When I graduated from a municipal high school in Tokyo in 1962, I wanted to continue my studies at a university in the UK. To obtain the necessary qualification (known as the GCE A-level), at the age of 19 I travelled to the UK on my own and gained entry to public school. After obtaining my A-levels I entered and graduated from the University of Cambridge. My five years of public school and university study were a wonderful experience that I would never trade for anything else. They were the guidepost by which I charted my future life.
When I was admitted to Cambridge, the Master of the university said this to me:
“The University of Cambridge was interested in you not only because of your good grades. It was also because you had lived the life of an ordinary Japanese student until your late teenage years. So you lived as a Japanese, with a Japanese education and Japanese culture and customs as your background.”
“We felt that your decision as a person with such a cultural background to pursue your studies in the United Kingdom was a precious thing indeed.”
“We expect you to take an active role on the world stage in the future, with a backbone formed in both Japan and the UK.”
These words deeply moved me.
This British university had hopes for me, a 19-year-old youth from Japan. But the Master did not mean that he expected me to simply imitate the ways of a British person. He meant that he wanted me to study in the UK through the prism of my pride and culture as a Japanese. Throughout my life’s journey thereafter, I never forgot those words.
I believe that I was cultivated by that experience. Were it not for those many experiences along life’s way, I would not be the man I am today.
In the same way I want all of you to acquire similar experiences and make your mark on the world without losing your identity as a Japanese, becoming a leader of Japan or even the world. I founded the Tazaki Foundation because I wanted to create the opportunities you would need, as my own contribution to Japan.
I hope each one of you grows to become an outstanding leader in the future, capable of contributing to society worldwide.
You may have heard of the phrase noblesse oblige.
Noblesse oblige means that people of noble birth are tasked with certain duties appropriate to their stations. It is the moral sense at the heart of every British public school. People who are favored with the opportunity to study in such a rich environment are duty-bound to have the pride and self-awareness to return the fruits of those studies to society. That is the meaning of noblesse oblige, today as in the old days.
I hope you will all devote yourselves to diligent studies, posting sterling results in numerous fields. The challenges that lie before you span the gamut from politics and business through academia and the arts.
The ambitious among you are invited to apply enthusiastically for the support of the Foundation. I am very much looking forward to it.
With globalisation picking up speed around the world, Japan’s business and educational communities are beginning to commit serious efforts to responding to this trend.
Today the business world recognises the necessity of cultivating people with a global outlook and is moving rapidly to secure such people. In response, universities are rapidly globalising their educational approaches, research activities and systems.
In the university world, since Global 30 Project in 2009 a number of measures have been implemented, including a project to train globally minded personnel and the Tobitate Scholarship Program, a support system for people studying abroad.
In parallel with these efforts, the rise of a number of overlapping initiatives aimed at municipal high schools in Tokyo is striking. Among these are the “Boot Camp to Train the Next Generation of Leaders,” Tobitate and Super Global High School (SGH).
One approach under discussion, as a partnership between junior high school and high school education, is a revamping of the university entrance exam system, under the theme of “connecting high schools with universities.” You are all no doubt aware of the many initiatives undertaken to this point, including focus on unofficial reports, entrance exams by referral and A0 entrance exams.
In March 2016 Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) announced the addition of new university entrance qualifications, namely GCE-A levels and the International Baccalaureate.
Amid this rising tide of opportunities it is no longer unusual for high school students to enter overseas university faculties directly, without first proceeding to a Japanese university. We have reached an era in which students are free to choose between a Japanese university and an overseas university that appeals to them.
However, the cost of proceeding directly from high school to an overseas university as an undergraduate student studying abroad is quite high in comparison with fixed-term study-abroad programs between Japanese and overseas high schools.
In response to this state of affairs, the Tazaki Foundation provides comprehensive support for a five year program in which students begin at a public school in the United Kingdom and proceed to a British university. This approach is endorsed by national and public high schools in Tokyo and by MEXT.
Most programs aimed at globalisation of education in Japan are focused on the United States. Yet the UK has long boasted a high level of international competitiveness in education, backed by centuries of history and tradition. For example, Cambridge and Oxford are the only universities in the world that use the tutorial system, in which instructors and students work on a one-to-one basis.
I would like young Japanese people to grow in the future as multi-cultural individuals while holding fast to their identities as Japanese. I am convinced that an education in the UK is ideal for this purpose.
I hope that all of the parents will understand these aims and give their approval and support to the young people making this bold leap into an exciting future.
|July 1943||Born in Yokohama.|
|April 1962||Graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan Nishi High School.|
|September 1962||Commenced studying in the United Kingdom. Enrolled at Kingswood School, a public school (privately operated boarding school) in Bath, to qualify for British university entry examinations. At Kingswood, obtained A-levels in maths and physics and an S-level in advanced maths.|
|October 1964||Admitted to Downing College, University of Cambridge, to read mathematics and mathematical economics.|
|June 1967||Obtained BA(later MA) and graduated from the University of Cambridge.|
|June 1967||Joined the London Branch of Mitsubishi Corporation.|
|October 1968||Joined the London Branch of Continental Ore Corp.|
|April 1973||Joined the London Branch of Sumitomo Corporation.|
|November 1974||Established T. Tazaki & Co., Ltd. in London.
Under the aegis of T. Tazaki & Co., established numerous business operations as a pioneer in the British business world, including projects in recruitment (today’s JAC Recruitment), food services such as food importing, food wholesaling and restaurant operations (originally Tazaki Foods) and real-estate (today’s JAC Strattons).