Director, Center for Social Systems Innovation
The origins of Kobe University can be traced back to 1902, when the Kobe Higher Commercial School was established as Japan’s second national institution for higher learning in commerce. In 1929, it was renamed the Kobe University of Commerce, and in 1944 became the Kobe University of Economics. In 1949, under the new educational system, it merged with other institutions to become Kobe University. It has gone from having a single social science faculty at the start to now having five (four graduate schools and one research institute), with more than 220 full-time members of the teaching staff, making this university one of Japan’s leading institutions for research in the social sciences. From the start, there has been a strong academic tradition of practical learning at Kobe University. However, as the field of research has become increasingly fragmented with the progress of research in the social sciences and the economic and social issues facing the world have become increasingly complex, society demands that researchers from various fields come together and consciously promote high-level, interdisciplinary research. As a center to put such research into practice, the Kobe University Interfaculty Initiative in the Social Sciences (IISS) was established in April 2012, where the five social science organizations have worked together to carry out a range of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary projects.
In April 2016,the IISS was reorganized and the Center for Social Systems Innovation (KUSSI) was created in order to frame this type of inquiry as comprehensive research on social systems innovation and give it even greater emphasis.The center is continuing to carry out the interdisciplinary work started under the IISS, and is working in collaboration with other research organizations within the university, including the Graduate School of Science, Technology and Innovation established in FY2016, to promote research that utilizes a social systems innovation approach and integrates the arts and sciences in order to help find solutions to social issues.
KUSSI seeks not only to produce research papers, but also to broadly disseminate the findings through symposia, research seminars, and other events, and to offer policy recommendations and implement recommendations in society in order to encourage real innovation in social systems. I would like to offer my thanks to all of you who have supported us to date, and ask for your continued support in the years to come.