william s. clark
every japanese person know the phrase “shounen yo, taishi wo idake.” in english, “boys, be ambitious!” its a famous quote from william s. clark, a professor from amherst college who went to japan to be the first president of sapporo agricultural university in the late 1800s. he had a huge influence on the university and sapporo, and a huge influence on many of his students, many of which ended up being major leaders in the modernization of japan. anyway, japanese people see the quote as a call to ambitiously chase ones goals and dreams. a good sentiment, but when one knows the entire quote, it actually has quite a different meaning. wikipedia claims that the full quote is “boys, be ambitious for Christ!” true, clark was a strong Christian and many of his students converted to Christianity, but this still is not the full quote. here is the quote (with pictures of the Clark that are hanging in the former Hokkaido prefectural capital building as evidence):
“Boys, be ambitious. Be ambitious not for money or for selfish aggrandizement, not for that evanescent thing which men call fame. Be ambitious for that attainment of all that a man ought to be.”
whether you take it as a religious statement or not, i think it has a good message for everyone, and since a google search brings up nothing on the topic, i thought i would post it for the world.