The Rikkyo Institute for Global Urban Studies was founded on the Rikkyo University Ikebukuro Campus in July 2007. It currently deals with a broad range of studies relating to cities. In fact, the city itself has long been an object of interdisciplinary research in social science. The city also motivates urban research on a global scale because metropolitan life cannot avoid political, economic and socio-cultural developments and the fabric of such relationships go far beyond municipal and national boundaries.
At the inaugural ceremony in November 2007, the late Professor Emeritus Michihiro Okuda presented the commemorative lecture. He reviewed the academic trajectory of Rikkyo Sociology, including indication of the “City and the University” project initiated by the staff of the Department of Sociology. It was Professor Okuda’s pioneering research into ethnic communities that drew attention to the persistent social contribution of ‘newcomers’ from neighboring Asian countries. His lecture also examined urban and ethnic studies in American metropolises, reflecting how he had patiently worked for many years to realize his dream of the research center that focused intensively upon such urban studies. It was in 2008 that we commenced the annual publication of a scientific journal that specialized in urban studies in a global context.
The founding director for the Institute, Professor Yasushi Matsumoto, has been industrious with initiating and organizing various open seminars and study meetings. We have also commenced a regular International Symposium concerned with Asian cities bringing together urban studies specialists from Japan, China, and South Korea. The inaugural collaborative symposium was held in 2010 at Rikkyo University; subsequently, in 2011, it was convened at Tongji University, Shanghai; in 2012 it was held at the University of Seoul. We have continued this with collaborative annual workshops and in 2017 members of the Institute participated in 2017 City and Society International Forum, “Sustainable and Inclusive Development: Diverse Practices of Global Cities,” which was hosted by Tongji University, Shanghai, for their 110th Anniversary. In addition to the continuous research projects and annual workshop with these Korean and Chinese Universities, we have, since 2015, commenced a regular an international collaborative symposium with the Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University. The success of this symposium is evident in some publications and has coincided with a successful students exchange program between the Monash University Faculty of Arts and the College of Sociology, Rikkyo University.
Since the establishment of the Institute was a response to needs of contemporary society, our activities have developed to reflect ongoing social and cultural developments. The role and responsibility of the Institute has become greater as it has become a central symbol of an urban-styled University. In order to seek solutions for urban questions, we must attempt to give much needed support to highly relevant research projects.
Thank you for your assistance and cooperation.