Daniel James Hart

B.A. in Economics and International Business Studies, and Certificate in Political Economy


Thank you Dean Stronach and thanks to the faculty and staff and distinguished guests. And, of course, our friends and family who came here from all over the world to celebrate this special day with us. We couldn't have done it without your support.

Now, congratulations to everyone who is graduating today. When I recall the new student orientation back in the summer of 2014, the memory that stands out the most is the advice given by Associate Dean Kato in her closing remarks when she said—and I'm paraphrasing—"study hard, have fun, and don't go to Roppongi." Well, two out of three isn't bad. We definitely studied hard and we certainly had fun during our time at TUJ.

What impressed me most about the study habits of TUJ students, was how expertly we could leverage technology to complete difficult group projects that required intense collaboration. It was astonishing how rapidly the students in these study groups created shared workspaces in the cloud to collect and analyze data - and these are students. Online chat groups were also setup to discuss ideas and clarify concepts in real time. Remarkably, this constantly connected, cloud-based collaboration platform did not exist only ten years ago. But it felt completely natural and second-nature to us. Few of us even realized what a paradigm shift this represented.

Yet technology only complimented the traditional way of studying—it didn't replace it. The old school, face-to-face method of learning with people, books, papers, and pens was still alive and well at TUJ. The student lounges and designated study rooms were always humming with activity during school hours. The learning center still had plenty of students who preferred help from their peers as opposed to Khan Academy. Then there was the TUJ library, where you could often find me, and certainly most of you, studying before and after classes.

Now, there is something very special about the TUJ library because it's more than a physical destination for many of us. It's a mental destination. For no matter how turbulent things are out in the corridors of Azabu and Mita Halls, you could always seek solace in the library. It was truly a shelter from the storm. I still have many fond memories of studying in my favorite cubicle surrounded by books on Economics by such luminaries as Adam Smith, Ludwig Von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek. On a Spring day, the windows would be open, a gentle breeze would blow in, and the pervasive sound of traffic outside would mix with the quiet, genial whispers of our friendly, hard-working librarians. Hence, confirming that we do live in a benevolent universe, which is, I might add, a prerequisite to successful studying.

Then it's back into the lion's den of ideas. And that was where the fun began. I remember in one of my political science classes, there were some especially egregious topics that were being discussed, which is actually quite normal in political science classes. However, the professor, who was very well meaning and who came from Main Campus, proceeded to warn us that there would be "trigger words" in the discussion. I can remember my classmates looking at each other incredulously, wondering "what the heck is a trigger word?". The class continued and the controversial topics were discussed passionately, but always tactfully. Ideas that were different from our own were tolerated and debated in a mature and respectful manner. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, at a very prestigious university in the San Francisco bay area, a riot was breaking out on campus because students could not tolerate ideas that were different from their own.

So, what does this say about us? Well, for me, it simply confirmed what I already know, which is that TUJ students are—by definition—already living outside their comfort zone. So yeah, we're pretty thick skinned. You can't be insular and at the same time be a TUJ student. That is an oxymoron. We thrive on our diversity and our differences. It doesn't matter if you're a working adult, or a veteran, or a Japanese student fresh out of high school, or a cosplay fanatic from Poughkeepsie. We all came here to learn in an environment that celebrates those differences while, at the same time, exposes us to ideas that might be considered dangerous in places like Berkeley or Cambridge.

But we can handle it. We could handle it. And now we finally arrived at the end of our journey, and many of us are probably wondering: what happens next? I know that a lot of you are still searching for your dream job. The good news is that we're currently in a relatively strong job market. I mean, seriously, if you think it's difficult finding a job in 2017, just think of those poor graduates back in 2008 who were facing the imminent collapse of the global financial system. Now THAT was a tough job market! Of course, that's not meant to trivialize or downplay the challenges that many of us will face during our job hunt. My humble advice to you, based on my own experience, is to apply to as many jobs as possible and always include a personalized cover letter because someone out there will read it and appreciate you.

Also, remember that your connections are useful in life because they can generate leads and help you get your foot in the door. But, once you're in, you will need to rely on the knowledge, the skills, and the practical wisdom that you've learned here at TUJ, and elsewhere, to be a success. You will also need to constantly upgrade your skills throughout your life and actively develop your mind. Because if you don't, you will be replaced by a robot, or some other artificial intelligence that we can't even fathom right now, but trust me, these things are right around the corner. So take them seriously and please be well prepared.

In closing, good luck to everyone in all your future endeavors, whether in Japan or elsewhere. It has been a privilige and an honor to count all of you as my classmates and my friends. I hope you will keep in touch and I hope you will continue to study hard, have fun and if I see you in Roppongi, I'll buy you a beer because you've definitely earned it.

Minnasan, omedetou Gozaimasu. Otsukaresama desu. Thank you very much.










こうしたことから、TUJの学生たちについてどんなことがわかるでしょうか? といっても、私はもうすでにその答えを知っているのですが。つまり、TUJの学生たちはこのように定義できるのです。常に自分の心地よい安全圏から外に出て生きているのがTUJの学生たちである、と。私たちはある意味、面の皮が厚いのです。TUJの学生でありながら、自分だけの閉ざされた世界に籠っているわけにはいきません。それは矛盾というものです。私たちは、多用性と違いを受け入れながら成長していくのです。社会人であろうと、米国の退役軍人であろうと、高校を出たばかりの日本人学生であろうと、ポキプシー出身のコスプレマニアであろうと、あなたが何であろうと構わないのです。私たちがここに来た理由は、そうした互いの違いを祝福する環境の中で勉強するのと同時に、バークレーやケンブリッジのような場所では危険だとみなされる可能性のある考えにも触れるためなのです。

しかし、私たちはうまく切り抜けられるのです。切り抜けられるでしょう。そしていよいよ、私たちのTUJでの旅が終わりを迎えようとする中で、多くがこう思っていることでしょう。次は何が起こるんだろう? 皆さんの中にはまだ理想の仕事を探している最中の方も多くいるかと思います。幸いなことに、現在は売り手市場で、学生側が比較的優位な状況にあります。考えてもみてください。もし2017年に仕事を見つけるのが大変だと言うのなら、グローバルな金融システムの崩壊が間もなく起ころうとしていた2008年の不幸な卒業生たちの立場はどうなってしまうでしょう? あれくらいの状況こそ就職難と言えるでしょう。もちろん、就職活動中に私たちの多くが直面するであろう困難の数々を矮小化したり軽んじたりするつもりはありません。私の経験からささやかなアドバイスをするとすれば、自分の基準にマッチする企業に可能な限りたくさん応募をして、新しい募集が出る限りは応募をし続けるということに尽きます。そして、個々へ宛てたカバーレターは必ず添付するようにしてください。必ずや誰かが気付いて、あなたのよさをわかってくれますから。