KAZUYA village near Gifu in the 19-century central Japan: Teiji, son of an accountant on a farm in this mountainous region, discovers a secret in the cupboard of his authoritarian father. It is a Samurai sword, weapon of the emperor's chosen soldiers; there is no reason for it to be in the house of an accountant. Teiji reads the words inscribed on the metal: "COURAGE IS IN THE MIND", then, hearing his father's footsteps, quickly, puts the sword back in.
"You didn't go to
school today; where have you been all day?" says Takagi Senior to
his son. "Mother took me to the temple of Buddha for the first
time; I was there all day," says Teiji. "Which prayer did you
hear there?" says the old man, with suspicion in the eyes. The
child starts reciting the prayers he had heard in the temple; he has
memorised all, something that even the head priest can't do. The courage
with which he faced his father surprises even Teiji.
Takagi is told that the department head is angry with him for not attending lectures and he should see him in his office. Head: "I find you to be non-serious and unfit to continue here; what promise can you show me?" "I have published my first paper," says Teiji, handing over a copy to the head. The paper shows a remarkably modern approach to algebra. He is chosen as one of 12 students from Japan to study abroad, where his discovery of a special case of Hilbert Zahlbericht's 12th problem makes him famous. In four years after returning from Germany, he becomes Professor in Tokyo University. His lectures are without prepared papers and rapid, so, students have to listen with great attention, as he does not repeat anything.
expression of a natural number 'a' consists of 'n' digits, while that of
a^3 consists of 'm' digits. Can n+m be equal to 2001?" he asks his
class. No hand goes up; the students are too scared to attempt this
seemingly tough problem and earn a bad reputation. From his long
briefcase, he takes out the Samurai sword and shows it to a student, who
reads the words on it and, instantly, comes up with the answer. Takagi
(to the student): "This is the sword of courage, which has been in
my family for countless generations and which, now, passes on to the
first Samurai of your family... to you." What was the student's
answer and why did Takagi give away his family secret and treasure.
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