Hitotsubashi University is a national university corporation, and is the only university in Japan to specialize exclusively in the humanities and social sciences.
The University was originally established in 1875 as a private entity called the Commercial Training School (Shoho Koshujo). It educated the businessmen who went on to become the driving force behind the modernization of Japanese society following the collapse of the feudal Tokugawa Shogunate. Ever since, Hitotsubashi has been at the forefront of Japan's economic and social progress. It has become the country's premier institution for education and research in the social sciences but has always maintained its emphasis on practical learning.
The academic organization of the University consists of four undergraduate faculties: Commerce and Management, Economics, Law, and Social Sciences. There are graduate schools in the same four fields, plus two additional programs: International Corporate Strategy and Language and Society. The University also has an Institute of Economic Research and an Institute of Innovation Research. Currently, Hitotsubashi has a teaching staff of about 670, with approximately 4,400 students enrolled in undergraduate courses and 2,000 in graduate courses. There are some 580 international students, along with about 450 researchers from abroad whom we welcome each year from around the world.
In addition to being the only Japanese university to specialize in the humanities and social sciences, Hitotsubashi also differs from other institutions in its teaching system. Hitotsubashi was the first Japanese university to adopt a seminar system. Japan's education system perhaps unavoidably emphasizes mass education, but all Hitotsubashi students are required to participate in small-group seminars. Such a system not only cultivates their individual abilities and personalities, but also provides them with the opportunity to develop close and often life-long relationships with their fellow students and teachers. The seminars also foster a high standard of study and research, and underpin the University's creative and liberal character.
Hitotsubashi is blessed with a wonderful main campus in Kunitachi, an oasis of color and peace amid the urban sprawl. Students, faculty, nearby residents and even a family of raccoons enjoy the extensive wooded areas. The main Kunitachi campus straddles the road from the station, and houses the University's central administration, professors' offices, the University Library, Kanematsu Auditorium, and numerous classrooms and faculty administration offices. The buildings, which are mostly in a Romanesque style, are well laid out and blend pleasantly with their rich, green surroundings.
The University has two more campuses. At the school's original location in central Tokyo, the Chiyoda campus houses the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy. This school offers Master's Degree programs in the fields of Financial Strategy, International Business Strategy, Business Law, and Asian Tax and Public Policy. The school's third campus in Kodaira does not currently play host to any teaching, but does boast the International Joint Research Center and the Josui Sports Plaza, and plans are underway for new facilities including co-ed dormitories for students and housing for researchers from abroad.
The University Library has approximately 1,760,000 written volumes and 16,000 periodicals in Japanese as well as in numerous other Eastern and Western languages. In terms of both the size and quality of its collections, it can claim to be one of the finest social science libraries in the world. The Center for Historical Social Science Literature holds a number of priceless collections including that of Carl Menger, a renowned book collector and author on modern economics.
Sport is an important part of campus life, and Hitotsubashi has a variety of athletic facilities and sports fields on its three campuses as well as in the surrounding area. Students can take part in numerous activities including athletics, tennis, swimming, rugby, handball, hockey, martial arts and rowing. The facilities rival those of universities that specialize in physical education, and reflect the importance that the University attaches to physical as well as mental training.
Another notable feature of the University is its involvement in international academic exchange and cooperation. Many of the University's academic staff are engaged in a variety of ways in international research organizations. Many of them also have experience of study or long-term research abroad, and this is a tradition that goes back many years in Hitotsubashi's history. There are active programs for student exchange as well, made possible by the generous support of the alumni association and private companies, as well as governmental and other organizations. Each year the University welcomes a sizable number of international students, and sends many of its undergraduate and graduate students to study at foreign universities. Hitotsubashi has bilateral agreements for exchange with 87 leading universities and research institutions, including Oxford and Harvard.
Any university must ultimately be judged on the quality of its graduates. Throughout the history of modern Japan, Hitotsubashi has provided the country with individuals who are well prepared to take on the vital task of economic development. This contrasts with the role of the former Imperial Universities, whose primary purpose was to develop the administrative structures of the state. Today, the University continues to send talented young individuals with an international outlook into Japanese business and society. These are people who will assume leadership roles and contribute widely to the economy and to society as a whole. Every year, a majority of our graduates go on to work in prestigious firms in fields such as banking, insurance, securities, industry and foreign trade.
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