Thursday, June 17, 2010

The fair assessment of my performance as an agitator would have to be "an utter failure".

Yesterday, during a lecture I gave at my old university, I tried to make some noise. But I utterly failed.

Observing the flow of students on University of Tokyo Komaba campus, I asked the simple question: Why are there only Japanese people on this campus? Then I went on to argue that Japanese Universities, or Japanese society in general, are failing in the era of globalization. Why don't we have more people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds mixing and fusing and resonating with each other on this campus, or in this country?

That started an agitated discussion, and the scientific materials (social construction of the self, moral judgment) had to be postponed for other opportunities. After having a discourse for 90 minutes, the fair assessment of my performance as an agitator would have to be "an utter failure".

This is a pity. To the best conscience of my rationality, I am still convinced that I had a point. But it simply did not ignite. Maybe my argumental style was wrong. Maybe I lacked the personality. This "volcano", as a result, might become dormant for a while after this.

Last word: The dynamo is still here in my bosom.


yuzu said...

What's happen with you? I don't think that your natural
performance make a blunder. I have listened to a little your volcanic lecture in internet. Of course I was surprised at it, but it was wonderful amaze. It still makes me tear. Please don't concern about yesterday's. I think that you are all right now. I am so glad to hear your dynamo is still here.

Greg said...

As a reader, I face some difficulty in assessing your assessment of yourself as an agitator as being an "utter failure." Providing a few of the relevant (or irrelevant) points or opinions in the "agitated discussion" you stirred up would provide some context in judging your efforts in raising awareness or action and some sense of how your audience responded to your points.

The phenomenon you describe is not limited to Japanese universities or society. Even here, from my vantage point in a small corner of California, awareness and appreciation of what people from other cultures and backgrounds have to offer and how we can learn from each other does not seem to be very high on the list of priorities.

tomo said...

You are the hope who can awake this country. There are already so many Japanese, including me, who are agitated by you and trying to see the broader world. I read almost all your books, quit being employed by a company, and working as a freelance with passion every second thanks to you. Your messages are so important. I really really hope to see the "volcano" again!

ai-indigo said...

Please remember, people who really understand and agree with you might not speak out in Japan:) I am sure your lecture changed something. That may be a small change, but, you know, everything starts like that.
Yesterday, on twitter, I found you were going to have a lecture there. I jumped into shower, and ran to the room. I skipped lunch and dental appointment. Your lecture really made my day.

(ma)gog said...

As a mother of two university students, I can easily comprehend your disappointment. "It is not because of you", is the only comfort that all I can think of now for you.

It will take time, step by step, till our Japan emerges from the stagnant status quo, but the important thing is that never to give up keeping to "make noises" always for anyone who is aware of the critical situation of our country.

Thirty years ago, I was a student at a "very" conservative girls' high school in Tokyo, whose school motto was "to educate our girls to be good wives and mothers with deep wisdom".(I think they have not been that successful to achieve their goals when I look at the graduates including myself.) A few years ago however, as I was looking at my old school's homepage through internet, I was hugely bewildered to have found out that the shool motto was then "We educate our girls to be the leaders of the international world"! It was rather a big and fast step for the old school of mine.

Anyway, I would like to believe that there is a big hidden wave to change the tide(hopefully without experiencing the financial disaster for paying off our unprecedented scale debt), and to see Japan as the country with new future.

stray sheep said...


Kumanoan said...

Yesterday, Mr.Mogi said every problem is a personal problem.

Mr.Hatoyama Yukio said "New form of the public sector" started to move for itself and he wanted to keep dancing.

Hatoyama showed this movie:"Derek Sivers: How to start a movement"

Let's keep making some noise!
Let's keep dancing!

Anonymous said...


olimay said...

It does not sound like you summoned a volcano, but perhaps you planted a seed.

Petrusa de Koker said...

Your performance would only be an utter failure if there was absolutely nobody that heard you. (Please note that I do not mean "listen to you".) I think what is failing here a bit, is patience.

deepblue said...

Frege is famous for the German Professor of mathmatics feild who created "the mark logic",
of course, famous for philosopher too.
Wittgenstein cultivated "Wittgenstein-world" with the Ferege-language.
you know,
He rendered remarkable achievement
with the language he believed it necesarry for his world.
Wittgenstein said,
The border of your language which forms yourself is the border of your world horrizon.
Dear MR.Mogi
I think if my web nobel is all written by English,I make believe to bring senseitional in the world.I always feel irritated and impatient because my English is "Japanese English".
We shall make our world inflated.

The universe have been inflating.
I hope you continue to go on.

Anonymous said...

According to my observation, private schools are more flexible than public schools in Japan especially traditional national universities just like your old university. It seems that the private schools have some intentions to see feasible options to approach everything.