Photo by Nobuyuki Kobayashi (TUJ graduate, 2004) and Manabu Miyamoto
Photo by Nobuyuki Kobayashi (TUJ graduate, 2004) and Manabu Miyamoto

Toshimasa Hatori

Bachelor of Science in International Business Studies



That’s the total number of words we wrote to earn our bachelor’s degree—not to mention dozens of other verbal deliveries and creative endeavors.

For visual learners, that means this much!

That’s right, I opened each Word file and counted all of the words in Excel. Wondering what I did for Golden Week? There’s your answer. 292,234 words to complete our undergraduate program. Isn’t that impressive? You must be feeling a great deal of accomplishment and gratification. And perhaps, some sense of relief.

Congratulations, Class of 2022. I am joyful to share this milestone with you today. On behalf of all the graduates: thank you, Dean Wilson and your administration, for your constant management and leadership; thank you, Chairperson Kuo and all the members of the Board, for your endless support in the wider community and to us, the students; thank you, faculty and staff, for your dedication and coordination; thank you, honored guests and cherished families, for always believing in us; and thank you, friends and partners, for making gloomy days so bright and memorable. We would not be who we are today without the enormous support around us. So, Class of 2022, let us take this moment to give a round of applause not only to congratulate ourselves but to appreciate how fortunate we are to be surrounded by the so many extraordinary people here today.

Now graduates, with this incredible support, what are your takeaways? What did you learn from writing 292,234 words of work?

As for myself, I am not the smartest person in this room, nor did I get the highest test scores; I am just a 21-year-old amateur whose voice may be forgotten by most of you in the next five minutes. But this is what I learned. Just like Socrates, I learned that I know that I know nothing.

 I was obsessed with the numbers that gauged my academic performance, just to earn this piece of paper and the letters after my own name. Many of my professors urged me to realize that there’s more to an education than just a GPA and titles. And while I do someday hope to become a person who can contribute to society with practical skills and with wisdom, I must confess I am too inexperienced and still do care about these simple tools to objectify and measure my worth.

Meanwhile, there are so many people who have added tremendous value to society without going to college. I was born and raised in rural Chiba, Japan. Three minutes from my front door, I saw endless rice farms. Those rice farmers manage to create value by sustaining the lives of themselves, their families, and millions of others in society despite not having any college degrees. We should never deride those who did not go to college. Yes. Rice farmers have more worth to society than I have today.

So, what do I know?

Through my experience in higher education, I discovered two things about myself: I know that I couldn’t have paid my own tuition. My college education was dependent upon my father, who has no college degree. Isn’t that ironic? With no higher education, he still managed to have his own business, while paying for his son’s luxurious, global education at TUJ.

I also know that I can’t be the toughest or kindest person. My college journey was heavily championed by my mother who also has no college degree. Ironic again, right? Every single day, my mother would wake up way earlier and go to bed much later than the entrepreneur father or the student speaker standing here today. Yet, without any complaints, she still performed her housework 24/7, as I enjoyed my UG holidays to Osaka and the entrepreneur played golf with his business partners. No UG holidays for her.

Shamefully, not only do I not know how to pay my own tuition, I also don’t know how to get my own act together. I don’t know how to acquire Twitter either like some billionaires out there. And, of course, I don’t know how to dance on TikTok like our dean does.

But I do know that I know nothing.

And, if this offers me the potential to pave the road to my future and drive my quest to help me grow, I am as pleased as if I had acquired Twitter or danced on TikTok.

So, today’s commencement is less to celebrate our 292,234 words of work, and more to embrace the beginning of our tireless dedication, resilience, and self-reliance to create real value for society.

And in this way, we commence.

Just as in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, we—the prisoners—are inside the cave, seeing the shadows and hearing the echoes, as if that’s the reality we face. Can we ever really escape the cave? Will I? I don’t know and perhaps never will. But I hope time affords me the opportunity to discover what I have come to really know. What matters to me the most is not who we are today, but who we may become if and when we finally do leave the cave.

And so, it is with humility and sincerity that we, Class of 2022, begin the next chapter of our quest and journey to value and meaning.

Thank you all.