About KGU

A Brief History

A 70-year-old tradition of excellence in education and research

The first entrance ceremony of the Institute of Oriental Languages


Founding of the Kumamoto International Association

Ever since the Meiji restoration in 1868, Kumamoto Prefecture has actively pursued international relations. With this historical background, the Kumamoto International Association was founded in 1918, with the aim of educating capable young men who could play an active role overseas. The roots of KGU lie in this association.

Opening Ceremony of the Institute of Oriental Languages


Teachers and students built the school with their own hands.

In 1938, one year after the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, the Kumamoto Prefectural School of Chinese Language was founded by the Kumamoto International Association. Four years later in 1942, the Institute of Oriental Languages was inaugurated. The construction of the school buildings at the foot of Mount Tatsuda began in the middle of the Pacific War and on May 30th 1943 the opening ceremony was held. This day is commemorated today as KGU's foundation day.

A classroom

Oe campus in 1952


Kumamoto University of Commerce, the first University of Commerce in Kumamoto

After World War II ended, in November 1945, the Institute of Oriental Languages was renamed the Kumamoto Institute of Foreign Languages and later it became Kumamoto Junior College under Morio Takahashi, the first president of Kumamoto University of Commerce. In 1952 the campus was relocated to Oe and in 1954 Kumamoto University of Commerce was established as a four-year university.

A view from the Building No. 1 in 1966


The university grew at an unprecedented speed.

Kumamoto University of Commerce increased in size with the establishment of the Institute of Social Welfare in 1966 and the Faculty of Economics, which was established in the following year. Since 1984, the education system and the educational environment have been further improved as the Department of Management was established within the Faculty of Commerce, the Department of International Economics in the Faculty of Economics and the Graduate School was established.

News conference regarding university renaming

Campus today


The birth of KGU, the beginning of a new tradition

In 1994, the Faculty of Foreign Languages and the Faculty of Social Welfare were established, and Kumamoto University of Commerce and Kumamoto Junior College were merged and renamed Kumamoto Gakuen University. In the following years, the graduate school was further developed and new departments were established. The first Graduate School of Accountancy in Kyushu was established in 2009. As one of the leading social science universities in western Japan, KGU continues to produce highly knowledgeable and creatively-minded graduates with the skills to meet the demands of 21st century society.



1942 April Institute of Oriental Languages founded
1945 November Renamed Kumamoto Institute of Foreign Languages
1949 April Evening school opened
1950 April Kumamoto Junior College (KJC) established


1952 October Campus relocated to Oe, Kumamoto City
December 10th anniversary celebration
1954 April Kumamoto University of Commerce (KUC) established
1956 April KJC Keiai Kindergarten established
1959 April KUC High School established
Institute of Economics and Business establishedat KUC
1961 April Department of Early Childhood and Nursery Education established at KJC
Institute of Central and South American Affairs established at KUC
June 20th anniversary celebration


1964 April Department of Economics established in Faculty of Commerce
1966 April Department of Liberal Arts established at KJC
May Institute of Social Welfare established at KJC
1967 April Faculty of Economics established at KUC


1972 April Institute of Central and South American Affairs renamed Institute of Foreign Affairs
November 30th anniversary celebration


1982 July Sister-school affiliation with colleges and universities in the State of Montana (USA)
October 40th anniversary celebration
1984 April Department of Management established in Faculty of Commerce
1985 June Sister-school affiliation with Daejeon University (Korea)
1986 April Program of Graduate Studies established at KJC
1987 December Sister-school affiliation with Shenzhen University (China)
Exchange Agreement between KUC and Kumamoto University and The University of Montana and Montana State University (USA) signed
1988 April Graduate School of Commerce established at KUC
1990 April Department of International Economics established in Faculty of Economics
September Foreign Language Center opened


1992 April Graduate School of Economics established at KUC
Student Exchange Program with Liverpool John Moores University (UK) established
May 50th anniversary celebration
1993 April Graduate School of Management established at KUC
1994 April KUC and KJC merged and renamed Kumamoto Gakuen University (KGU)
April Faculty of Foreign Languages and Faculty of Social Welfare established
1995 April Credit transfer system between KGU, Kumamoto University, and Prefectural University of Kumamoto established
1998 April Graduate School of Social Welfare established
1999 April Exchange Agreement with Unitec Institute of Technology (New Zealand) and University of the Incarnate Word,San Antonio (USA) signed
July Exchange Agreement with Beijing Language and Culture University (China) signed
August Exchange Agreement with Beijing Foreign Studies University (China) and Renmin University of China signed
2000 April Department of Social Environment and Welfare established in Faculty of Social Welfare
April Exchange Agreement with Saint Mary's University (Canada) signed
November Exchange Agreement with Vietnam National University, Hanoi (Vietnam) signed
2001 April Graduate School of Area-based Cultural Studies established
November Exchange Agreement with Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) and Carleton University (Canada) signed


2002 April Credit transfer system with Okinawa International University established
May 60th anniversary celebration
May Exchange Agreement with University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (USA) signed
2003 April Exchange Agreement with La Trobe University (Australia) signed
2005 April Department of Hospitality Management established in Faculty of Commerce
April Academic Research Promotion Center opened
November Exchange Agreement with Beijing International Studies University (China) signed
2006 April Department of Legal Economics established in Faculty of Economics and Department of Child and Family Welfare in Faculty of Social Welfare
2009 April Graduate School of Social Welfare established
April Department of Life Wellness established in Faculty of Social Welfare
2010 January Exchange Agreement with Kun Shan University in Taiwan signed
2011 April Kumamoto Gakuen University Junior High School established
April Exchange Agreement with Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (New Zealand) signed