Good morning, and thank you all for joining us for this ceremony celebrating the 140th anniversary of the founding of Ochanomizu University. On behalf the entire university community, I can say it is a great honor to see so many people here celebrating this important milestone. To all of our guests who have taken time out of their busy schedules to be with us here today, I appreciate your time and am deeply grateful to you for your participation.
Ochanomizu University was founded on November 29, 1875 as Tokyo Women’s Normal School, Japan’s first institution of higher education for women, in the Ochanomizu neighborhood of Tokyo. Later, it became the Women’s Higher Normal School, and then the Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School. Over the course of seventy-four years, it produced exceptional female instructors and led the way in women’s education in Japan. On May 31, 1949, after the end of World War II, the school was converted into Ochanomizu University under the new system, and continued to make history. The fact that Ochanomizu University was able to start carving out a new path as a comprehensive national university for women was a highly significant accomplishment in the development of women’s education in Japan. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our faculty and staff, as well as the university’s other stakeholders at the time and the generous support of the Ministry of Education, Ochanomizu University overcame a variety of difficulties during that transition.
Even in an era when the social engagement of women was limited, the graduates of this university exerted great efforts as a result of their strong desire to learn and to contribute to society. They carved out a path the women who came after them could follow, and they greatly expanded the opportunities and venues available to women for proactively participating in society. Ochanomizu University still strives to produce women with a broad perspective, rich sensitivity and the capacity to play a leadership role in Japan and around the world. Our students pursue a variety of disciplines and research spontaneously, and our graduates demonstrate excellence in a variety of fields, including academia and research, education, industry and government.
In 2004, when all national universities were established as national university corporations independent of the government, Ochanomizu University set its sights on supporting women all over the world in the achievement of their dreams under the leadership of the university’s first female president, Masuko Honda. The university adopted the motto of “being a place where all women with the desire to learn can fulfill their most ambitious dreams.” We have come this far by promoting education and research from a global perspective, so the women who come to study at this university—including women in developing countries who may have the desire but not the opportunity to pursue an education—can develop a deeper understanding of people from different cultures with diverse values and perspectives, and benefit from one another while pursuing their own growth. This is something our faculty and staff are proud of, and it has created opportunities for opening windows onto the wider world in the hearts of our graduates and current students.
Ochanomizu University has developed a consolidated system referred to as “All Ochanomizu” among its affiliated schools, which have their own cultures of educational excellence and have provided early childhood education, primary education and secondary education for many years. Research and practice related to educational methods at each stage of development have been established through close cooperation between these affiliated schools. The various educational programs they have developed and honed are being provided as model programs both in Japan and overseas.
That we have carved out such a history of fruitful education and research is largely due to the wonderful efforts of our university stakeholders, of course, and I am deeply grateful for the kind support and advice that so many of you have given us over the years.
Next year will be the first year of the third-period midterm plans and goals for national university corporations. We want to see the university’s education and research results put to maximum use in society, and added new two goals to our existing mission of “cultivating global female leaders.” We are striving to maximize our education and research results in the health sciences and science of human development—which are particular strengths of this university—and are promoting education and research that enables people to remain physically and mentally happy and healthy throughout their lives. Our plans involve amassing the collective talents of instructors in relevant fields, using our integrated campus (which includes preschool to graduate school) to link research results to practical implementation, and effectively disseminating our findings within the community.
We hope that all the people gathered on this campus achieve their dreams and create a prosperous future, and engage in activities that inspire hope and courage for the future among their peers. We hope that Ochanomizu University continues to play its role as an institution of education and research for the growth of academic research and the development of international society.
I am particularly grateful to three individuals who have expended tremendous efforts in pursuing education and research at this university and in Japan, and I hereby award each of them an honorary doctorate from Ochanomizu University.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the individuals and organizations that have supported this university’s management, education and research.
I hope that everyone in attendance here today will remain unwavering in their kind generosity and support to this university as we look ahead to the next 140 years.
Thank you for your ongoing encouragement of our efforts.
November 29, 2015