March 22, 2024

Spring 2023 Graduation Ceremony, President Address

The SOKENDAI graduation ceremony was held in Hayama campus on March 22, 2024.
We wish all the graduates the best of luck in their future endeavors.


 Congratulations to all of you who are receiving your degrees and graduating from SOKENDAI today. I express my sincere admiration for the efforts that each of you has made on a daily basis to reach this point, and my deep appreciation to the faculty who have supported and guided you in those efforts, as well as to your families for the support they too have given you.

 Over the past several years, the COVID-19 pandemic has always been touched upon in addresses like these, but ever since being reclassified as a Class 5 infectious disease in the middle of last year, the world has become so post-COVID that it is hardly even a topic of discussion anymore. That being said, however, I am sure that during the most important period of your dissertation research, your access to research facilities was restricted and you were unable to travel abroad or conduct studies, seriously hindering your research. So, again, I express my great respect for the efforts that all of you made to overcome such circumstances and earn your degrees today.

 University presidents often deliver lengthy addresses to graduates, in which they offer many thought-provoking words of encouragement about the state of society as it faces various challenges and about what society expects of those who have received their degrees. I am sure that we would all agree that what they say is absolutely true, but in my address today, I have only one thing to say to you.

 That is, as you live your lives, please challenge yourself to do what you truly want to do.

 However, there is a condition. When you find something you want to do, and when you are doing something you want to do, please ask yourself two serious questions. “Is this truly what I want to do, and why am I doing it?”

 Our desires are reflections of our emotions and sensibilities. If we do not trust and follow our own sensibilities, we will not be able to devote ourselves fully and work with passion. That is why we need to ask ourselves, “Is this truly what I want to do?” Accomplishing anything requires more than just the desire to do so. We also need to have a clear sense of purpose. Good research and good work are impossible unless we are aware of the true nature of what we are aiming for and never lose sight of it. That is why we need to ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this?”

 In our graduate programs, you have acquired specialized knowledge, mastered research methods, and gained the ability to identify and solve new problems. Once you leave SOKENDAI today, you will follow a path of your own choosing. Wherever you work and whatever you do, I ask that you find what you truly want to do, and with the strength and experience you have attained so far, I hope that you lead a life with devotion to that passionate desire.

 With this in mind, I hope you will fly away from SOKENDAI in high spirits.

 My sincerest congratulations to you today. We look forward to your future endeavors.

Takashi Nagata, President
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI