TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Speaker Interview #6


Ichihashi :      Good morning everybody! Today we have Ms. Kotomi Takagi for our 6th TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Speaker Interview. She is the first Japanese female factory manager in P&G. She also won a prize in JAPAN WOMEN AWARD 2016 sponsored by Forbes Japan.Thank you for being here, Ms. Takagi.
What can we expect to hear from you in the event?

Takagi :      I would like to talk about the power of Inclusion. Recently in Japan, we hear the word of diversity more and more. It is explained in a variety of context, so I would like to start with how I define Diversity, and introduce a concept of Inclusion. I also want to share some learnings on how we utilize the power of diversity and inclusion to grow our business and organization.

I :      Can you give us any advices for students?

T :     Enjoy your students life!! You would have a lot of opportunities to talk with variety of people in students’ life. Those experience will accelerate your growth and learning. From my speech, I hope my personal learning would inspire some ideas and action of young leaders.

It concludes Today’s interview. Since she has been faced with many difficulties related to gender and nationality, it’ll be interesting for most people to hear from her in the event on July 8th.
Stay tuned for further information and posts, and come to the event on July 8th!

TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Speaker Interview #3


Ichihashi (I)   Dr. Packwood (P)

I:      Good afternoon everyone! Welcome to our third TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Speaker Interview. Today, we have Dr. Packwood, Junior Associate Professor at iCeMS Kyoto University WPI Research Center. Thank you for being here, Dr. Packwood. What are you currently working on?

P:     My research involves theoretical modeling for materials science. I use mathematical techniques to find ways of making ultra-small electrical materials, such as wires with widths of several atoms, for next-generation technologies.

I:      It seems interesting. How did you become interested in your current research field?

P:     When I was a student, I studied a lot of chemistry and mathematics, and I often wondered whether mathematics could help chemists to create new compounds and materials. Later, I was encouraged to pursue this idea by several leading materials scientists in Japan.

I:      I see. What can we expect to hear from you in the TEDx event?

P:     I will discuss an ‘ideal society’ in which materials rapidly adapt to the needs of people. Problems such as poor battery lives and vehicle pollution do not persist for long in such a society. I will also explain how theoretical modeling may make such a society possible.

I:      I’m looking forward to it. Thank you for your time, Dr. Packwood.

It concludes today’s interview. Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for our next posts!

TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Speaker Interview #2


Ichihashi:  Good evening everybody, Sosuke Ichihashi here, and welcome to our second TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Interview. Today we have Dr. Gruber, Associate Professor at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research in Kyoto University. Thank you for your time, Dr. Gruber.

Gruber:   Not at all.

I:    So, can you tell us what you are currently working on?

G:   My current work touches upon a broad range of subjects which are nevertheless interlinked. One of my major projects focuses on developing a rights-based approach to cultural heritage protection in Asia. Additional ongoing projects relate to international environmental law, sustainable development, human rights, and regional security and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Another major focus is on the illicit trafficking of cultural property, forgery, and other forms of art crime, their prevention and prosecution, and the restitution of illegally exported objects. The overall aim of my work is to contribute to a more sustainable, cooperative, humane, and safer future for our region.

I:    I see. What drew you to your current research?

G:   I have always had a very strong sense of justice and from early on wanted to fight for those who could not fight for themselves. Other passions of mine are the protection of the environment and conservation of cultural heritage, both of which involve fighting for the rights of people and communities. Fighting for a clean environment means advocating for the people, while truly fighting for the people also means protecting the environment. My work always stems from a strong rights-focused perspective. My love for people, nature and culture is what ultimately guides my way.

I:    Then, what makes you think in this way?

G:   I was fortunate to meet many great people along the way who inspired me with their fight for a better world. As much as I learned from good examples, however, I learned even more from bad examples. I have seen great injustices in my life that compelled to do something about them. I always thought that if I did not do anything about it, how could I expect others to do so? The people who continue to destroy the environment and culture and take advantage of disempowered communities are usually those with far more monetary and political resources than the ones who fight to prevent such egregiousness from happening. This is why the world needs determined people to counter them. Being an academic does not mean to only write books for other academics. We must use our skills to have a positive impact on the world and truly serve society, as it is society that allows us to lead our privileged lives as academics.

I:    What can we expect to hear from you in your upcoming TEDx talk?

G:   I will talk about the interaction between cultural heritage protection and the promotion of human rights in Asia and highlight the reasons why the current approaches to heritage protection appear to be ineffective. In many cases, heritage is primarily protected for monetary or political purposes, rather than for the stakeholders. People residing in heritage places are often regarded as `disruptive elements` instead of as part of the intangible heritage and being involved in protection plans. Relatedly, relevant laws are often designed to fulfill a different agenda other than what was officially promised to achieve. My talk will underscore what is wrong with the current approach and what needs to be changed in order to empower stakeholders and ensure sustainable heritage protection in Asia for the current and future generations alike.

I:    I’m really looking forward to it! Many students are coming to the event. What advice do you have for students?

G:   The future of our society is in your hands. Don’t give up on this enormous opportunity to help shape society and contribute to making it better. With the privilege of a great education also comes responsibility. Don’t blindly follow what others tell you or take any truth for granted. Always think for yourself and ask questions. A meaningful life is built upon something more than just short-term goals.

I:    Then, what advice do you have for students on how to make the best out of their college experience?

G:   You are studying in one of the best research institutions in the world. Take advantage of this and look outside your classroom! Be engaged! Join clubs, participate in competitions, learn new skills or languages, or engage in social projects! The world is much bigger than Kyoto and Japan and it would be a mistake to not learn about it as much as possible while you still can. Your careers will increasingly be of an international nature, so make sure to be the person that the Japan of the present and future needs! The future of Japan will depend on its interactions with our neighbors in this region and the international community.

Follow your interests because your growth as a person does not necessarily happen only within the classroom but also through your interactions with your fellow students, professors, researchers and other experiences. Make sure that you take full advantage of the amazing opportunities that are presented to you during your time at Kyoto University. If you only do the bare minimum to pass your degree, you will miss out on all of this. You will need to have a broad set of skills for your future careers and be able to understand the bigger picture. If I would have focused only on my degree and followed the career path that I initially thought I would take, I would not be here today. I always looked left and right and when I saw an interesting opportunity, I took it.

I:    Now, people might get interested in your college experience. What did you do as a student in addition to fulfilling your degree requirements?

G:   I initially began studying law with the goal of becoming a legal practitioner. When I realized that I was not sufficiently intellectually challenged and satisfied, I started studying philosophy and political science in addition to my law degree. Undertaking two university degrees at the same time would of course not be suitable for everyone. However, the interdisciplinary interaction between law, politics and philosophy has since influenced my life to present day. It broadened my horizon and helped me understand how I could add more meaning to my own life by contributing to making a difference. If, as a lawyer, you only knew about the law, you would understand nothing. Similarly, if you are engaged in politics, you must have an understanding of how policies are implemented through the law. Moreover, if you did not have a multifaceted understanding of ethics, morality, and philosophy, how could you be a decent policymaker or lawyer?  So, always look beyond your own discipline in order to become the best version of yourself that you can be.

The most defining moment of my life as a student was my move from Germany to Australia.  Initially meant to be for only one year, that journey led to a whole new life in the Asia-Pacific for me. It was during this period that I really grew up as a person and realized my own potential. This is also when I took courses outside my core area and discovered my love for the environment, cultural heritage and human rights. Since then, my work and studies have taken me to many places around the world, with a particular focus on East and Southeast Asia. Hence, I strongly advise all of you to study abroad and engage with other cultures. The rewards will stay with you for your whole life.

I was also fortunate to always have mentors who believed in me and fostered my development, whether it be during my time at the University of Sydney, Harvard Law School or institutions in Asia. These mentors provided invaluable guidance and advice during my studies and career decisions and helped me get on the right path. Now I am doing my best to follow their example and do the same for my own students. If you find professors whose lives you find interesting and whose advice you cherish, talk to them!

Finally, if you are a research student, I advise you to present your research and engage with other academics at international conferences early on. In my second year as a PhD student, I presented my research at a conference in Jakarta, where I met a fellow student from Kyoto University. This contact led me to my current position at this fantastic institution several years later. Hence, always look out for opportunities and take advantage of them because you never know what they may lead to.

I:    Thank you so much for your great comments, professor Gruber, and again, thank you for joining us today.

That’s all for today’s interview. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for our next interviews!

by Sosuke Ichihashi

TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Speaker Interview#1


Sosuke Ichihashi (I)     Dr. Tomoki Aoyama (A)

I:    Good evening everybody. Sosuke Ichihashi here, and welcome to our first TEDxKyotoUniversity2017 Interview. Today we have Dr. Tomoki Aoyama. For those who do not know him, Dr. Aoyama is an expert in Rehabilitation Medicine, Orthopedics, and Regenerative Medicine. Good evening Dr. Aoyama, and thank you for being here today!

A:   The pleasure is mine.

I:    As you all know, Dr. Aoyama is working on Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Aoyama, how did you become interested in your current research field?

A:   I’m currently working on nerve regeneration by using a Bio 3D Printer. The human body, has the power of promoting self-healing, sometimes, however, something disturbs the healing process and it can’t work well. Then I had an idea that we can help the self-healing process by introducing a mechanism to go over the “wall” and got interested in “connecting” as the mechanism.

I:    That sounds interesting! I’m looking forward to hearing more about Bio 3D Printer. So Dr. Aoyama, what can we expect to hear from you in your TEDx talk?

A:   Tube structure is not only useful in the medical field, but also in our everyday life. We can add more functionalities to tubes by appending some features. In my TEDx talk, I’ll talk about nerve regeneration with tubes created by a Bio 3D Printer and its functionality.

I:    I’m certainly looking forward to it! So Dr. Aoyama, do you have any advice for students?

A:   I believe every individual, our society, and the world are trying to go in the right direction like self-healing does. And as I said before, something may disturb that process like it disturbs self-healing and cause various problems. How about we design a “Functional Tube” to solve those problems?

I:    I see. Thank you for your time Dr. Aoyama, and again, thank you for joining us today.

This concludes today’s interview, thank you for reading, and stay tuned for our next interviews!

by Sosuke Ichihashi

Application for the audience

For those who want to purchase a ticket for our event on July 8th, 2017

For students
We are going to publish the ticket application form at 10:00am on June 6th. Please go to our Facebook event page and follow the directions.
For this event, we are selling tickets in advance for ¥1,000, and tickets at the door for ¥1,500. If you wish to purchase tickets in advance, please submit the google form, and come to Yoshida campus in order to pay sometime in between June 12th to 16th during lunchtime (12:15-1:00). Further information will be provided to those who submit the application form. If you cannot make it to the ticket booth, you could either email tedxkyotouniversity2017@gmail.com , or purchase your ticket at the door.
Please also submit the application form, if you are planning on purchasing tickets at the door, so that we can make sure to save you a seat.

For non-students
As this event is oriented for our student body, advanced tickets are only available for students. If you are not a student and wish to attend the event, please also submit the application form, available starting from 10:00am on June 6th.

TEDxKyotoUniversity 2016 2nd Speaker Interview – Dr. Misuzu Asari


Fujioka :Good evening everybody, I am Aki Fujioka, and welcome to the third installment of our TEDxKyotoUniversity invterviews. Today’s speaker is also one of our professors here at Kyoto University, an expert in the fields of Environmental Education and recycling, Professor Misuzu Asari! Thank you for your time professor.

Asari    : Not at all.

F          : So can you tell us what sparked your interest in the field of waste recycling and environmental studies?

A          : Actually, when I entered Kyoto University, it never occurred to me that I would end up specializing in waste disposal and recycling. After studying about the environment at Kyoto University, I was appalled by how people would leave the lights on, and over-stuff garbage bags. I wanted to stop such actions, and make a change in how things worked. And after discussing it with my friends I founded the “Waste management association for Kyoto University”, in hopes that the Kyoto University campus becomes a starting point for students’ environmental awareness. The work of Professor Takatsuki, who became my academic supervisor, were particularly inspiring; he used manga to spread awareness of proper waste managment.

F          : Manga is extremely popular and a great way to convey your message to the public. I am really interested in your current research, what can you tell us about it?

A          : On one hand, we are investigating how household waste in Kyoto degrades. Professor Takatsuki has collected hundreds kilograms of household waste in Kyoto, and sorted them out. We are investigating what would happen such rubbish if left to degrade for 35 years. We are also investigating the disposal of poisonous materials such as mercury with everyday rubbish. On the other hand, we are also researching waste produced due to the destruction caused by natural disasters, and how to deal with it. We are also analyzing rubbish from other countries, especially in developing areas.

F          :Did you learn something from Kyoto citizens which is of benefit to your research?

A          :Yes. People say that Kyoto citizens are very sparing (laugh). Although people spend billions of yen on beautiful decorations for festivals, they tend to be quite frugal with their daily expenses and use their belongings for a long time. This kind of non-consumerist attitude is actually great for the environment, and my students and I are trying to spread this spirit to solve environmental problems.

F          : Do you think there are any changes about people’s minds to the environment?

A          : When I was born, back in the 1970s, pollution was a serious problem, and people were really concerned about it. Any by the 1980s and 90s, most of these problems were solved through by technology, and the people, who were aware of how things were in the 70s, could appreciate the change, and were aware of the effects of pollution. When I entered university, the focus shifted to global environmental problems global warming. However, despite studying about them in school, the Japanese hardly relate to those environmental problems to daily lives, and their desire to solve the problems has probably decreased.

F          : I see, spreading awareness I essential for solving current environmental problems. What can you share with us about your TEDxKyotoUniversity talk to help spread such awareness?

A          : When people throw the rubbish, they probably do not think too much of it, I’ve dealt with rubbish for years now though, and I feel people don’t put much thought into how much garbage they’re producing. In the talk, I will talk about some surprising facts about the life of the garbage you create.

F          : Any closing comments or words of advice for current of prospective environment majors?

A          : Well, we may have environment problems here in Japan under control, but that is not the case in other, particularly developing, countries. The situation there is rather urgent. Sharing our techniques with them will be extremely valuable to global environmental issues.

F          : A great closing comment! Thank you so much for being here with us today professor Asari, and I am eager to listen to your talk on October 30th. To our readers, as always, thank you for tuning in to our blog, and we hope to see you at the event. This was Aki Fujioka on the third installment of our interviews series.

8 Showpieces You Should See in the Kyoto University Museum

By Michael Mao

One of the highlights of TEDxKyotoUniversity 2016 is the night museum taking place after the talks conclude. On October 30th, the museum will be extended after hours just for TEDxKyotoUniversity attendees; this includes an exclusive tour to the underground archives of the museum.

So what’s in the museum exactly? Many students say that they’ve never been there, even though it’s located right in the middle of campus.

In the museum collections, there are more than 2.5 million objects related to the arts, sciences, and education, which Kyoto University has collected and studied for the past one hundred years.

For a university museum to have such a vast number of objects is already impressive, but the quality of them are also exquisite. Some of the valued artifacts in the museum include national treasures, important cultural assets with treasures corresponding to them, and internationally significant specimens.

There are four sections to the Kyoto University Museum: natural history, cultural history, technological history, and the special exhibition area. We’ll give you a sneak peek – we present to you two items from each section, introducing one and leaving the other for you to find them.

Interesting Showpieces

1.Termite Society (Special Exhibition)


In the special exhibition section, a real, live termite nest is awaiting your visit. By “real, live” we mean the termites are alive, moving, going about their daily business. There are several different types of termites in their society and you may recognize them with help from the instruction board.

2. Historical Maps of Kyoto City (Cultural History)


Museum staff say that some people visit the museum specifically to see this map of Kyoto, which dates back to the 1600s. As many sites and streets have kept the original name and the same geographical layout for several hundred years, you’ll be able to find many familiar places in these old maps. Can you find where Kyoto University stands today?

3.Theodolite (Technological History)


This theodolite was made in France and brought to Japan in 1890. It has two telescopes and can measure angles of two directions. It can be used for geodetic survey and mapping.

4.Chimpanzee Memory Test (Natural History)


Do you think your memory is better than a chimpanzee’s? You’ll find a chimpanzee memory test machine in the natural history section. This is a demo version of the actual test used in the world-famous Chimpanzee Ai project. Don’t be too confident, it’s hard to tell who the winner is till the last minute.

Now it’s quiz time. For answers, come visit the museum!

  1. Useful Smell


Look, he is smelling the capsule. What is the smell, and what does it have to do with bugs?

  1. Cryptic Cross-mark


A mysterious cross-mark engraved in stone. What does it mean, and what is the unfortunate story behind it?

  1. Exotic Birds

    – not from Kyoto, obviously.


These big birds always hide themselves in the gloomy rain forest. Where are they in the museum? “Shower” is an important clue.

  1. Fluid Machine


Can you guess what this twirly machine was used for? It looks like a prop from a science show, but it was actually quite useful back in the day, it seems. Find them, and see if you’re right.