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Professor Hiroshi Hagiwara School Funeral Memorial Essay Collection

School Funeral and Memorial Service

Memorial Essays

Upon the passing of Dr. Hiroshi Hagiwara, the First Dean of The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics, a school funeral and memorial ceremony begins. On behalf of The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics, the Kyoto Computer Gakuin, and the KCG Group, I would like to express my deepest condolences.

Professor Hagiwara, a pioneer of information engineering research in Japan, became the First Dean of The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics in April 2004 when it was established as the first and only graduate school for IT professionals in Japan. We appreciate his efforts to train highly skilled professionals in the IT field. Even after retiring as Dean in 2008, he continued to support the administration of the school as an honorary dean. We, the faculties and the staff at The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics are deeply saddened by the loss of our major pillar. However, we have to move on despite the grief. We are renewing our pledge that we must make further efforts to fulfill our social mission as an educational institution and continue to contribute to society by remembering the precious teachings of Dr. Hagiwara.

Dr. Hiroshi Hagiwara was born on June 27, 1926 in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. After graduating from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University in 1950, he joined the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), and worked on research for electronic circuits, information theory, communication systems and so on at their technical research center. In 1957, he moved to the Faculty of Engineering at Kyoto University and became one of the pioneers in the field of electronic calculators (computers), which were not very well known in the society at that time. In 1958, he was involved in the development of Kyoto University's first electronic computer, the (KDC -1). With the aim of achieving stable and reliable operation using semiconductor devices such as transistors and diodes, he made significant contributions to improving the reliability of hardware, including the improvement of transistor circuits. He was also involved in the development of basic programs. In 1961, he started to develop microprogram control and asynchronous computers. This is the "KT-Pilot" that changed the history of computers in Japan. "KT-Pilot" was Japan’s first serious microprogramming method. The high-speed computer was realized by making the microprogram variable, making it possible to change the machine instruction according to the purpose, increasing the speed by asynchronous operation of the circuit, and adopting the magnetic thin film storage. This achievement was realized in the "TOSBAC -3400". This is a great device in the computer history that is preserved and displayed in the KCG Museum (at Kyoto Ekimae Ko Honkan 1st floor).

"TOSBAC -3400" was recognized by the Information Processing Society of Japan in 2009 as the first "information processing technology heritage" in Japan.

Professor Hagiwara started the development of "TOSBAC -3400" and proceeded with the research of compilers for assembler, FORTRAN, and ALGOL 60. He put his efforts into speeding up computer processing, and as a leading expert, he contributed to the development of a network of large computer centers in Japan. At the same time, he contributed to the establishment of the Center for Computing Machinery at Kyoto University and the establishment of the Department of Information Engineering, which laid the foundation for the present Graduate School of Information Science at Kyoto University. He was also appointed Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University. In addition, he served as a Director, Vice President, and President of the Information Processing Society. He was also appointed as the 16 members of the Science Council of Japan, and served as the chairman of the Information Technology Research Liaison Committee. He has written many books as a scholar and researcher. He has co-authored 22 books, including those written by his colleagues, and published 75 papers in academic journals. He has always been a leader in Japan's information-related fields.

He came to the KCG Group after retiring from Kyoto University and serving as a professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Ryukoku University. In 1995, when he established the Information Engineering Laboratory of the Kyoto Computer Gakuin, he became the head of the laboratory, and was engaged in education and research. Professor Hagiwara was particularly involved in the reform of the engineering curriculum at Rakuhoku. Using the curriculum of the Department of Information Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University as a reference, He revised the curriculum of our original 3-year Information Engineering Program at KCG. In April 1996, we decided to open a three-year computer engineering course together with our first four-year information engineering course. At that time, many engineering universities had not yet introduced such new curricula in network and language theory, online systems and multimedia theory, and specialized subjects such as pattern recognition, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and expert systems. We could offer even more abundant cutting-edge knowledge and technology through the new curriculum which incorporated specialized subjects as such, In the column of Information for Technology Laboratory in the student handbook for FY 1996, the following message was posted. "Under the supervision of the Information and Technology Laboratory, a four-year information engineering course was established, which is unparalleled in specialized training colleges. I am confident that the curriculum and teaching staff of the course will be better than those of the existing four-year information engineering courses in the universities, and that it will produce excellent students." Back in 1996, Information Engineering program in Rakuhoku Campus was affectionately called the "Hagiwara School". Then, in 2005, by the notification of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, this department was recognized as a program to grant titles for highly skilled professionals.

In addition, Dr. Hagiwara served as the first director of the Institute of Informatics when the Institute was established as a result of reorganization after the retirement of Dr. Sueo Ueno of the Institute of Informatics.

A major turning point for the KCG Group came in 2003. In April, the Professional Graduate School System came into effect, and we have begun preparations for the establishment of Japan's first and only professional graduate school "The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics" in the IT field. On November 1, 2003, at a ceremony held at the Kyoto International Conference Center to commemorate the 40 year anniversary of the establishment of Kyoto Computer Gakuin, the school declared its opening. The following year, in January 2004, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology approved the establishment of The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics. Dr. Hagiwara led the application team for the establishment of a graduate school and introduced excellent teachers among his former students and junior colleagues. As the First Dean of KCGI, he made great efforts to promote education and research activities at graduate schools in a style that was not seen in Japan until now. The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics established satellites in Sapporo and Tokyo, and the number of students has doubled since then. In the Weekly Toyo Keizai magazine published in October 2012, KCGI was listed as one of the "Japan's highest growth rate" and has been highly evaluated by the outside world. It is expected that expectations for social contributions will increase in the future. Dr. Hagiwara laid the foundation for this.

Dr. Hagiwara had a very honest and gentle personality, was highly respected, and the researchers around him admired his profound insight into the future. He also enjoyed Chinese poetry, and it was said that he started studying it while he was a student at Kyoto University. When he joined Kyoto Computer Gakuin, he was a member of the Japan-China Friendship Society for Chinese Poetry, and he taught Chinese poetry in our Kyoto Ekimae Campus as one of the general educational subjects. He explained Chinese poems from ancient times in China in detail while presenting them with their historical background. Dr. Hagiwara had a name as a poet, Guseki, and he first contributed two original Chinese poems to the fifth issue published in 1993 of the Koyukai bulletin "Accum" published by the KCG Group. Since then, he presented new Chinese poems almost every year. In Chinese poetry, especially in modern poetry, there are strict rules for composition. Dr. Hagiwara once said, It's just like computer programming. “If you line up the words according to the rules, the work will be completed by itself. I think he meant that computer linguistic theory can be applicable in writing Chinese poetry as well.

I would like to introduce his last contribution, seven years ago, to "Accum" No. 16, published in 2007.

Garden Plum Blossom
An old plum tree in front of the garden,
A few flowers bloom in a warm day.  A few flowers bloom in a warm day.
The beauty of dark oblique shadow
Feeling good to look up.  Feeling good to look up.

He also served as Vice President of the Chinese-Japanese Poetry Society of Japan. He attended a monthly Chinese poetry study meeting held at Myoshin-ji Temple, where he presented his own Chinese poems and worked very hard to correct the works of the members. He always told attendees not to interpret kanji on their own, but to refer to a Chinese-Japanese dictionary.

The entire KCGI staff was delighted at the news that he received the Order of the Sacred Treasure in April 2009. I was counting on receiving his ongoing great support, and I having difficulty accepting the fact that I can no longer see Dr. Hagiwara again. I'm heartbroken beyond words.

The fact that Professor Hagiwara taught us here is a source of eternal pride for all of our students, graduates, faculty and staff. I have made my mind that we carry his legacy for ever I believe that we should express our gratitude by making the best use of his teachings from now on.

Thank you, Dr. Hagiwara. I appreciate your hard work. Please rest in peace. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences.

CEO, Kyoto Computer Gakuin and The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics
Wataru Hasegawa

“the sixth power of two years” walked with a computer

In commemorating Dr. Hiroshi Hagiwara, I would like to share with you my personal impressions of his days as a professor at Kyoto University, especially at the Department of Mathematical Engineering.

Professor Hagiwara was the First Dean of KCGI, I became the Third Dean, after Professor Toshiharu Hasegawa, served as the Second Dean. I had a karma-like connection with Professor Hagiwara before that. After Professor Hagiwara was transferred from the Department of Mathematical Engineering at Kyoto University to the Department of Information Engineering, Professor Toshiharu Hasegawa took over the remaining course in the Department of Mathematical Engineering, and later, I took over the Hasegawa Laboratory. Since this had happened twice, I secretly considered myself as the second generation disciple of Dr. Hagiwara.

Professor Hagiwara's career was introduced earlier, but let me review his Kyoto University career once again; after being appointed to the School of Engineering's Department of Electronic Engineering in 1957, Dr. Hagiwara took a significant role in establishing the Department of Mathematical Engineering, the Center for Large-Scale Calculators, and the Department of Information Engineering. Dr. Hagiwara himself served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Engineering and the Department of Information Engineering. He retired from Kyoto University in 1990.

The first time I heard Mr. Hagiwara's lecture was when I was an electrical engineering student. I think it was "electronic circuit". This was the early 1960s, when computers were called “electronic calculator”. However, I still remember that there was no lecture subject named Electronic Calculator. At that time, he was already engaged in the research and development of computers, so I surrender with admiration to his foresight. I have the impression that his lecture was well-organized and focused. However, rather than explaining the contents to students in detail, it felt as if he was telling us to study by ourselves. Most of the lectures given by Kyoto University professors at that time were in this style. As a student at that time, I had the impression that it was difficult to approach him because he was rather quiet and formal in everything, rather than talkative.

I became acquainted with Dr. Hagiwara after I was hired as an assistant in the Department of Mathematical Engineering in 1969. I had an opportunity to talk with the him sometimes because of my work in the department. The KT pilot, the predecessor to the TOSBAC 3400 that was mentioned earlier, was almost completed by that time and was on the second floor of the building called Building 6. One time, I had the opportunity to see it and have Dr. Hagiwara explain it in person. I was told that a high-speed computer with a new mechanism using microprogramming and asynchronous circuits has a large plug board at the heart and that various instructions can be realized by changing the wiring. I didn't really understand any further details, but since then, I had realized that Dr. Hagiwara was a very kind and friendly person, and I thought that I was able to get closer to him unlike my earlier impression of his from my school days.  

I have often heard that people in the lab have been putting all their efforts into completing the KT pilot since the early 1960s. Specifically, I learned from teachers from Hagiwara Laboratory that it was a task to implement assembly languages and to create compilers for high-level languages such as FORTRAN and ALGOL. In addition to its high speed hardware, the fact that it was equipped with the most advanced software at that time is probably one of the reasons why TOSBAC 3400 succeeded commercially.

I mentioned earlier that it was in 1969, and during this period, universities were facing a major ordeal of university disputes. The radical student movement was carried out by a group called the All Campus Joint Struggle League. As the name suggests, they consisted of several sects, and some of them made quite radical assertions. Several students in the Department of Mathematics and Engineering belonged to these sects, and as a result, the whole Department of Mathematics and Engineering was severely affected by the turmoil of university disputes. I have heard that there were such students in Professor Hagiwara's course, and probably that was the reason why the students occupied his faculty room for several months. I remember seeing a large sect flag flying from the window of the professor's room. Dr. Hagiwara must have had a real hard time during this time.

Dr. Hagiwara has written many papers and books, and one of his major publications was "Computer Theory 1, 2, 3" published by Asakura Shoten. These three books were published between 1969 and 1971. He was absorbed in writing at the very moment of the university conflict I mentioned earlier. At that time, there were not many books on computers other than those written in English, so I think this book, which details the mechanism of computers in Japanese, has made him recognized as a leading authority in the field of computers. After that, he became the president of the Information Processing Society and played an active role as a leading figure in the society. I imagine that this was the starting point.  

When I talked with teachers from the Hagiwara Research Laboratory, I gradually came to understand his personable aspects. He loved to drive a car, and he drove his paprika, to attend an academic meeting in Hakone with his students, and then went around to Izu. Also, he used to stay to the very end of his laboratory parties, and enjoyed himself drinking. The fact that he was someone who took good care of his students is obvious from the fact that KCGI now has a large number of former Hagiwara lab members.

As a memorial lecture upon his retirement at Kyoto University, I remember he talked about his 30 plus years of affiliation with Kyoto University. However, I am quite sure that the title of his talk was "25 years at Kyoto University". It might have been slightly different, but it left me a strong impression that Professor Hagiwara, who was a computer authority, used the binary number for 25 instead of 30 years. It was more than 60 years since Dr. Hagiwara entered the world of computers until he passed away. So, if I use his method of calculation, it will be 26 years. During this time, Dr. Hagiwara had been working with computers and has contributed greatly to their progress. This will be remembered forever. I pray from the bottom of my heart that he may rest in peace.

February 8, 2014: President of The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics
Toshihide Ibaraki