Greetings from Director
The building housing the Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University is known as Kanematsu Memorial Hall. Constructed in 1934, this stately building in modern western style has been designated a "Registered Tangible Cultural Property" by the national government. Even in midsummer, it is pleasantly cool inside the building. During its long history, the facility has accumulated and preserved many historical materials and machines. On the shelves in the director's office, Taisho-era (1912-1926) publications stand side by side with recently published books. This is what surprised me the most on my first day as director.
Established in 1919 as the Commercial Research Institute of Kobe Higher Commercial School, the RIEB has the longest history of all social science research institutes affiliated to national universities in Japan. As a recent example of the recognition of our long history and tradition, on March 11 this year the Institute's "Business Mechanization Exhibition" was designated as a "Satellite Museum of Historical Computers" by the Information Processing Society of Japan on the grounds that it preserves 28 historically important machines acquired during and after the war, including Japan's first sorting machine for punch card systems manufactured by Kanegafuchi Jitsugyo. In the wake of this designation, we have launched a project aimed at utilizing this exhibition for the education and promotion of computational science.
The RIEB Integrated Center for Corporate Archives stores and manages massive quantities of valuable corporate historical materials, such as the Kanebo Collection and Kanematsu Collection. The Kanebo Collection contains vast amounts of internal primary sources from Kanebo, Ltd. on its entire history, from its founding in 1886 to its bankruptcy in 2002. This corporate archive is attracting attention from researchers in various fields. The Center has been implementing a project to convert these materials into digital images for online access and has already made some of the digitized materials accessible online.
The RIEB not only features unique collections of historical materials and machines, but also boasts a high level of internationality in its research. Covering the fields of international economics, international finance and international business administration, our research activities focus on economic and management issues in a globalized society. We place particular emphasis on conducting international academic activities and publishing research results in the English language. This is not a new trend for us. We have a long tradition of internationalism. In as early as 1938, our predecessors established a South America collection in the library and published the first issue of The Journal of the Kobe University of Commerce, a periodical written in English. South American studies have been carried through to the present day, branching into development economics covering a wider area, including India and Africa. The tradition of publishing journals written in English has continued ever since. In 2011, the RIEB launched The Japanese Accounting Review—the only refereed English journal on accounting published in Japan. The journal is expected to play an increasingly important role in the future in domestic and international academia.
Over the last decade, this long-established institute has experienced a rapid generational change in faculty members. The present faculty consists of a host of well-established middle- to high-ranking researchers, and an emerging group of talented young researchers who have proven track records. While developing their skills through friendly inter- and intra-generational competition, they have been carrying out many collaborative projects.
In this message, I have introduced the RIEB from a perspective different from those in former Directors' messages. The page "Former Directors" and other links shown below will help you better understand the activities of our institute.
I sincerely ask for your continued support and cooperation.
April 1, 2014
Takashi Kamihigashi, Director
RIEB (Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration)