Message from the Head

Greetings for the 2018 Academic Year

A year and a half have passed since October 1st 2016 when I began serving as the Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Human Values at Kyoto University of Art and Design. Spring has come once again, and I bring my focus on my professional duties.

The founding principle of this university is “a future based on the arts”. Through that, we provide education that aims to abolish “nuclear weapons” and strive for world peace. Based on the strong will of the school founder and first Chairperson Shochoku Tokuyama, the institute was established on October 27, 2012. This day was the anniversary of the death of Shoin Yoshida (1830-1859), whom the first Chairperson Tokuyama adored. Shoin founded a private school and cultivated pioneering figures in the Meiji period.

I have my personal interpretation of the founding principle of the school and the mission given to the institute.  That means substantiating shared principles of freedom, equality, and philanthropy through the integration of academism and arts while waving the flag of “anti-nuclear weapons /power” and “humanism". And with these principles, we can educate young people who can view all creation in the world with a sympathetic eye.

Looking back at the 2017 academic year, we held a study trip to the Shimokita Peninsula, following Shodoshima island in the first year. Looking at wild monkeys and geoparks were opportunities to conceive of ideas by visiting actual sites. We had the opportunity to actually see the nuclear reprocessing plant of Rokkasho village, the northernmost populations of snow monkeys, their natural habitat, and the geopark.

2017 was also the year when we came into contact with Bhutan.  On October 26th, the Princess of Bhutan, Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, visited our school, where she was met by Chairperson Yutaka Tokuyama and President Kazuo Oike. We were asked to animate a picture book by the Princess.

On an educational level, we took part in providing classes for the undergraduate school, graduate school, as well as correspondence education. With research, our full-time lecturers were active in the fields of Studies of Arts-based Peace and Cognitive Science of Arts. Please refer to our website. We also welcomed two Visiting Professors from October 1st 2017, Professor Eriko Kawai (Professor, Kyoto University) and Sachiko Kuno (CEO, S&R Technology Holdings). They are going to give insight on the theory and practice of economics, a field that has not been represented at our school thus far.

After I took over as Director, the “Seminar for Philosophy and Human Values” started as a new activity. The 4th session (on April 17, 2018) was Ryota Sakamoto’s “Bhutan the Country and its People.” On the occasion last year of the Princess’ visit, we took on a new project with “Longing for Happiness.” Article 9 of the Constitution of Bhutan stipulates longing for GNH (Gross National Happiness). We are making preparations to visit Bhutan by the end of this year.

Although we’re a small institute, we will continue to do our best as a unique endeavor of this university. We would be most grateful for your continued support and cooperation.

April 18th, 2018

I will serve as a head of the Institute of Philosophy & Human Values from October 1st, 2016. Walking up and down the campus on Mt. Uryu, I gradually have become used to its atmosphere.

The founding principle of this university is “a future based on the arts.” Through this ideal, we focus on education for the abolition of “nuclear power” and world peace. Based on the strong will of the school's founder, and first Chairperson, Shochoku Tokuyama, the institute was established on October 27th, 2012. This day is the anniversary of the death of Shoin Yoshida (1830-1859), whom Mr. Tokuyama loved and respected. Shoin Yoshida founded a private school and cultivated pioneering figures in the Meiji period.

While this institute is small in scale, we have been entrusted with grand intentions. In my interpretation of the school’s founding principle and the mission statement of the institute, I believe being “anti nuclear power” and valuing “humanism” are central tenets, and, through the intersection of art and academia, we can materialize Liberty, equality, fraternity, which are principles that all humans have in common. Also based on this ideal, we can cultivate young people who can have a tender perspective to all things in the universe.

As a new project, we have started the “Philosophy & Human Values Seminar”. In its first installment, we invited Zen Buddhist priest, Sogen Yamakawa, followed by Takao Doi, who experienced a manned space flight, as lecturers. Also, the project “ART meets SCIENCE” is being planned to serve as a meeting place between art and science.As before, we are aiming to promote the new fields of research called art and peace studies and art and cognitive science. Please find more information on our website. We would be most grateful for your continued cooperation.

April 8th, 2017

A Drop of Ink

Having been invited the university President, Kazuo Oike, I take over as the Head of the Institute of Philosophy & Human Values at Kyoto University of Art and Design from October 1st. I will strive to do my very best.

The founding principle of this university is “a future based on the arts.” Through this ideal, we focus on education for the abolition of “nuclear power” and world peace. Based on the strong will of the school's founder, and first Chairperson, Shochoku Tokuyama, the institute was established on October 27th, 2012. This day is the anniversary of the death of Shoin Yoshida (1830-1859), whom Mr. Tokuyama loved and respected. Shoin Yoshida founded a private school and cultivated pioneering figures in the Meiji period. With the development of humankind termed civilization, there is both a bright and dark side. One can say our mission at this institute is to create a philosophy which can sublate both sides of civilization rebelling against each other.

This institute, which has the abbreviation “Buntetsuken” in Japanese, was jointly-founded with the research institute at our sister school, Tohoku University of Art and Design. On September 1st, 2015, however, the institute made a fresh start as an independent research institute attached to Kyoto University of Art and Design. In four years from its establishment, I became the second head of the institute after the first head, Koji Ihara, and the acting head Kazuo Oike, the school president. Up to now, the institute has been active in organizing the Peace Civilization Conference (research conference by specialists), creating of a lecture series for local residents, and establishing the field of Art and Peace Studies.

While this institute is small in scale, we have been entrusted with grand intentions. In my interpretation of the school’s founding principle and the mission statement of the institute, I believe being “anti nuclear power” and valuing “humanism” are central tenets, and, through the intersection of art and academia, we can materialize Liberty, equality, fraternity, which are principles that all humans have in common. Also based on this ideal, we can cultivate young people who can have a tender perspective to all things in the universe.

The logo of Kyoto University of Art and Design is a drop of ink. There is a collection of essays called “A Drop of Ink” (published by Iwanami) by Shiki Masaoka (1865-1902). The school president Mr. Oike is also known as a Haiku poet, and, if I can speak personally, my hometown is Matsuyama in Ehime, the same as Shiki. At the end of his life, suffering from spinal tuberculosis, Shiki composed a poem, “A grape, as purple and deep as black.” If one views something deep enough, one can see the truth of the world even in a single grape. One grape, one grain, one drop of ink ― through my continual observation of such small things, I will move forward, one step a day, with my colleagues. We would be most grateful for your continued cooperation.

October 10th, 2016

Profile

Director Tetsuro Matsuzawa

http://www.matsuzawa.kyoto