New Year's message from President Yamagiwa (5 January 2017)
14 Mar 2017
I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year, and share my slogan for 2017: "Like a bird of fire".
The Chinese zodiac marks 2017 as the Year of the Rooster. This reminds me of an African fable in which a rooster, the king of the forest, is revered and feared even by the otherwise ferocious leopard. This is all because of the "flame" that the bird has burning on its head.
One day, a leopard cub and his mother come upon the rooster as it is having an afternoon nap. The youngster is curious to find out what the fire is made of. Approaching the sleeping rooster, he cautiously touches its comb, which of course turns out to lack heat entirely.
This is how the bird lost its power over other creatures and became vulnerable to predators, forcing it to flee the forest and escape into the world of humans, eventually allowing itself to become domesticated.
We can now imagine what it would be like to be a bird with a real flame burning on its head, a creature that would revel in its wildness as it explores the forest. This is how I want all of us -- students, faculty, and staff -- to be in this Year of the Rooster: wild and adventurous as well as ambitious.
I appreciate your continued support for Kyoto University as we endeavor to illuminate the world with our bright flame.
President, Kyoto University
5 January 2017