Osaka Metropolitan University's School and Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences was established in April 2022. They grew out of Osaka City University's Faculty and Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences. The following is a brief history of the university, which dates back to 1880, and these undergraduate faculty and graduate school.
The Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences was founded in 1953. The following describes the university’s history up to today as well as the prospects for its future.
The founding of Osaka City University dates back to 1880, but the predecessor to the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, the Literature Department in the Faculty of Law, was established in 1949. This department started off with 12 courses (Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Education, Art, History, Geography, Japanese Language and Literature, Chinese Language and Literature, English and American Language and Literature, German Language and Literature and French Language and Literature) and 20 teaching staff, and a second (evening) course was established the following year. The Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences was finally founded in 1953, in response to President Kyo Tsuneto’s firm belief that such a Faculty was absolutely necessary to an industrial city like Osaka. At this time, the faculty staff was largely increased to 88 members. A masters program was introduced the following year and a doctoral program the year after. It was one of the earliest schools under the new education system after WWII to develop a graduate school at exceptional speed. At the onset however, the school was not located at its current campus in Sugimotocho; instead, lecture halls were spread out through the city in areas like Minami-ku (current Chuo-ku) and Nishi-ku. The area that is now the Sugimoto Campus had been taken over by the Allied Forces and was, at the time, the US Army’s Camp Sakai.
The Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences returned to the Sugimoto Campus in 1956. It continued to expand, and in 1968, the Faculty consisted of 5 departments and 12 courses. It was equipped with a graduate school and its teaching staff surpassed those of the former imperial universities. It stood out prominently in comparison to the academic environment of Osaka, known for emphasizing the practical sciences.
After returning to a state of peace, the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences stepped forward to its next challenge in adherence to the Osaka City Comprehensive Development Plan 21, which aimed to develop the city university as a new kind of urban comprehensive university and advance academic research that would strengthen the qualities unique to Osaka. Such goals took concrete shape in the cutting-edge facilities developed in the 1990’s, such as the Media Center, which boasts the largest scale in the nation and integrates a library with information functions. The Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences further added a new building and renewed its facilities through a full-scale renovation of the entire school.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences reconstructed its academic system with a course structure comprising of 15 courses in 4 departments (15 courses in 3 departments for undergraduate programs) in 2001 in line with the policy of placing overriding priority on graduate education, and the official designation of “Graduate School/Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences” was changed to “Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences.” As part of the restructuring, an innovative and unique graduate program, Asian Culture and Urbanism, as well as new programs such as Language Informatics (currently Applied Linguistics) and Culture and Representation were established. Then, in 2002, Osaka City University was selected for the “21st Century COE Program” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) with the aim of developing research and education institutions of the highest level in the world. Since then, the university steadily made achievements as one of the best research-oriented universities in Japan.
High-tech equipment, such as an information processing lab, psychology lab, Geographic Information System (GIS) lab, comparative language and literature lab, gamelan practice room and digital sound archive, were further introduced to provide a unified education and research environment from the undergraduate to doctoral programs. The Graduate School/ Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences Organization for Educational Support and Promotion established in 2003 also provides unique activities for supporting the student education both in the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences as well as the Graduate School.
Another unique aspect of the Graduate School/ School of Literature and Human Sciences is its emphasis on international exchange. It currently has an academic and student exchange agreement with University of Hamburg (Germany), EKO-Haus der Japanischen Kultur (Germany), Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg (Germany), Dublin City University (Republic of Ireland), Jean Moulin-Lyon 3 University (France), CY Cergy Paris University (France), Université de Tours (France), Sun Yat-sen University School of Humanities (China), Guangzhou University School of Humanities (China), Ningxia University Xixia Research Institute (China), University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (UK), University of Seoul (South Korea), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (USA), Yale University (USA), and international joint research, mutual student exchanges and short-term language studies are actively implemented between these universities.
In April 2020, the Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences was reorganized into four departments and sixteen courses, and the Faculty into four departments and fifteen courses. These departments included the newly-established Department of Cultural Management. In April 2022, with the university becoming Osaka Metropolitan University, the Graduate School was reorganized into four departments and seventeen courses, and the School into four departments and fifteen courses. Throughout their history of more than half a century, these schools have been striving to foster creative and steady research, as well as providing an education that cultivates global perspectives and independence. The Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences will continue on its mission, taking pride in leading the academic culture of Osaka.