Yokohama National University celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2009. At this important juncture, we aim to make further strides as a world-class center of practical education and research in the knowledge-based society of the 21st century.
The conditions surrounding Japan’s universities are growing increasingly harsh. The university-age population is decreasing; the overall economic situation is deteriorating; the international society is facing multi-faceted challenges; and Japan’s administrative and fiscal structures are undergoing severe belt-tightening exercises. Undaunted by this difficult environment, Yokohama National University is steadily initiating reforms and other efforts with a focus on education and research, setting concrete goals to be attained within a span of ten to twenty years.
Incorporated in 2004, Japan’s national universities are tasked to be the institutes of higher education to train leaders for the future, to contribute to the development of humankind through science and research, and to respond to the challenges of global environmental issues and the aging society. Moreover, education and research are required to become more global and efficient amid this competitive environment.
With these changes in context, Yokohama National University is further enhancing its strengths and resources to make an even greater contribution to the knowledge-based society of the 21st century. Our university has three key strengths. First is our location of Yokohama, a cosmopolitan city in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Yokohama is the birthplace of the Meiji Enlightenment (bunmei kaika), a movement during the early years of the Meiji period (1868–1912) when Japan adopted a policy of modernization and began to introduce Western civilization and internationalize. Moreover, we have the geographic advantage of having all our university faculties and graduate schools on a single campus in Yokohama that is not only spacious but is also verdant. Our second key strength is our leading-edge education and research. Several of our programs have been designated Global Centers of Excellence (COEs) by the Japanese government. Global COEs are projects handpicked to be world-class education and research centers for the nation. Our third strength is our partnerships with industry and government through the education and research activities of our teaching staff and our network of talented graduates. This network includes not only those who have graduated from the national university corporation in recent years, but also graduates of our predecessors—Kanagawa Normal School, the Kanagawa Youth Normal School, the Yokohama College of Economics and the Yokohama Institute of Technology as well as Yokohama National University (prior to corporatization) which was established in 1949 through the merger of these four institutions.
Yokohama National University is not content to rest on its laurels. Using these three key strengths and the resources we have developed, we will work to advance even further. In the area of education, we will accept as many high-level, capable, and motivated students as possible through the improvement of the entrance exam system. We will further enhance the system for our specialized and international education and research. We will promote reform of our curriculum and standardization of grading to ensure the quality of students’ learning. In these ways, we will ensure that the people who attend our degree and other programs have outstanding abilities when they complete their work at our university. In the area of research as well, we will make further improvements. As a world-class center of leading-edge research, we will expand our release of research findings and we will promote international joint research that is imbued with the unique character of Yokohama. Moreover, we will strengthen the practical alliances and partnerships we share with other educational institutions, universities and corporations in Japan and abroad, as well as the national government and the local community.
Yokohama National University is a university where all teaching and administrative staff and students share a sense of mission, the heart of which is to create knowledge and transmit it to the next generation. We are a university that sincerely endeavors to deliver what it has been tasked by the international community to provide as an institute of higher education. We are a university that aims to offer a vast amount of knowledge as a contribution from Yokohama to the world. As a university with these solid characteristics, we are committed to further developing our activities in the future.
Kunio Suzuki, Ph.D.
Yokohama National University