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Noyori Academy Salon: The Meaning of Life

  • 2013/12/26

University Professor Ryoji Noyori (President of RIKEN), who is a Nobel laureate in Chemistry (2001), hosted the second Noyori Academy Salon on December 25, 2013. At the meeting, Prof. Noyori and four students with different backgrounds frankly discussed the topic "The meaning of life."

"Cooperation rather than competition"
Shinichiro Ishida (third-year student at the Graduate School of Law)

"Current students act on the basis of individualism. They are happy if they can live in a framework that someone else prepared for them. This is true in the education system too: they believe it is important to gain a higher score than other students."

Prof. Noyori

"My generation lived in poverty during their childhood and at that time one family could not make a living without cooperating with others such as neighbors and friends. That is a huge difference between the past and the present. In recent years, competition has been overemphasized. What is more important is cooperation and collaboration. If you do not remain steadfast about who you are, nobody can believe you."

Ikumi Mita (sophomore at the School of Science)

"I have frequent opportunities to talk with foreign students in the English-speaking society. Looking at them, I became extremely conscious of how important it is to step forward; otherwise, I cannot survive."

Prof. Noyori

It is the age of globalization. People have their own values of where they are born and brought up, and a universal concept of values does not exist. In such a society, we need to work out the differences between people. It does not mean to cover up those differences! I believe it is important to acquire empathy from others."

Shima Motooka (freshman at the School of Agriculture)

"We students only amenably learn what lecturers teach us. We tend not to start anything ourselves. What do you expect from current students, Prof. Noyori?"

Prof. Noyori

"It is important to set a goal to grow up. I hope you would think 150 years from now, and you would build a society where your next generations can live happily."

Mitsuki Kawano (freshman at the School of Engineering)

"I believe it is difficult to figure out how great the Japanese culture is, unless you have lived here once."

Prof. Noyori

"It is when you live in a foreign land that you realize how beautiful it is. Principals are important, but if you stick around the principals too much, you cannot gain any support nor cooperation."

Original article was published in the Chunichi Shimbun on December 26, 2013.


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