Hiroshi Niki, Dean of the Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences
Osaka City University has a long history that dates back to the Meiji era, but its history as a university begins as the Osaka University of Commerce, founded in 1928. The school was gradually expanded into a comprehensive university offering a wide range of academic departments. A graduate program was further added to the university, and it developed as a research university complete with a PhD program. Along the course of Osaka City University’s history, the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences was founded in 1953. This year, 2013, marks the 60th anniversary of the Faculty’s founding. Throughout this period, the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences has consistently striven to develop an education and research program rooted in traditional fundamental studies with the ability to further answer to the changing societal needs of the times. The dramatic development of the school began with its selection in the Ministry of Education, Culture Sports, Science and Technology’s 21st Century COE Program the year after its graduate program was enhanced in 2001. The Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences has since persistently challenged cutting-edge approaches beyond the bounds of individual academic fields, gathering together its combined efforts based on the keyword “urban culture.” Even after the end of the program, the school has made full use of the results achieved by the program and has established various research projects led by the Urban-Culture Research Center (UCRC) and has continued to maintain an education program for cultivating the global communication skills of young researchers. A great deal of effort has also been exerted in academic exchanges with various universities in Asia, Europe and the United States. In its 60th anniversary in 2013, the Graduate School/ Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences announced a renewed determination to undertake further challenges.
Japanese universities today face a highly competitive environment. They must compete with one another to procure funds by planning unique education/research projects that adhere to the university reforms promoted by the government. At the moment, it seems that what is demanded of universities today is the cultivation of individuals capable of acting on a global as well as local stage, who can take what they have researched and give back to the local society. While this kind of directionality is not mistaken, it also encompasses the danger of reducing academics into a shallow matter that pursues only the newest trends and the benefits at hand. Academic research, to begin with, was created for the happiness of humankind, and I believe its fundamental essence should remain unaltered across the ages. The Graduate School/ Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences shall thus be a place for taking interest in all forms of cultural phenomena developed by the human race, questioning its values and investigating the fundamental essence of human beings responsible for creating such cultures. I believe that it is our mission to determine what kinds of societies and cultures are necessary for human beings to live in a state of happiness.
And it is my pleasure to invite you all to join us in our journey towards this mission.