On retirement

An Awkward Farewell Greeting

INAGA Shigemi (Professor)
March 12, 2021

◆If cross-appointments were an option as it was strongly recommended a couple of years ago by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) I would have wanted to work until my mandatory retirement age. But I was requested to transfer to a private university that is reorganizing and launching a new faculty. I will leave Nichibunken one year before the expiration of my tenure. It is a strange coincidence that my grandfather, who taught in Dalian, and my father, who worked in Hiroshima, left their jobs before retirement age as well.

◆Since the movement to incorporate national institutions of higher education began—especially since the third Mid-term Plans started getting rolled out—I realized I should not be working at a national research institution. I disagreed with almost every MEXT and National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) policy, I caused nothing but trouble for my colleagues, and was only a headache for the staff.

◆I was assigned to run the Japanese Popular Culture Research Project and simultaneously manage the “Japan-related Documents and Artifacts Held Overseas: NIHU International Collaborative Research and Utilization” project. Serving as research representative of the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) was another task of mine, and with things exceeding my capacity, I committed a series of blunders. I was assigned twice the workload as chair of the Department of Japanese Studies at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI): as dean of the School of Cultural and Social Studies in Sokendai, I caused a major administrative problem arising from confusion surrounding dissertation reviews. I am leaving my post before finishing a plan to improve the faculty administration.

◆On the academic front, after being appointed to administrative posts, I accomplished little that was not sheer inertia. And I am resigning without having had any time to visit the library these past eight years. As I witness the wonderful accomplishments of my younger colleagues, I feel strongly that it is high time I made way for them. A small research institute with only some fifteen full-time professors has no place for a useless, little-known scholar like me. It needs new blood.

◆International exchange was one domain to which I foolishly believed I might be of some service. But I am resigning before having had any involvement in Nichibunken’s global initiatives. I leave in the hands of talented staff members and colleagues the projects I compiled and proposed in the “Future Plan Concept” six years ago, including the Virtual Alumni and Internet Intercontinental Group Research, as well as the integrated PR and international exchange plan that transcends boundaries of the Library Resources Section, the Information Technology Section, and the Research Cooperation Section.

◆I entrust future affairs to Director-General Inoue Shōichi and others of the next generation. This brings to an end my quarter century at Nichibunken in Katsurazaka, Kyoto. Let me express my gratitude to all the faculty and staff members, past and present.


I continuously reviewed martial arts techniques and practical French usage workshops through the Theory and Methodology Seminar at Nichibunken.