2021 Autumn Matriculation Ceremony

Update: September 2, 2021

On September 1 (Wed.), ICU welcomed over 220 new undergraduate and graduate students including those graduating from high schools abroad, international schools in Japan, and exchange students from partnership schools, at the Matriculation Ceremony held in the University Chapel.

Due to the extension of the emergency declaration, the Ceremony was held online.

The Ceremony started with a hymn and prayer by Shoko Kitanaka, Acting Director of the Religious Center. Next, Professor Heather A. Montgomery read First Corinthians 13:1-3. Then, as is the custom at ICU, the names of the new students were called one by one.

Following President Shoichiro Iwakiri's address, Representative students read out the Students Pledge, promising to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the other hand, the new students who participated online signed the "Student Pledge" on the website for new students in advance.


2021 Autumn Matriculation Address by Shoichiro Iwakiri, President


A warm welcome to all of you who are entering our College of Liberal Arts and our MA and PhD programs. At the same time, I extend my warmest regards to all your family members and friends.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, social activities and human circulation are still severely restricted, and we are obliged to hold this Ceremony entirely online. In spite of these difficulties, you have demonstrated a willingness to choose ICU as a place of learning and research and I am very happy to welcome you.

Today, many universities around the world are exploring new avenues of education in the post-corona era and experimenting with new educational systems. ICU also intends to transform itself in order to answer the questions posed in the global context while actively integrating ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). As of today, you are members of the ICU community. Let's take on the challenge of creating new things together.


In 1953, ICU was founded with the aim of "cultivating people who serve God and humanity provided with a culture worthy of international citizens, based on the spirit of Christianity." Seventy years later, the expression "international citizens" can now be replaced with the concept of the "global citizen". We live in an age where we must address various challenges, such as climate change and energy issues, from a broader global perspective that is rooted in country-to-country relations.

What kind of person is a global citizen? To me, this refers to a person who recognizes social, cultural, political and environmental problems (including disparities, unequal distribution of wealth, poverty, human rights or exploitation) within the context of global structures and who can work to resolve these problems. In addition, a global citizen is a person who demonstrates an aptitude for dialogue in a given context in order to find specific solutions. I hope that, through ICU's program of liberal arts, with its emphasis on dialogue, diversity and critical thinking, each of you will cultivate within yourselves a sense of the common good while always considering your individual activities in a broader context.

In university courses, it is the professors and the instructors, experts in their field, who are in charge. The courses you attend are not a place simply to recognize what is already known, but a place where academic knowledge is being formed. In this kind of study, your freedom is assured. In this freedom, what is important is that each of you has a vision of what you want to achieve at ICU and in your life. I believe that each one of you has your own individual dreams and passions. Please keep these burning within you, for there is love there, as we have just heard in our Bible reading. I want you to give concrete form to your dreams and passions, one that allows you to communicate them to others using the academic arts that you will learn at ICU. For it is in opening up to others through dialogue, diversity and critical thinking that your individual feelings and thoughts are crystalized. I trust that, through your studies and research at ICU and through personal contact with friends and teachers, you will come to look back on your time and experiences at ICU as the cornerstone of your life.


There is always something surprising about a new meeting. It has the power to disrupt the image of the world we have become used to. We only really begin to think when faced with things that do not fit into the framework of knowledge and reflections that reassure us. The philosopher Deleuze says: "There is something in the world which obliges you to think." According to Deleuze, this "something" refers to a "fundamental encounter." Faced with what I cannot figure out using my prior knowledge, I have no choice but to be drawn from my own body of knowledge and to think in a whole new way about what I encounter. Deleuze says that such encounters are the result of chance.
Thinking deeply about the fundamental encounter occasioned by chance is where our creation begins. I hope that your learning and research that begins today will bring new discoveries for you and for the world.

To congratulate you on the start of your student life at ICU, I would like to quote a phrase from the surrealist poet André Breton.

"The eye exists in the savage state."

May you be proud of your sensitivity and grasp the object in front of you using your own way of feeling. I hope your time at ICU will be richly blessed, full of varied experiences and encounters.

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