In particular, here at Ito Campus, we have a wide range of facilities, including the newest state-of-the-art research buildings. At 2.5km long and 3km wide, covering an area of over 272 hectares, Ito Campus is one of the largest university campuses in the country. Among the campus’ many excellent facilities is the Central Library, which boasts the latest technology and a collection of more than 3.5 million books. Ito Campus is also just a 40-minute train ride from the city of Fukuoka. With a population of 1.6 million people, the city is home to our Hospital Campus, our art and design-focused Ohashi Campus, and our advanced and interdisciplinary Chikushi Campus. These four campuses, each with their own unique strengths, work together to create a better future for Kyushu University.
To our international students, let me remind you that your study abroad experience in Japan is not confined to your academic pursuits within the university. I encourage you to travel outside the university with your classmates. Both Fukuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka City are popular places to live, consistently ranking among the most livable places in Japan. Go out and expand your horizons through cultural exchanges and interactions with the local community.
From time to time, I would like you to remember the reason why you first chose to study at Kyushu University—that reason is at the heart of whatever it is that you want to learn here. I would ask that you approach your studies with sincerity, deepen your understanding, and fulfill your academic aims. We will do all we can to support you on your journey. Together we can create knowledge for the next generation.
Let me ask you, have you ever heard of Prof. Tetsu Nakamura? A graduate and University Professor of Kyushu University, Prof. Nakamura was shot and killed in Afghanistan in December of last year. More than 35 years ago, he was sent to the Mission Hospital in Pakistan to treat patients with leprosy. He later continued his medical endeavors in neighboring Afghanistan and spent many years of his life committed to constructing local irrigation canals for agriculture there. He had the foresight to realize that stability in Afghanistan could not be achieved through politics or force. Instead, he objectively observed and analyzed what was necessary for the local community to thrive and acted upon his conclusions. He noticed that poverty was the cause of the constant conflict, which led him to personally spearhead the construction of irrigation canals to draw water to dry, barren plots of land, so that local people could become self-sufficient through agriculture. He believed that the local community should be responsible for building, repairing, and maintaining the canals, so he researched the history of the Yamada Weir on the Chikugo River right here in Fukuoka and relearned mathematics from his daughter’s textbooks. He operated much of the heavy machinery himself and worked extremely hard to construct the waterways. Our hearts were moved to see local people working next to the irrigation canals he helped to build, where trees have now grown as living proof of Prof. Nakamura’s unwavering dedication.
He once noted that "a strange sense of incongruity struck him upon returning to Japan from Afghanistan" and that "technology and civilization are great acts that create a barrier between humans and nature.” These words sound the alarm for modern society, which tends to devote itself to the freedom of desire and a faith in science and technology. "People are a part of nature," Prof. Nakamura wrote in his book. “Nature is inside of us all. This fact is both an undeniable fate and a blessing that regulates all life on earth. There is no way for us to survive as a species without a reconciliation between nature and humanity and between humans themselves in the endeavors of science, economics, medicine, agriculture, and all other aspects of human behavior. I believe that this is the mark of a decent civilization," he concludes. His words are implanted in our hearts and minds, and his philosophy continues to inform academics here at Kyushu University.
In fact, we have developed a KIKAN education course under the tentative title "Reconnecting with the Philosophy of Prof. Tetsu Nakamura” to start in the 2021 academic year. I hope that you will find much to glean from his life and learn to appreciate the beliefs that were at the very core of his being.
In closing, I would like to announce that I was only appointed president of Kyushu University on October 1, 2020, so you are the first class of new students that I have had the pleasure to welcome since being appointed. I hope to grow as fellow compatriots as we mark our new beginnings together. I wish you all good luck.
Once again, congratulations on your enrollment.
President, Kyushu University