Retiring from Nichibunken
At the end of March 2020, I retired after completing three terms (eight years) as Director-General. When I took up my duties, Nichibunken was in the midst of the Second Mid-term Objectives/Plan period, and formulation of the Third Mid-term Objectives/Plan had begun. Budget reductions for national institutions of higher education began to affect the government-funded Inter-University Research Institutes as well. We were strongly urged to reassess our mission and strengthen our functions, and responding to these responsibilities filled my days during the first half of my tenure.
After overcoming many challenges and through the cooperation of everyone at Nichibunken, we established the Consortium for Global Japanese Studies aimed at strengthening the functions and communications among the major related institutions of higher education in Japan. We also launched the Japanese Popular Culture Research Project for the international and interdisciplinary study of this field that has been attracting widespread attention in recent years. These two function-strengthening projects have been approved by the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU). During the latter part of my tenure we pursued organizational changes and the conclusion of academic agreements with other research institutions in Japan and overseas in order to bring these projects to fruition.
With the accumulation of efforts extending over the past 30 years, Nichibunken is ahead of many other research institutes. Making full use of its past achievements, Nichibunken is ambitiously engaged in a diverse array of programs propelled by the above two projects, cementing its reputation as a vigorous national center of international Japanese studies.
But Nichibunken cannot afford to simply rest on its laurels. It must respond wisely to the unknowns to be faced with the federation that will be made up of the four inter-university research institute corporations in Japan (including NIHU) plus The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI, during the Fourth Mid-term Plan beginning two years from now. We must also cope prudently with the disruptions accompanying the spread of the coronavirus. Expectations of Nichibunken from both within Japan and overseas continue to rise, moreover, so I hope the faculty and staff will unite in expanding what can be expanded and amending what should be amended in its endeavors.
My days during the last eight years were filled with drama and emotion such as I had never faced in my life before that time. I hope to make the most of this valuable experience in the years ahead. I would like to thank the faculty and staff of Nichibunken and our many colleagues in Japan and overseas for their cooperation and support during my tenure as director-general.