Practice Chuo’s philosophy “Knowledge into Action”

Prof. Miyashita talks about “Research Festa”



Students show their research panel at the 2016 session of Research Festa.
Students show their research panel at the 2016 session of Research Festa.

  “Research Festa”, an annual forum of research presentations by Chuo University’s Faculty of Policy Studies (FPS) students, was launched four years ago. Hiroshi Miyashita, an FPS associate professor, has been associated with the event as judge since its inauguration. Students who attend his seminar have made presentations at Research Festa for four years in a row. Hakumon Herald interviewed him to ask about what he sees as the appeal of the event.



  -What do you think is the appeal of Research Festa?


Miyashita: Research Festa is a meaningful event that makes you feel the diversity of FPS students. As a matter of fact, the themes they addressed at the last session (in December 2016) were very much diversified, ranging from “Japan’s postwar reconstruction” and “Aging society and elderly care” to “Stray cats on Tama River” and “An analysis of Islamic society”. Students who present their study results must make preparations different from the ones they do when they routinely attend seminars or write a paper. That is because they make their presentations to other students, professors and members of the community, and answer their questions. What they experience there will surely prove valuable when they go out into the world. Chuo upholds “Knowledge into Action” as its philosophy. I think Research Festa precisely embodies that idea.

宮下 リサーチ・フェスタは多様性あふれる総合政策学部を体感できる有意義なイベントです。今回も「戦後の復興」「高齢化社会と介護問題」「多摩川の野良猫」さらに「イスラーム社会の分析」など、発表内容は多岐にわたりました。発表者にとっては他の学生や教授、さらには一般参加の地域の人々を相手にプレゼンし、その人々からの質問に対応することは、いつものゼミ活動や論文執筆とは性質の違う準備が必要です。そこで得られる経験は今後社会に出てから活きてくる貴重なものになるはずです。中央大学は「行動する知性」をスローガンに掲げていますが、リサーチ・フェスタはまさにそれを体現しているのではないでしょうか。


  -Do you see any changes in the event over the past four years?



Miyashita: I feel it’s getting lively as years go on. Both presenters and visitors are increasing in number. I don’t press students of my seminar to take part in the event. But my students made presentations for four years running since its first session. It seems to me that they routinely put Research Festa into their annual schedule and work hard to get good results there. A similar phenomenon is also happening at other FPS seminars. I think many FPS students are attracted by opportunities to satisfy their intellectual curiosity and inquisitive mind. Students from all other FPS seminars may voluntarily participate in the event sooner or later.

宮下 年を追うごとに発表者も参加者も増え、賑やかになっていると感じます。私から参加を強制していませんが、実は第1回から私のゼミ生は4年連続で発表しています。ゼミ生にとって、リサーチ・フェスタは1年のスケジュールに当たり前のように組み込まれ、そこで成果を残すために研究に励んでいるようです。他のゼミでも同じような現象が起こっています。知的好奇心や探求心を満たす機会に惹かれる学生が総合政策学部には多いのでしょう。そのうち、自然に全ゼミが参加するようになるのではないでしょうか。


Mission to pass on knowledge to society


Prof. Hiroshi Miyashita speaks during an interview with Hakumon Herald.
Prof. Hiroshi Miyashita speaks during an interview with Hakumon Herald.


-Can you tell us what drives you to support Research Festa so proactively?



Miyashita: Research Festa is a good event in which students voluntarily present their research findings and try to pass on knowledge to society. While I was a student, I felt that universities provide plentiful chances to input knowledge but few chances to output and practice it. Later on, I studied at a law school abroad where I experienced lectures primarily based on an exchange of opinions. This made me feel that the university education in Japan gives students fewer chances to use the knowledge they have learned. In other words, I have been supporting Research Festa because it helps resolve that problem.

宮下 リサーチ・フェスタは学生が主体的に自身の研究を発表し、知識を社会に還元しようと試みる素晴らしいイベントです。私は学部生時代のころから、大学は知識をインプットする機会は十分にあるが、アウトプット、実践する機会が少ないと感じていました。その後、海外のロースクールで意見交流が中心の講義スタイルを体験して、やはり日本の大学教育には学んだ知識を使う機会が少ないと感じました。つまり、リサーチ・フェスタはそれを解決する一助となるイベントなので、サポートしてきました。


-Can you elaborate on the importance of knowledge output?



Miyashita: I attach importance to practice of knowledge because the university is tasked with a mission to produce persons who can bring changes to society with their knowledge. Our society sometimes yield to an unreasonable rule by “brute force” brought by “accidents” like natural disasters and by groups of people and socially accepted ideas. That is not an ideal state of society. “Knowledge” is an alternative means of rule. It can be a means to tide over cultural barriers and bring about a fair and stable society. The university has a mission to bring up persons who can help realize such society under academic freedom. So, students are required to practice knowledge and pass it on to society.

宮下 私が知識の実践を重要視するのは、大学には「知」をもって社会を変革する人材を輩出する使命があると考えているからです。自然災害などの「偶然性」や集団、社会通念が導く「暴力」によって、時に社会は理不尽な支配に屈します。これは社会の理想的な状態ではない。それを代替する支配の手段として「知性」があります。知性は文化の壁を超え、公平で安定した社会をもたらすことができる手段になります。大学には学問の自由の下、それを実現するための人材を育てる使命がある。学生にはおのずと、主体的に知を実践し、社会に還元することが求められるのです。


  -Can you give some advice to the students who take an interest in Research Festa?



Miyashita: I think four years of university is a period of self-discovery. I advise you students to focus on your interests without being bound by ready-made ideas. However, don’t forget your duty and mission to contribute to society through practice of knowledge. Let me cite the words quoted in the poster introducing my seminar. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” President John F. Kennedy gave the words in his inauguration speech. University education isn’t compulsory. You should try to practice your knowledge. Research Festa will give you a good chance to do that.

宮下 大学4年間は自由に自分探しをする時間だと思います。既成概念にとらわれず、自分の興味に純粋に向き合うといいでしょう。しかし、学生の本分であり、使命となる「知の実践」と社会還元は忘れてはいけません。私のゼミ紹介ポスターにある1つの言葉を紹介します。それは故ジョン・F・ケネディ米大統領が就任演説で述べた「国が何をしてくれるかではなく、自分は何ができるか考えよ」との言葉です。大学は義務教育ではありません。能動的に知を実践することを心がけてください。リサーチ・フェスタはいい機会になりますよ。


-Thank you very much.

(Interviewed by: Hideki Kato)