立志式校長式辞 2016年1月29日
Principal’s speech at the Coming of Age Ceremony, January 29th, 2016

 Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, teachers and students.
As principal of GKA Secondary School, I would like to address the 8th graders on this commemorable day --- the day that all of them come of age.

 The phrase -- Risshi -- consists of two Chinese characters, literally meaning to establish one’s will or wish for one’s own future. I have heard that in the old days, Japanese young people around the age of 13 were considered old enough to be independent, as mature and responsible adults, with a clear will, having their own dreams and ambitions for the future.      

 On this occasion, as I offer my congratulations to all the 8th graders on reaching this special day, I would first like to suggest to each and every one of you, that you express deep gratitude to all the people who have contributed to your upbringing, particularly your parents. Needless to say, without them you would never have become what you are today.

 Second, I would like you to have a clear idea of what you want your future to look like. What do you need to start with? My hope is that you will take a close look at yourselves, examine what interests you have, and carefully consider what you want to be and how you wish to contribute to society in the future. In about nine months, we expect that you will participate in a work experience program. The present 9th graders did an amazing job on this program last November, though I must say that they received a tremendous lot of assistance from their parents, their teachers, and the companies that accepted them. I hope you are looking forward to this program, ready to make the best use of it --- looking far ahead into the future --- with your prospective careers in mind.

 On this commemorable occasion, I do hope that you have a positive attitude toward your future, and that you are full of high hopes as you contemplate the lives you have before you. Try your best to pursue your dreams. The process of doing this will be of tremendous value to all of you --- a priceless asset that will enrich your lives --- regardless of what you end up doing. 

 On January 11th, just the other day, an article in the Jomo Shimbun caught my eye. It was the last of a series of interviews with leading executives.  The final interviewee was Mr. Jin Tanaka, the president of J-I-N, a nationwide chain of optician’s shops, JINS. I have been told that he has been involved in the Gunma Innovation Award, an award created to encourage the birth of young entrepreneurs from our prefecture.

 Mr. Tanaka has come up with a variety of inspiring statements and ideas.  He says, “There is no hope for innovation where there is no change. Human beings have an instinctive tendency to resist change, feeling comfortable with stability under easy circumstances. Nothing will improve or advance in such an environment.” He introduced a new seating arrangement in his company, requiring his staff to sit in different places every day. He calls it the -- ‘free address’ system.  

 The purpose of this arrangement is to encourage staff members to seek active communication with their colleagues – always trying their best to work in a fresh atmosphere. Does that interest you? Don’t you think it sounds very innovative?    
  Mr. Tanaka continues to encourage young people like you, saying that you should have great dreams. Regardless of the result, there is huge value in striving to meet challenges. I totally agree with this idea. Not every dream will come true. You will meet hardships that hinder you on the way, and you may be forced to reset your goals. But looking into the future with a positive attitude and doing your best is sure to make a big difference. I can assure you that the whole process will definitely be a highly meaningful experience --- a priceless asset in your life. Why not give it a try --- put your best foot forward --- and give it your best effort?      

 I would like to conclude my speech by wishing all the 8th graders good luck, good health and a bright future in the years to come.  Thank you for your attention.