Message from Our New President – June 2019

 JOCS President Kouichi ASAKURA
  When one visits Jingu Stadium to watch a baseball game of my university’s team, one can listen the school song of the rival university, which includes the phrase, “Eternal ideal without forgetting reality.” Pursuing an ideal, especially an eternal ideal, as an organization may induce its members to have motivation and dreams regarding their futures. However, if the process of pursuing an eternal ideal is removed from reality by doing perfunctory deal with present problems and missing profits by obsessing to much on the difference of direction from the ideal, as well as pushing the members to exhaustion—members may no longer feel a sense of belonging to the organization.

   My appointment as president was made in the year when the era changed from Heisei 31st to Reiwa 1th (2019), and it was recently decided at our 65th regular general meeting and 430th meeting of the board of directors. Looking at our history, we can realize that the efforts of our seniors have been wonderful, and they exactly pursued the “Eternal ideal without forgetting reality.” The best example is the changes in our journal.

   Our journal used to play the dual role of publishing research articles and providing information, and it published a mix of Japanese and English articles by the end of the last century. This type of journal is convenient for readers. However, the motivation of researchers to submit excellent manuscripts to our journal declined sharply during last two decades of the last century owing to the increasing trend of judging researchers’ achievements through their quantitative evaluation. Our society then began publishing the Journal of Oleo Science, which consists of only scientific articles, from 2001. After that, the electronic version of the journal was started, and it became a purely English journal and began receiving an impact factor since 2010. This journal established a platform for the Japan Oil Chemists’ Society to pursue an ideal and lead the field of oleo science worldwide. Moreover, our society simultaneously publishes Oleoscience (in Japanese alphabet) consisting of important information to meet the real demand of readers getting the information in this field in Japanese. As always, I look forward to your support in the year ahead.

   One feature of the Japan Oil Chemists’ Society is its diversity. However, we may recognize that there are various types of axes of diversity. Of course, the first is the axis of the research field, such as [Lipid life science ↔ Chemistry of oils and fats for food and daily necessaries ↔ Oils and fats industrial technology ↔ Detergent technology ↔ Synthesis of surfactants ↔ Interface physical science]. In addition, there are axes of diversity with the purpose of encouraging members’ participation in this society: [Presenting information ↔ Taking information] and [Individual oriented ↔ Organization oriented]. Our society, therefore, should recognize that we should meet the demand of being multi-diverse when developing new plans. Regarding our journal, we did not separate it by research fields, unlike journals of the American Oil Chemists’ Society that are distinguished into two types—oils and fats chemistry and surfactant and detergent chemistry. We are proud to propose the academic field of “oleo science” to create an environment that enhances cooperation between our diverse research fields. Nevertheless, we did separate the journal into two based on language—one consisting of only scientific English articles and the other consisting of information in this field in Japanese—to meet the demand for diversity on the axis of encouraging members’ participation in this society [Presenting information ↔ Taking information].

   I resigned from almost all the posts of committee member of our society at the time of my appointment as president. I, however, continue as the chair of two committees, one for the reform and promotion of the annual meeting and the other for the preparation of the 70th anniversary events. I am planning to challenge some programs to ensure our annual meeting becomes an active international intersection of industries and academics, by encouraging an atmosphere of openness to allow new interdisciplinary ideas as well as of austerity and fortitude to ensure the ideas are at the academic level. Specifically, we are planning to establish sections for “academic–industrial collaboration” and “selected international lectures.” We are conducting the 2nd World Congress on Oleo Science at Kushiro city in Hokkaido in 2022 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of our establishment. We would like to complete the new style of meeting by 2022 and continue using this style afterward.

   I have made up my mind to pursue the “Eternal ideal without forgetting reality,” a phrase that appeared in a school song of our rival university in conformity with the “Spirit of staunch activeness and indomitable indefatigability”, the words of my school’s founder. I thank you very much for your support.

(Professor,of Keio University)