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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

A WASEDA Miscellany

Qun Jin

Living in the Present

Qun Jin
Professor, Faculty of Human Sciences

"I came to Japan earlier than all of you." I began to talk to my students several years ago, half as a joke. On November 16, 1986, I came to Japan. Time flies like an arrow. Half of my life has been spent in Japan.

As is well known, the university entrance examination system was abolished in China during the Cultural Revolution decade. It was finally returned to normal in 1977, when I graduated from high school. I luckily passed the examination to enter university out of a multitude of competitors who had been waiting during the past ten years. I was then 15, while the eldest classmate was 30. I obtained my B.S. and M.S. degrees in China and Ph.D. in Japan, in 1982, 1984 and 1992 respectively. Since April 1992, I worked for an industrial institute in the Kanto region for three years, for a national university in the Shikoku Island for four years, and for a public university in the Tohoku district for another four years. During the summer of 1997, I visited an American university in Boston as a short-term scholar. In April 2003, I came to Waseda University as a new faculty member of the reorganized School of Human Sciences.

Now I am doing research work and supervising students in the Networked Information Systems Laboratory. In our lab, in addition to Japanese students, there are foreign students from China and South Korea. In addition to young students, there are adult students who study while working. There are guest researchers from Ukraine, China and Bangladesh, and exchange researchers from Taiwan. It is a pleasant international research environment with capable members. In our research work, we seek to exploit the rich interdependence between theory and practice with interdisciplinary and integrated approaches. We take into account human and social factors in research and development of advanced information technology and systems.

I enjoy talking and discussing with students and colleagues. We can find useful hints for problem-solving and get fresh inspiration for research work from these interactive communications. It is more important for students to learn how to learn than what to learn at university. I encourage students to acquire the habit of asking questions, which can help gain a better understanding. I facilitate them to raise questions in classes and seminars. I encourage students to study with active curiosity and imagination. Just as what Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

I worked as a research associate in a Chinese university for two years before coming to Japan. On the other hand, I have been working for 20 years in Japan. For the first time, I will take a one-year sabbatical in 2012. I plan to go to Europe and China. I want to go to Europe not only for research exchange but also for my interest in history and culture. I also want to have a long stay in my homeland. I have had research cooperation and joint work with several Chinese universities. I hope I can visit more universities and places in China. I want to take this valuable opportunity to have time to reflect and rediscover. After being re-energized and fully refreshed, I will commit another 20 years of my life to teaching and research work at Waseda.

So far I have had three big chances to make a choice in my career. The first one came in 1986 when I had to select my overseas study destination between Japan and UK. In 1995, I faced a choice between working at Japanese university and American university. I had a choice for the third time in 2000 between staying on in Japan and returning to China. I made the right decisions to come to Japan and stay on in Japan. I think the same even now. Be responsible for the choice and live in the present, so that we won't have anything to regret.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep and sincere gratitude to all the people for helping me since I came to Japan.

With my students after softball game (May 2010)