Jan 01, 2020

New Year’s Message: “Toward the glorious 150th anniversary”

Keyword:INFORMATION

OBJECTIVE.

The following is a New Year’s message from Rikkyo University President Yangchoon Kwak.

I wish you all a Happy New Year. I sincerely hope 2020 will be a brilliant year for Rikkyo University and people associated with it. I am also praying for world peace in the year ahead.

In 2019, Japan had an imperial transition for the first time in 31 years. Also, the Rugby World Cup was held here, during which the whole nation was excited with “One Team,” the motto for Japan’s national team. It provided an opportunity to reconfirm how wonderful it is to bring together all people as one in sports or organizations.

In 2020, Tokyo will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, attracting people not only from within Japan but also around the world. With the 150th anniversary of Rikkyo University’s founding approaching four years from now, we would like to make a further leap forward this year. We would also like to educate youths who can help realize social justice and global peace in the future. Doing so will be in tandem with striving for the ideal 21st-century state of Rikkyo University, which is built on the spirit of “education based on Christian values” championed by the founder, the missionary Bishop Channing Moore Williams. The founding spirit aims to liberate humans from all forms of bondage and guide them to a place where they can freely pursue the truth. Ahead of making that leap forward, I became reminded of the phrases in the Book of Isaiah 43:18-21.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

The phrases are interpreted to indicate as follows. The “former things” and “past” are the divine salvations experienced by ancient Israel, specifically referring to the Exodus. The reason that people should forget the former things and the past is that the Lord will take on a new thing of a great scale, unparalleled by what people have ever experienced. The new thing is about to unfold, and they should look at it. The thing of a great scale is to liberate Israel from Babylon. After Israel was liberated from Babylon, people returning to their land, Jerusalem, have to pass the wasteland. How difficult it would be to travel wasteland without roads and how dangerous it would be to travel wasteland without streams might not be known if they have not done so. But it would have been very dangerous and harsh. The Lord will make a way and streams in the wasteland, so as to make it easier for people to return to their homeland safely and with peace of mind.

We are about to commence a grand undertaking to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding, a juncture which none but a few universities in Japan have experienced. The project is aimed at inscribing the university’s history and tradition to our hearts and using them as a basis for a fresh start and to take a further leap forward. It will be unexplored terrain and a new era for us. What kind of era are we starting? What kind of a university should we create? All stakeholders of Rikkyo University must be united and approach this project with their all hearts. In other words, Rikkyo University will tackle the 150th anniversary project with One Team. So 2020 will be a year that will unite all stakeholders into one.

In closing my message, I would like to wish for 2020 to be a year full of blessings for everybody.

January 1, 2020
Yangchoon Kwak, President of Rikkyo University

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