Dean of Graduate School
As economies continue to globalize, the importance of scientific analysis of business is becoming increasingly apparent. The relative importance of former mainstream Japanese traditional management and business customs has declined, and the need for common international business practices and management styles has been rising. Given such changes, Japanese corporations and Japanese society itself must create new, more realistic and appropriate management practices. This does not mean that traditional culture and customs must be rejected. What is required is a system of management that demonstrates an international perspective, while still being grounded in Japanese society.
The Graduate School and Faculty of Commerce and Management has its origins in Shoho Koshujo (the Institute for Business Training) founded by Arinori Mori in 1875 in Owari-cho, located in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Over the past 130 years, we have served as the center of research and education for Japanese commerce and management. Shoho is business methodology, and Shoho Koshujo is the equivalent of a contemporary business school. Placing importance on tradition, while concurrently educating and developing business leaders, our most fundamental objective lies both in studying what society asks of modern Japanese corporations and demonstrating tangible results.
During the last decade of the 20th century, the Japanese economy was inevitably compelled to structurally change, and Japanese corporations that once reveled in the prosperity of the 1980s received a strong blow when the bubble economy collapsed. On the other hand, Japan’s main competitors, Western corporations and American corporations in particular, regained their strength through revolutionary advances in information technology and economic policies that saw a return to market economies. This was due to comprehensive deregulation practices that gave corporations increased freedom and bolstered their competitiveness, and as a result, innovation, a driving force of economic growth, emerged. In stark contrast, Japanese corporations of the 1990s had their hands full dealing with the negative legacy left behind by the bubble economy, and perhaps this is the real reason they were unable to pursue new advances.
In the beginning of this 21st century, evidence of a gradual recovery in the Japanese economy has been observed. The success of corporate restructuring, with the manufacturing industry taking a leading role, has allowed Japanese corporations to realize larger profits. Financial institutions have written-off bad loans for the time being and are steadily refocusing on their fundamental activities. Japanese corporations are striving both to respond to these changes in the environment and to establish new and appropriate corporate organizations. As previously stated, in order to establish a clear direction to actualize this concept, a new way of management is required.
Universities are also expected to change. The fundamental role of universities is to contribute to social progress through the dual tasks of research and education. Japanese universities, however, are prone to self-righteousness and have thus developed an ivory-tower mentality. Modern universities are charged with the task of moving in harmony with society, and in the corporate world this is called CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). The social contribution required of universities is for them to fulfill their own fundamental objective.
On this point we at Hitotsubashi University believe we have made a large contribution to society through undergraduate education because we have challenged ourselves not to become complacent. Moreover, through the establishment of an MBA program as part of our Master’s course curriculum, we provide a rich complement of graduate education which not only meets the demands of society but which is also closely linked with the real world, each year producing more than 50 successful MBA graduates. Further, in 2005 we officially began a program of education – for senior executives – that was developed in conjunction with several progressive corporations. All of these activities are directly related to business education and, combined with the enrichment of undergraduate education and graduate education geared towards the development of researchers; they form the four pillars of the Graduate School of Commerce and Management/Faculty of Commerce and Management’s program of education.
The Graduate School of Commerce and Management/Faculty of Commerce and Management in Hitotsubashi University achieves harmony and cooperation with society in many other areas as well. What has been referred to as “industry-academic collaboration” and our cooperative ties with the public sector are pertinent examples. With regards to industry-academic cooperation in particular, the basic premise of our activities is in returning the accumulated results of our research directly to society through such activities as contributory lectures and joint studies. In 2005, we held four contributory lectures and joint research projects in such fields as finance, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) management, and the tourism industry.
At the Graduate School and Faculty of Commerce and Management, we not only study business practices but also the ideology and philosophy behind them, and we continually strive to ensure that all our students understand these important principals. Our objective is not to churn out cunning profit-oriented individuals but to develop leaders that can guide the Japanese economy and corporate world through a difficult international climate. In short, we aim to cultivate Captains of Industry.