994 under the title of “Largeness and Strength” and from #913, it is posted on my homepage. Although no longer mailed in the format of a postcard, I will be more than happy if you could continue to read them on the web as my intention remains the same.

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March 5, 2015

942 ASTONISHED BY PEZY’S COMPANY NAME

When Toru Tokushige first visited my office year before last, the firm he founded, Terra Motors Corp., was already rather well known as a successful venture firm so the origin of the company’s name did not come as such a big surprise. It was taken from “tera” meaning 12 times of 10, i.e. the international unit prefix to indicate one trillion. I remember telling Tokushige-kun that the firm’s grand name was very much in line with the nature of his scheme and the accomplishments he achieved..

However, when Motoaki Saito, the founder of the PEZY Group (headed by PEZY Computing K.K.) visited my office the other day, I was totally taken aback when I learned of how the company’s name originated. Dr. Saito explained that it comes from the combination of the initials of the unit prefixes of peta, exa, zeta and yotta. For your information, peta is one thousand times of tera (i.e. 1,000 trillion) and exa, zetta and yotta are 1000 times of the former unit respectively. Needless-to-say, they are mind-bogglingly humongous units. If the name holds true to content, PEZY as a firm can grow almost infinitely.

Although Dr. Saito is a medical doctor (specializing in radiation) who graduated from the graduate school of medicine of the University of Tokyo, he established a medical company outside the campus which specialized in the application of highly advanced computer technology when he was still a graduate school student. Soon after graduation, he established a firm which specialized in supplying medical system as well as developing next generation diagnosis equipment in Silicon Valley. While the firm rapidly expanded in scale, it provided more than 8,000 medical systems which were developed in-house to large hospitals worldwide. Not only was his business achieving success but he made a mark in the scholarly sector by becoming the first Japanese to be awarded the Computer World Honor.

Dr. Saito decided to move his business base to Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake so that he can contribute to the country’s revitalization efforts by utilizing the company’s expertise in research and development as well as by making good use of the business know-how gained from overseas operation. So far, the company is growing at an amazing pace as Dr. Saito has founded 10 research and development firms, applied for over 60 patents and the annual sales of the whole group is more than 100 billion yen. This being the case, I refrained from voicing my opinion when Dr. Saito solicited my advice as to how the PEZY Group can further grow. I asked him to spare me more time to speculate over the matter and we promised to meet again when I am able to provide him with a recommendation that may inspire him.

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February 23, 2015

941 50TH ANNIVESARY OF MY “AKASAKA OFFICE”

Whenever I come across the expression "70 years after WWII” which is being used frequently in the media these day, it reminds me about my office in Akasaka (although it moved 7 times within the same district). Some may wonder what the association between the two is but they are both unforgettably intertwined within me.

As I have repeatedly said and written, the sole goal of my life throughout my childhood to my youthful years was to become an aeronautical engineer surpassing my father who was a pioneer in this field in Japan and whom I respected deeply. In order to achieve my dream, I aspired to enter the University of Tokyo’s Engineering Department, Aeronautics Division.

However, as I was about to accomplish my life’s first goal as a (old system) senior high school student majoring in natural science, Japan was defeated in WWII and the Allied Forces which occupied Japan ordered that the country will be permanently banned from manufacturing or owing any aircrafts. To abide by this mandate, the University of Tokyo subsequently closed the Aeronautics Division and my life’s goal vanished into thin air. Unable to find an alternative vision or a new course of life, I changed my major from natural science to humanities in vain, not knowing what would be in store for me in the future.

As a dishearten youth, I lived through the confusion and poverty of postwar Japan. Meanwhile, in vivid contrast to the sorry plight of the former leaders who were anxious and frightened about being pursued of their war responsibility, I was immensely impressed with the vitality and the energetic activities of unknown entrepreneurs who suddenly appeared all over Tokyo which was ruined to ashes.

After graduating from the (old system) senior high school, I entered the Sociology Department of the University of Tokyo, later became a Fellowship Researcher at the university’s graduate school and, unexpectedly, started my life as a university professor. Ever since then, “Creation of new businesses and their growth” has indeed been my eternal research theme as a scholar. This was destined to be from the time when I became fascinated with the creativity of postwar entrepreneurs.

Now, regarding the question why I have set up an office in Akasaka for half a decade. To this, I respond by saying that the office spaces provided by the university are totally inadequate in meeting my criteria of what I deem to be a truly “productive” office. I consider that the prerequisite to what I call an ideal office must have good transportation access so that busy entrepreneurs can visit the place from wherever they are and must be equipped with various amenities to comfortably accommodate the guests who took their time and effort to come. Back in the old days, entrepreneurs like Masayoshi Son and the like of him who later succeeded often gathered at my office to engage in lively discussions. Even now, new entrepreneurs like Toru Tokushige (founder of Terra Motors Corp.) pops up at my office to talk about their potent plans. All in all, my office in Akasaka serves as a stronghold of my intellectual inspirations and activities.

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February 18, 2015

940 ON PIKETTY BOOM

Even after Dr. Thomas Picketty returned to Paris after energetically attending to his hectic schedule in Japan, I am surprised that the “Piketty boom” has not cooled off. During his stay, I hear that the bookstores in Tokyo had conspicuous display of his thick “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” book translation by heaping them in high piles and that the lecture he gave at the University of Tokyo overflowed with a huge audience. However, as for myself, I do not intend to read the book’s translation. No, it is not because the book is prohibitively thick. It is because that the content of the book which I learned through various mediums does not stimulate my intellectual curiosity to further pursue his view by actually reading the book.

The aforementioned book is based on a comparative analysis of vast statistical data collected from 30 capitalistic countries over a long span of time and concludes that capitalism (as it develops) will increase income and wealth inequality to the point that democratic order will no longer be sustainable. This assertion has suddenly attracted the concern of intellects among developed capitalistic nations including Japan and has encouraged active discussions among many experts to credit or discredit Dr. Piketty’s claim. However, as far as Japan is concerned, the fact that the country, when compared to other capitalistic nations (both developed and developing), has not created such a drastic income inequality has given doubt among Japanese experts as to the credibility of Dr. Piketty’s view and whether his theory and proposed solution can be legitimately adopted in this country.

Until about 10 years ago, it was said in the business administration sector (which I am familiar with) that the average salary inequality (including bonuses) between the President and new recruit in listed companies in the U.S. was 300 to 400 times whereas it was 10 to 20 times at most in Japan. In recent years, this ratio of inequality may have decreased in the U.S. but the rate of wealth concentration is still incomparably huge in the U.S. when compared to that in Japan. In short, even economic phenomenon like income is deeply tied in with the respective countries’ history and social customs.

That is to say that even if social phenomenon can be converted into numerical values, there is a high risk of reaching a deceptive reality when comparing countries with totally different history and culture by simply using these numerical figures. To cite a specific example, the differing rate of salary inequality between the President and new recruit of leading companies in the U.S. and Japan did not occur from how advanced capitalism (economy) is in the respective countries but must be thought of as an outcome of the different culture and values inherent within the two nations.

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January 29, 2015

939 AT THE START OF THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP

As the turbulent year came to an end, I looked forward to the new year of the sheep, peaceful creatures who live harmoniously in a flock. To cite a few grim incidents which come to mind immediately, 2014 saw the spread of the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, the expansion of the Islamic State, etc. on an international level and domestically the country suffered from the frequent occurrence of devastating mud slides, escalating numbers of accidents and criminal incidents involving “dangerous drugs,” etc. However, contrary to my hope, the new year rocked with alarming incidents early on which related to the Islamic State - shooting in Paris killing workers of a French satirical magazine and the murder of the two Japanese hostages the extremist group had captivated. I am sorry to say that I already see dark clouds over the horizon for 2015.

As we all well know, the Islamic State suddenly appeared last year and did not waste time to utilize their military forces to subdue regions from northern Iraq to northern Syria. As a conqueror, the militant group ill-used unprecedented brutal governing methods and rapidly increased their presence in the international arena. To counter the Islamic State, the U.S. took the leading role to form a coalition of the willing which is constituted by European and Arab nations. The coalition is supporting Iraq and Syria by air-raiding the territories occupied by the Islamic State but objective observation leads one to judge that the air strikes are not as effective as anticipated.

So far, Japan has not joined the aforementioned coalition but due to what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during his visit to the 4 Middle Eastern nations earlier this month, the leaders of the terrorist group has designated Japan as “anti-Islamic State.” To illustrate this, they demanded a ransom of 2 hundred million dollars to free the two Japanese hostages, Haruka Yukawa and Kenji Goto, they had abducted and imprisoned. The amount of the ransom was equivalent to what Prime Minister Abe promised as “humanitarian aid” in Egypt (the first country he visited on his Middle East tour) to counter the Islamic State.

What I conceive as a big problem was the abnormal amount of sympathy the mass media extended towards the two hostages and their families together with Prime Minister Abe’ exultation that he nor the country will never succumb to terrorism. Both men, Yukawa and Goto, must have been acutely aware that they were taking extremely high risks in entering Syria and must have been prepared to face the worst. Contrary to what was written on the internet, a wave of excessive sympathy spread within the nation and the Prime Minister is elated as if he has declared war on the Islamic State. As for me who will be turning 88 years old, it is de´ja` vu. I cannot help but wonder whether I have slipped back in time to Japan just before the war. Alas!

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January 1, 2015

938 AS I INSIST ON MY OWN WAY OF LIFE

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year. I wonder what your first dream of the New Year was. Although I will be turning 88 years old this year, one of my friends mentioned end of last year that, “Statistically speaking, only one in 100 men are able to reach 88 years old with a sound mind and healthy body in present day Japan.” Since I took this as a compliment and a good omen for what is in store for me, the first dream of the year left a special impression.

Like the famous haiku poet Basho wrote “Sick on a journey − Over parched fields dreams wander on” (a.k.a. falling sick on a journey/my dream goes wandering/over a field of dried grass) as his final death poem, dream, in fact, seems to have a deep relationship with the individual’s personal circumstances and emotional state which alter from time to time in conjunction with the actual world the individual lives in. In stark contrast to Basho’s dream (who died at an early age of 50 years old in Osaka, while in the midst of his journey, after suffering from an illness), my first dream took place at an elegant President’s office room of some new university (although I could not recall the students when I woke up). There, I was having a jovial conversation with several people while enjoying the scenery from the window. In short, it was a simple and merry one.

What caught my attention was where can this new university be? My mind started wandering as I lay in bed at an early hour on the morning of New Year’s day until I immediately thought about the new university which is planned to be built on a public land in front of Omura Station of the Nagasaki Shinkansen (bullet train) which will commence operation in 2022. As mentioned in my Rapport 899 issue, this university will be small in scale but befit to become the essential core of the 21st century style new community which will be built on the same site by incorporating the innovative ideas of Mr. Kengo Kuma (one of the leading Japanese architects). Architecturally, not only the buildings constituting the institution would be cutting-edge but more comprehensively, the areas covering the greenery zone all the way to the interior space design will abound with originality. In addition to these exceptional hardware aspects, I hope that the institution’s soft aspects including educational and research activities as well as methods would be epoch-making to the Japanese university arena.

Having said the above, I admit that this is only, I repeat only, what I anticipate the university to be and do not think that it will easily become a reality. Last summer, the Omura Municipal Office established the “Omura City University Establishment Committee” with the mayor as the chairman and several meetings have been held in Tokyo to discuss the institution’s inception. As one of the committee members of this organizing committee, I think it is imperative that I continue to advocate what I think would be ideal and be in the best interest of the new university, its students, faculty members and the community from my own perspective.

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