Mr. Matsuyama was a very popular professor at one of Japan's larger universities. From the time students first met him, they were impressed by his dedication because of a story he related from his experiences during World War II.
During the war, Professor Matsuyama was a sub-lieutenant on a destroyer which, on his first voyage, was hit by a torpedo and sunk immediately. Matsuyama was thrown into the sea when the ship capsized. He swam with all his might to a plank which he saw floating some distance away. He saw another man swimming toward the same plank. It was his commanding officer.
It was obvious that the plank was not large enough to support two men, so Matsuyama pushed the plank toward the ranking officer and started to swim away. The other man grabbed Matsuyama,saying, "You are younger than I am. For your wife and children, and for the work you will yet be able to do, you must be saved." Then he quickly swam away, leaving Matsuyama clinging to the plank.
At the end of his story, Professor Matsuyama always praised the heroism and selflessness of the officer who saved his life.
It was obvious to the students that the professor was trying to make the best possible use of the life which was saved.