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Living in ‘beauty’ matured by history

 On March 27 1902, when Japan was still quite a small country and starting to modernise, Imperial Ordinance No. 98 established Kobe Higher Commercial School. This was the year when Kobe University was established, and in the almost 120 years of its history, it has produced many outstanding graduates who have gone on to work in business, government, and politics. In 1953, as the city of Kobe, which had been heavily damaged during World War II, was beginning to regain its vitality as an international port, the university’s Graduate School of Economics was established. Since its founding, the graduate school has become one of the premier centres of economic research in Japan and has fostered many talented researchers. It is no exaggeration to say that the Faculty of Economics and the Graduate School of Economics of Kobe University has been and will continue to be a leading institute in economics education and research in Japan. When walking up the stairs from the main gate of Rokkodai campus, you can feel the deep silence of the passage of time and the rich history of the graduate school wrapped in the pale brown buildings.  

As you study economics, a question may arise: what area or activity does the word ‘economics’ refer to? The origin of the word is so old that it is found during some of the earliest stages of recorded history. The ancient Greeks had an idea of the rules (nomos) needed to conduct the activities of the household (oikos) without waste. The Greek word oikos-nomos is the etymology of the word ‘economy’. At that time there were no companies engaged in productive activities; however, if we consider oikos broadly as ‘private economic entities such as households and companies’, the meaning of the word is almost the same as how it is currently used. The ancient Greeks also gave oikos the meaning of "city-state"; therefore, it also can be referred to as managing the economy of a state (or to governing a country). Perhaps the ancient Greeks had an image of a ‘global world’ in their mind when using the word oikos, which would expand our grand vision to consider poverty and environmental problems in the world and the planet as a whole.  

 Many of you may think of economics as a relatively narrow field of study that focuses on how households achieve wealth, how companies increase their profits and what measures (e.g., financial investments and asset management techniques) are available to help them to do so. However, as the etymology of the word ‘economics’ suggests, it includes broad areas that capture numerous aspects of human activities not only conducted by households and companies, but also by nations and the entire world. Economics is a multifaceted field that covers all the aspects of an economy and is an extremely attractive field of study for students. The Faculty of Economics and the Graduate School of Economics at Kobe University are well prepared to provide you with full access to this fascinating field. Here is a brief introduction of what we offer.

 The Graduate School of Economics is home to one of the largest economics departments in Japan, with more than 50 economists working in eight major subfields of economics. The undergraduate curriculum is designed with a systematic educational approach that allows students to progress from basic to advanced studies. In addition, in 2018 the university launched a new entrance examination system in order to select and nurture individuals with high-level mathematics and English language skills, which are essential qualities for studying economics.

 One of the major characteristics of the Graduate School of Economics is that students are actively engaged in international exchange. In 2013, we launched the International Five-Year Economics Education Program at Kobe (IFEEK), which provides study abroad opportunities at partner universities where students receive specialised economics education in English. IFEEK is a highly desirable program that students can begin in their second undergraduate year and allows them to complete a master's degree in as little as five years. Graduates are employed in various fields and are highly qualified for their careers. Moreover, the Global Master Program (GMAP), wherein all lectures are conducted in English, and the EU Expert Human Resources Programmes within KUPES (Kobe University Programme for European Studies), wherein students learn about the economics and history of Europe from various perspectives, are also available. In addition, Econo-Legal Studies (ELS), which provides an in-depth interdisciplinary curriculum in economics and law, has also been developed to offer students study abroad opportunities. We are truly grateful for the generous support from Ryoso-kai – an organisation consisting of alumni from both the undergraduate and graduate school – who have made it possible to sustain such well-developed educational systems.  

 At the university, students gather and learn from our dedicated faculty members while faculty work hard day and night, and nature quietly plays its role throughout each season; the fact that these activities have been repeated for more than a century is where I found beauty in the university. In 2022, Kobe University will celebrate its 120th anniversary. I look forward to working with all of you and furthering the beauty of Kobe University.

"Kobe University Brochure 2018-2019" is available in PDF format on the University page.