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A society which gives each member a sense of belonging and in which people support each other

Professor Junichi Hisatsuka Faculty of Social Sciences

I really enjoyed studying when I was an elementary student, and I thought about becoming a doctor. However, the direction of my path was changed by a group of 4 men from Liverpool who caused excitement throughout the world. The Beatles activity coincided with my teens and twenties, having a great effect on my life. Even today, their music provides me with the chance to make new acquaintances. I dreamed of making that kind of music and having an aura like the Beatles. In high school, I formed a band and became absorbed in practicing the electric guitar. When I entered university and was freed from the strict school regulations of high school, I grew my hair long, put on platform shoes, and stalked the streets of town. Incidentally, even today, I still insist on dress shirts with round pinhole collars.

As such, I changed my direction in university to liberal arts, which had less testing. I majored in labor law and social security, topics which were of great interest during the movement of campus disputes. My selection of a major was not only based on an academic interest, but was also greatly influenced by the appeal of the professor. When beginning something new, it is important for an appealing person to be part of that activity and to be able to share values. Therefore, in order to create interest in social welfare as a research subject, I believe that it is important for me personally to be appealing as a researcher.

Nowadays, there is much debate regarding the social welfare issue of pensions. Are we paying money into pensions for our own future? Or are we paying to support people who require security of income? Pensions and all other fields of social welfare are built upon a connection with unknown people. Human beings cannot live alone, and human beings are wonderful creatures who can generously use their time, money, and energy for other people that they have never met.

However, in Japan today, I feel that there is an increase in the number of people who are not capable of imaging how they themselves are socially connected. This may be because our society is becoming one in which it is difficult to sense that we are living as a member of society. For example, the work style of a temporary employee makes it difficult to establish a personal identity in the workplace because there is always another temporary worker waiting to assume the same position. Furthermore, when discussing the rights and wrongs of temporary employment, today's Japan consider matters by setting corporations and temporary employees against each other.

A tall can of beer that was given to me last summer by homeless people enjoying a drinking part at the Canal Saint Martin in Paris. I treasure this can even now.

I am sure that most people think that they have no relation with homeless people. Actually, even I personally find it difficult to give a homeless person half of my lunch. However, when talking with homeless people who were on a drinking bout while I was conducting international comparison research in France, I was invited to drink together and offered a tall can of beer. These homeless people were willing to share their precious beer even with a foreigner who was just passing through. This may be a difference between French society and Japanese society.

The role of social welfare is to create a society which gives each member a sense of belonging and in which people support each other. However, it is important to change values as well as systems. For example, the concept of work sharing is slow to take hold in Japan. This is because Japanese place a high value on the act of working and are reluctant to share the opportunity of working with another person. This issue can only be resolved by changing values, not by changing the system. Universities are a place where values are reproduced. It is important for universities to increase the amount of research and education in social welfare and relating academic subjects such as philosophies of life. I hope to increase the strength of Waseda in such fields.

Professor Junichi Hisatsuka Faculty of Social Sciences

Born in Hokkaido in 1948. Graduated from the Doshisha University School of Law and entered the Kyushu University Faculty of Law. Served as Associate Professor at the University of Kitakyushu School of Law before assuming his current position. Research themes include international comparison of social security and surveying the needs of the elderly. His hobbies include music, and he is a Beatles lover.