Historically speaking, Kobe has had close connections with the countries and regions of the Americas—especially Hawaii, America, and Brazil. Since its port opened to foreign ships on January 1, 1868, Kobe, along with Yokohama and Nagasaki, has played an important role in Japan’s trade and cultural exchange with foreign countries. The opening of Kobe Port coincided with the first Japanese immigration to Hawaii: the 153 Japanese immigrants (so-called “Gannenmono”) first set foot on the soils of Hawaii in 1868 (the 1st year of the Meiji era). In addition, Kobe is well known as one of the major ports on the routes of ships carrying Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, mainland America, and Brazil from the mid-18th century until a couple of years prior to World War II. Kobe has prospered as one of the major international port cities in East Asia since the post-war period of high economic growth until today.
Located in this metropolitan city where diverse foreign cultures have harmoniously amalgamated as a result of long-lasting relations with the Americas and other regions, Kobe University has concluded partnership agreements with 31 North American universities and 8 Latin American universities for academic collaboration and student exchange (as of November 2018) .
The Office of the Americas was established to function as a “hub” for the ever-developing international network of academic exchange between Kobe University and its counterparts in the Americas, so as to realize the vison of Kobe University—“Toward an outstanding research university excelling in advanced and integrated research in the humanities and sciences.” One of our recent major initiatives is the establishment of the Honolulu Office of Kobe University (HOKU) in Hawaii in July 2016. We have collaborated with our partner universities to organize international symposia and workshops for advanced joint research, inviting outstanding researchers from universities in the Americas to the venue of HOKU. In order to expedite Kobe University’s academic exchange with counterparts in the Americas both in quality and quantity, the future endeavors of the Office of the Americas include the establishment of new offices in the mainland US and Canada, and the enhancement of our network with universities in the Americas. We ask for your continuous cooperation and support for the activities of the Office of the Americas.
Director, Office of the Americas
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