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2006.06.12
During a flight on my recent business trip, I read a book called "A Nation's Dignity" by Masahiko Fujiwara. Mr. Masahiko Fujiwara is a mathematician and an essayist. I've known his name ever since someone recommended to me the book "The Shooting Stars are Living," an unparalleled postwar best-seller, written by his mother Tei Fujiwara. I was in a junior high school or high school then.

A few times I had read his essays that appeared on, if I remember correctly, a monthly publication, but never his books till now. Not letting the fact that it is already a best-seller affect my opinion about the book, I can say that much of what he says in the book is worth reading such as the part where he talks about what it means to be an internationally-minded person. Also noteworthy was the part where he says that the subtlety of meaning and linguistic form associated with the Japanese language is valuable even in the field of science since it helps one to grasp things comprehensively. As I am myself working in the field of scientific researches, I could not concur more with his statement.

I am reminded of a famous scientist who said, in a conference, something to the effect of, "This discovery was made because I was thinking in Japanese."

To bring up young researchers to be world-class, for them to be able to communicate research findings in English, and to know the beauty of our own language, Japanese, and learn how to use it -- there seems to be a hidden thread that connects all these, and Mr. Fujiwara's book gave me things to think about. A time well-spent on a flight, I'd say.

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