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#30 Dr. Koizumi’s Treasure Island - Practice, Fair Play and Friendship (Pre-Entry Program Speech 2023)

I think most of you survived the ferociously hot summer. However, good news is that Keio Gijuku team captured its first National High School Baseball championship in 107 years, defeating defending champion Sendai Ikuei on August 23rd, 2023 at Koshien Stadium, in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. 

We considered the victory as miraculous and even science fictional; we took it for granted that the first victory in the year of 1916 was truly exceptional, and that Keio Gijuku would never recapture the championship. However, something wonderful happened this summer at Koshien. How do you make of it?

In retrospect, this miraculous victory was already blueprinted 60 years ago by Dr. Shinzo Koizumi who served as the seventh president of Keio University from 1933 to 1948. Being a gifted athlete himself, Dr. Koizumi is well-known for the following witty remark about sports in general: “Practice makes the Impossible possible.”

I think most of you must be familiar with our founding father Yukichi Fukuzawa  sensei (1835-1901), whose book An Encouragement of Learning (1872) became a national bestseller in Meiji Japan. However, Keio Gijuku has also admired Dr. Koizumi Shinzo (1888-1966), distinguished scholar of economics and the greatest president of Keio University who reinvented the cultural heritage of Fukuzawa sensei in the 20th century by promoting the miraculous reconstruction of Japan in the postwar years. Therefore, it is safe to reinterpret his witty remark “practice makes the impossible possible” as referring not only to sportsmanship but also to the Japanese spirit of postwar reconstruction. It is true that practice makes something miraculous happen.

 Now let me introduce Dr. Koizumi in more detail.

Shinzo Koizumi was born in 1888 to Chika and Nobukichi Koizumi (1849-1894), the second president of Keio Gijuku. Shinzo graduated from the department of political science of Keio University in 1910, studied economics in England and Germany, and became the seventh president of Keio University during wartime. A prolific writer of twenty-six volumes, Dr. Koizumi played important roles in the fields of both Japanese liberalism and conservatism after the Second World War. On the academic scene, he was so deeply influenced by Fukuzawa sensei’s preoccupation with Francis Wayland’s moral economy as to translate into Japanese David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, and William Stanley Jevons’s Theory of Political Economy, contributing substantially to the introduction of classical and modern economics to Japan. He also had famous debates with Japanese Marxists on the reliability of Karl Marx’s value theory. There is no doubt that Shinzo Koizumi is an important figure in the history of Japanese economic philosophy.

However, what matters most in today’s context is that Dr. Koizumi contributed not only to the development of the humanities in Japan but also to the spirit of Keio athletics. Despite the disbanding of the Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League due to World War II, Dr. Koizumi hosted in 1943 the "last game" between Keio and Waseda as a tribute to the baseball players serving in the military. This episode was featured in Koyama Seijiro’s directed film “The Last Game: Keio vs Waseda” released in 2008 with Ishizaka Koji as Koizumi Shinzo. Thus, Dr. Koizumi was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

What is more, he served as a tutor for Prince Akihito in 1949 and helped produce the marriage between Prince Akihito and Ms. Shoda Michiko, that is, current Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita in the Reiwa era. To sum up, while Fukuzawa sensei has been called the founder of modern Japan, Dr. Koizumi could well be called the founder of postwar Japan.

Therefore, his witty remark “Practice makes the impossible possible” should be re-interpreted as a slogan for the miraculous reconstruction of postwar Japan. Of course, he originally came up with this idea in his famous lecture entitled “The Three Treasures of Sports” delivered in 1962 for celebrating the 70th anniversary of Keio Gijuku’s Athlete Association. Here he meditates upon the significance of Practice, Fair Play and Friendship as the three treasures necessary not only for sports but also for everyday life.

This summer you must have witnessed these three treasures brilliantly inherited by Keio Gijuku baseball team at Koshien.  However, I feel certain that you will unwittingly discover these treasures---Practice, Fair Play and Friendship---also at Keio Academy of New York. It is these three treasures that will enrich your experience in Purchase.

Enjoy your school life!!!