Hitotsubashi University traces its origins back to the Commercial Training School (Shoho-Koshujo) established in the Tokyo Ginza district in 1875. Recognizing the urgency of systematic learning of corporate management, commerce, and the business environment for Japan's economy to thrive after the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Arinori Mori－Japan's first Minister of Education－and Eiichi Shibusawa－known today as the father of Japanese capitalism－established the Commercial Training School as Japan's first business school.
The Commercial Training School underwent several name changes over the years?becoming the Tokyo Commercial School in 1884, the Higher Commercial School in 1887, the Tokyo Higher Commercial School in 1902, and finally Tokyo University of Commerce in 1920, Japan's first national university. Throughout these name changes, however, commerce has always remained the focal point in the institution's name.
In 1949 after the war, the Tokyo University of Commerce underwent one last name change to Hitotsubashi University. The new university was organized around four separate schools, including our own Faculty of Commerce and Management, which has continued the legacy of education in commerce and business administration begun in the old Commercial Training School. In the years since then, Hitotsubashi University Faculty of Commerce and Management has continued to thrive as the premier commerce and business administration school not only in Japan, but also representing Japan on the global academic stage.
Hitotsubashi University Faculty of Commerce and Management is the place to go to learn about business. Those who do not really know what commerce and business administration entails may assume it simply involves methods of conducting business and sets of skills and techniques. However, at the Faculty of Commerce and Management, we not only cover business methods but also try to expose students to the thinking and philosophy behind those business methods. This exposure is further enhanced by bringing other diverse subject matter into the classroom as well to provide a fresh perspective on common problems. What appears initially to be education based solely on skills and techniques actually involves advanced cultural and theoretical dimensions, and no matter how cultural or theoretical some courses may appear, there are in fact aspects to those courses that teach highly sophisticated techniques and skills.
One key approach that we use to impart this practical learning is the seminar model of education. With a venerable history of over 100 years at Hitotsubashi University, the seminar has the advantage of close interaction between the instructor and a small group of students. While relying on the seminar at the core of the curriculum, the department also offers a systematic course of lectures to ensure a thorough coverage of pertinent business topics.
The students we welcome are not myopic pragmatists only seeking knowledge that is immediately useful. Rather, we are looking for business leaders with deep insight and passionate convictions who will steer their companies in the right direction and enrich peoples' lives both materially and spiritually. In other words, our objective is to produce genuine Captains of Industry.
We anticipate that our graduates will play active roles at the forefront of business in major global firms or go on to expand family-owned enterprises. And for those who will establish their own companies, we are proud to offer the best school and the perfect environment to obtain a thorough understanding of modern business in four years.
The Faculty of Commerce and Management has put together an educational program that not only provides students with an excellent background in business areas－business administration, accounting, marketing, financial theory－but also equips students with well-rounded cultural values that will inform critical thinking skills all through life. The curriculum revolves around two key teaching methods: lecturing and the seminar. Seminars meet once a week and are considered critically important not only in our school but in all schools at Hitotsubashi University. (For additional information about lecture courses at the Faculty of Commerce and Management, see Systematic Education Program (1): Lecture Curriculum.)
The seminar brings together a small group of students, ranging from just a few individuals to larger groups of students, who meet one-on-one with a seminar leader or instructor and receive personalized instruction and feedback; read and discuss source texts; or engage in discussion on topics related to business practice, business theory, and ethics. This instructional method has proven effective for teaching specialized knowledge and ways of thinking and for stimulating students to probe deeply into the nature of the economy and society.
This seminar model is used by all schools at the university. Specifically, all third- and fourth-year students participate in seminars over a two-year period, during which time they complete work in their areas of specialty under the direct tutelage of their seminar instructors. The effectiveness of the seminar approach is clearly apparent from the fact that, despite being a relatively small university with just four schools, Hitotsubashi University has a graduating class of about 1,000 students a year.
Among the four schools at Hitotsubashi University, the Faculty of Commerce and Management places special emphasis on seminar style education. Students enrolled in the school attend seminars in their third and fourth years like students in the other schools; however, they also participate in seminars in the first and second years. In other words, students in the school receive a thorough seminar-based education for their entire four-year tenure at Hitotsubashi University from admission to graduation.
Hitotsubashi University hosts a lot of foreign exchange students. Our school also has something of an international atmosphere and provides an excellent opportunity to meet, befriend, and study with highly motivated exchange students from other countries.
In addition to welcoming international scholars, the school has also been taking steps to prepare its Japanese students for international integration. In addition to regular foreign language course lectures, since 2012, the school has been offering a unique English education program for first-year students. The program, called Practical Applications for Communicative English, or PACE, has now been adopted by the other schools and so is available to any student at Hitotsubashi University.
The Faculty of Commerce and Management has also set up a program called English Discourse for Global Elites, or EDGE, that is available to students from the second year and beyond. These courses consist of small group classes led by foreign instructors that focus on student participation. Students can improve their oral communication skills, which have hampered Japanese speakers in the past, as well as mastering practical Business English and Academic English skills (go here for details). Students thus have ample opportunities to improve their English communication skills while enrolled at Hitotsubashi University.
One other educational initiative launched in 2013 is the Shibusawa Scholarship Program (SSP). This program involves taking lectures that are delivered in English. The main objective of having students use English in some of the specialized courses and seminars taught at the Faculty of Commerce and Management is to cultivate 21st-century global leaders (go here for details).
Finally, the Faculty of Commerce and Management and Hitotsubashi University offer excellent opportunities for our students to travel and study abroad. In fact, Hitotsubashi University is affiliated with many universities around the world.