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History of the University

Our Roots

Tekijuku's Modernism, Kaitokudo's Liberalism Handed Down to Osaka University

The academic origins of Osaka University trace back to Kaitokudo, the Edo-period school for citizens, and Tekijuku, the school of Rangaku* (founded in 1838). It is believed that the spirit of the university's humanities faculties stemmed from Kaitokudo, while that of the science faculties, including medicine, came from Tekijuku.

Kaitokudo was founded at Amagasaki, Osaka (now Imabashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka City) in 1724 by citizens. Its liberal atmosphere free from any academic schools or dogmas was welcomed and supported by Osaka merchants and contributed to upgrading the cultural and intellectual levels of Osaka, and it attracted students from all over the country as an academic center in western Japan. Although the school building was burnt down during World War II, books and other literature, about 48,000 items in all, survived the flames and were later presented to Osaka University from the Kaitokudo Commemorating Society. They are collectively stored in the university's library as "Kaitokudo Bunko".

Tekijuku was opened by Ogata Koan, a doctor and scholar of Rangaku, at Osaka's Kawaramachi towards the end of the Edo- period (It was later relocated to present-day Kitahama, Chuo-ku, Osaka City). The school produced an array of talented individuals who pioneered Japan's modern era, mainly in medicine but also in such fields as physics, science, and military science. Among the graduates from Tekijuku are Fukuzawa Yukichi, the founder of Keio University, Omura Masujiro, known for building the basis of Japan's modern military, and Takamatsu Ryoun, who contributed to the dissemination of modern medicine in Japan. Koan himself was an able medical doctor and excellent educator. His basic ideas towards human beings have been inherited by Osaka University as its mental backbone. A plan is under way at the university to reproduce the ideas of Kaitokudo and Tekijuku in digital images, store them in a database, and pass them on as a symbol of Osaka University's spirit and ideals.

*The study of Western sciences by means of the Dutch language, the only Western language the Tokugawa regime recognized during its reign.

Unique, Innovative Faculties Set Up to Serve People in Osaka
Osaka Imperial University was inaugurated as the sixth imperial university in Japan in 1931. It started with two faculties; medicine and science. The School of Engineering was added as a third faculty two years later. Osaka Imperial University changed its name to Osaka University in 1947. In 1949, as a result of the government's education system reform, Osaka University started its postwar career with five faculties: science, medicine, engineering, letters and law. Although it is a national university, Osaka University was established in response to the requests of local industrial circles and citizens. This is reflected in the many faculties that were founded through the financing of voluntary contributors.

Unique and innovative faculties, graduate schools and research institutes have been established one after another. They include the School of Engineering Science, the first of its kind in a national university, which is situated between the Schools of Engineering and Science, and the School of Human Sciences which covers psychology, sociology and education. In 1993, Osaka University Hospital was relocated from Nakanoshima in Osaka City to the Suita campus. This completed the implementation of the university's long cherished plan to integrate all major facilities into the Suita and Toyonaka campuses.
In 1953, graduate schools were set up in Japanese universities as part of the government's education system reform program. All the faculties of Osaka University, which had by then increased to ten, inaugurated graduate schools. The number of graduate schools reached 15 in 2004. They include the Graduate School of Language and Culture, the Osaka School of International Public Policy, the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences and Law School; cross-faculty and cross-institutional independent graduate schools.

Research institutes were also established in rapid succession. In addition to the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases and the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research which existed before World War II, the Institute for Protein Research, the Institute of Social and Economic Research, and the Welding Research Institute (the current Joining and Welding Research Institute) were set up, respectively separated from their parent faculties. Added to these institutes were Nationwide Joint-Use Facilities, Campus-wide Joint-Use Facilities, and the Museum of Osaka University. In total, there are 23 centers, research facilities and laboratories in operation at Osaka University today.

Foresight and Creativity
1724 Establishment of the Kaitokudo (School of General Education)
  1838   Establishment of the Tekijuku (School of Dutch Studies in the Edo Period)  
  1869   Establishment of the hospital supervised by the Ministry of Education (Presently, MEXT)  
  1880   Establishment of the Osaka Prefecture Medical School and the Osaka Prefecture Hospital  
  1896   Establishment of the Osaka Industrial School  
  1915   Establishment of the Osaka Prefecture University Hospital  
  1931   Establishment of the Osaka Imperial University  
  1949   Establishment of Osaka University (new system)  
  2004   Establishment of the National University corpration Osaka University  
  2007   Merger with Osaka University of Foreign Studies  
Successive Presidents
First President NAGAOKA Hantaro from May 1931 to Jun. 1934
  Second President KUSUMOTO Chozaburo from Jun. 1934 to Feb. 1943
  Third President MAJIMA Toshiyuki from Feb. 1943 to Feb. 1946
  Fourth President YAGI Hidetsugu from Feb. 1946 to Dec. 1946
  Fifth President IMAMURA Arao from Dec. 1946 to Dec. 1954
  Sixth President SHODA Kenjiro from Dec. 1954 to Dec. 1960
  Seventh President AKABORI Shiro from Dec. 1960 to Dec. 1966
  Eighth President OKADA Minoru from Dec. 1966 to May 1969
  Ninth President KAMAHORA Juntaro from Aug. 1969 to Aug. 1975
  Tenth President WAKATSUKI Tetsuo from Aug. 1975 to Aug. 1979
  Eleventh President YAMAMURA Yuichi from Aug. 1979 to Aug. 1985
  Twelfth President KUMAGAI Nobuaki from Aug. 1985 to Aug. 1991
  Thirteenth President KANAMORI Junjiro from Aug. 1991 to Aug. 1997
  Fourteenth President KISHIMOTO Tadamitsu from Aug. 1997 to Aug. 2003
  Fifteenth President MIYAHARA Hideo from Aug. 2003 to Aug. 2007
  Current President WASHIDA Kiyokazu from Aug. 2007 ~ present
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