Message from the President

Ryoichi Koda

A private university whose world-class strengths are rooted in community

The inception of Kumamoto Gakuen University can be traced back to the founding of the Kumamoto International Association in 1918.  This local organization was dedicated to the education of young people who could contribute to Japan's development by working overseas.  The founding in 1942 of the Institute of Oriental Languages, the school from which our university developed, was an extension of that project. Since then, the growth of the university has continued to be characterized by our twin commitments to community and internationalism.

As our institution has grown, our ties to the local community have remained strong. When the Institute of Oriental Languages was established, Shigeru Ishizaka, who had represented Kumamoto in Japan's Imperial Diet and would go on to serve as mayor of Kumamoto City, became its first director. Then, when we became a four-year university in 1954, Morio Takahashi, who had also served as Kumamoto City mayor, became our first president.  With such support from leading figures in the local community we have grown into a university with five faculties, twelve departments, and five graduate schools.  Many of our more than 90,000 graduates have assumed prominent positions in local businesses and government.

Our Open Research Center for Minamata Studies is yet another example of our deep connection to the local community.  The center is devoted to the promotion of interdisciplinary, community-based research on the physical and social effects of the mercury poisoning that occurred near the southern boarder of Kumamoto Prefecture.  As the only university in Japan with a research facility devoted exclusively to the study of Minamata disease, we are able to combine our commitment to contributing to our community with our commitment to international cooperation.  The entering into force of the Minamata Convention of Mercury in September of 2017 is a clear indication of the global significance of this local issue.  The international research and educational activities of the Our Open Research Center for Minamata Studies constitute a prime example of the connection we see between local community and globalism.

Educationally, we are committed to encouraging our students to experience foreign cultures and deepen their understandings of the connections between local and global communities.  To this end, we are actively seeking to strengthen and extend our ties to universities outside of Japan and to welcome students from other countries. We strive to foster the balanced growth of internationally-minded young people who can think for themselves as they learn to contribute to local and international communities.
 

Ryoichi Koda
President