The spread of mathematics and the Mathematical Society of Japan
President of MSJ
Mathematics is a science with a long history. Modern mathematics in Japan began with the introduction of Arabic numerals in the Meiji period (middle of the nineteenth century). At that time traditional Japanese mathematics, known as Wasan, was already highly developed, and the Japanese public was receptive to the new mathematics, which advanced greatly in the twentieth century. For the past sixty years, achievements of Japanese mathematical researchers have been recognized throughout the world. In particular, there are three Fields medalists, Kunihiko Kodaira, Heisuke Hironaka and Shigefumi Mori, and the first Gauss prize winner, Kiyoshi Ito. These achievements are the results of the efforts of mathematicians themselves, but also of the many people who understood the importance of mathematics.
It is sometimes hard to recognize the relationship between daily life and mathematics. But in thinking about the production and distribution of various items in common use, or about communications in our Information Age, we recognize that there are sciences which support them -and these sciences use mathematics. Mathematics began with counting and measuring as in elementary school, but modern mathematics serves as the basis of society with its rigorous logic and formalisms to cover much more general concepts. In fact, present day mathematical research has a very close relationship with society, and the diversity of modern society creates needs for the development of new mathematical theories and applications of mathematical theories.
The Mathematical Society of Japan was founded in 1877 to promote mathematical research and scholarship, to advance mathematical education in Japan and, thereby, to contribute to the development of the arts and sciences. Currently, the Society has more than 5000 individual and institutional members. The MSJ organizes various professional activities such as meetings and conferences to promote mathematical research, publishes journals and books, and hosts lectures and seminars to arouse public awareness and appreciation of mathematics. It has been making proposals to improve the research environment for mathematics and to reform mathematical education in Japan.
On behalf of the Mathematical Society of Japan, I shall strive to promote mathematical research and its dissemination, and its contributions to society. I thank very much those who have constantly supported mathematics, and ask for your continued support in the future.