Since the dawn of time, humans have created and skilfully used various tools and machines to improve the quality of their lives. The remarkable development and spread of machines, particularly since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, supported industry, prevented accidents, supplied goods to people, and prolonged lives. In response to society’s request, technologies have consistently contributed to the progress of civilization and culture. The concept of machines itself has broadened to encompass even those that work in conjunction with new information media such as networks. However, in spite of many people’s good intentions to return the value created by technology to society, difficult problems of global scale such as the depletion of natural resources and climate changes have arisen.
In the 21st century, it will not be possible for all of us to envisage our future in the same way as in the previous century. Since science and technology should have a profound impact on society, engineers have an even greater responsibility than before. On the global level, we must tackle environmental problems and resource depletion, while at the individual level, we must guarantee an affluent life, welfare, ethics and dignity. To achieve this, in the new century we must restructure our society into a sustainable system which can coexist with the earth, while ensuring a healthy, convenient, and secure life for people with diverse values. It is the mission of engineers to help improve people’s lives by creating and using new knowledge.
The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, which is a group of professional mechanical engineers and researchers who recognize the above mission and roles, strives to establish a suitable relationship between humans and mechanical systems. Japan aims to become a leader in science and technology and make significant contributions to the international society. Toward this end, we need to develop core mechanical technologies to create new values and manufacturing.
With this background, the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, in collaboration with other associations and groups, has decided to designate a national commemoration day to raise awareness of how mechanical engineering and technology can improve society and industry, as well as highlight the important role of mechanical engineers. We will use this opportunity to stimulate the younger generation’s interest in majoring in science and technology, to train the engineers of tomorrow including women, and to promote international technological and academic exchanges.
Machine has a long history, and the Tanabata Star Festival in Japan is closely related to machine. Tanabata originates from an old Chinese Star Festival called “Kikkouden,” in which people wished to be skilled craftsmen. The festival was introduced to Japan in the Nara era. The reading of the Star Festival in Japanese, “Tanabata,” is thought to originate from the Japanese word for “loom,” which was a machine used to weave clothes dedicated to gods on the Festival Day. In consideration of this origin and history, we declare August 7th, which falls one month after the old Star Festival, to be “Machine Day,” and the week from August 1st to 7th to be “Machine Week.”
The 84th President
The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers
August 7, 2006