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Message from the president

Fueki Ryuko : Tradition and Reformation of the Optical Society of Japan

The University of Electro-Communications


I feel honored to write this inaugural message as the President of the Optical Society of Japan (OSJ) *. Personally this was something unexpected, because I thought I had already graduated from the "school of OSJ leadership" long time ago when I served out my term as the Vice-President who was responsible for the Annual Meeting, Optics Japan 1998, in Okayama. Anyway, having stayed away from OSJ leadership for more than a decade, I felt I needed to relearn the history and present status of the Society on this occasion.

Of great help to me for this purpose was the record of the Golden Jubilee of OSJ, which can be found on this website with the title "OSJ Now and Future.... the Expanding World of Light." It describes in detail the half-century history of the Society since its initial establishment on April 1st in 1952 as Kogaku Konwakai (literally translated as a Gathering for Friendly Discussion on Optics). As I read the report all the way through, I was touched by the great heritage of history and tradition of the Society. Meanwhile, another commemorative report, entitled "Exploring the Future of Light," describes an analysis of a survey of a large number of members and nonmembers about the activities of the Society. The survey has revealed various issues and challenges the Society faces, and clarified that the Society needs to undergo reform. I was also struck by both affirmative and critical opinions candidly expressed in this review report. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have left such a valuable record at the time of 50th anniversary.

I think that "tradition" and "change" are not necessarily conflicting concepts for OSJ. Traditions having outlived their initial purpose will inevitably require changes as a natural course of development. The changes undergone by the Society will create new traditions in the Society. Alternation of electric field and magnetic field is essential for the existence of a wave of light, so is the dynamically alternating phase of tradition and new reform for the Society. This thought has something in common with the philosophy of Japanese haiku poem, which was expressed by the short phrase fueki ryuko in the classical literature Kyoraisho. Fueki means the eternal value of tradition in the art of haiku while ryuko means continuous effort of innovation in quest of a new style of haiku. This philosophy may apply not only to the governance and management of the Society but also to the strategic planning and development of science and technology areas to be covered by the Society. While keeping the vigor and strength of the Society in the traditional areas of optical science and technology, I will encourage the society members to create new fields that have not been in the Society, and also make an effort to invite people in emerging new fields to join OSJ as the arena for their activities. Specifically, I would like to solicit the society members for their cooperation and active participation by making proposals of symposia for the Annual Meeting, Optics & Photonics Japan, and giving ideas on topics to be covered by the society journal Kogaku.

As another important task, I will take over the effort of the Immediate Past President Prof. Yatagai to change OSJ to a society that is more internationally open and that has higher visibility and accessibility from abroad. Having served until recently as a member of the board of directors of an international society for three years, I had the opportunity to observe OSJ from a far distance across the Pacific Ocean with the eyes of a member of the foreign professional society. Whichever side of the ocean or continent we may reside on, the globalization of academic activities is the course of nature because of the international nature of science and technology. Our effort to make OSJ a more internationally open and visible society is not only beneficial to ourselves, but this is also desired by many professional societies all over the world. During my tenure, I will foster and strengthen international friendship and cooperative relationship with other professional societies in Asia and worldwide. While cherishing the good tradition of Japanese culture, the Society should be internationally open and receptive to stimuli from the outside and turn them to the power of innovation. I will make a continuous effort toward the realization of the philosophy of fueki ryuko in the Society's activities and managements. I should like to ask for your cooperation and assistance as society members.

*) The Optical Society of Japan (OSJ) is an affiliate of the Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP).

(Inaugurated, April 1st, 2010)