Our history

HITOTSUBASHI UNIVERSITY | producing captains of industry

Class of 2000
The Institute for Business Training

Hitotsubashi University began life as the “Institute for Business Training” in the heart of Tokyo in 1875. Its program featured an accounting course, and an English conversation course taught by an American. After the big Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed almost all of the Institute’s structures, the school moved to the Kunitachi area, just outside Tokyo, where the main campus of Hitotsubashi University is still situated today.

Hitotsubashi University is a public, national institution administered by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Many Hitotsubashi graduates are captains of industry, towering figures in Japanese business dating back to the university’s founder, Eiichi Shibusawa, an industrialist widely known as the “father of Japanese capitalism”. More recent examples are Hiroshi Okuda, former president and chairman of the Toyota Motor Corporation (1999-2006), the first president of the company not from the company’s founding family; and Hiroshi Mikitani, founder, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., Japan’s largest e-commerce site.

In 1998, the University established Hitotsubashi ICS as a global, all-English-language business school in central Tokyo, with its inaugural cohort starting in 2000. Hirotaka Takeuchi, formerly of Hitotsubashi University and currently Professor of Strategy at Harvard Business School, led the initiative and was its Founding Dean. The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony of Hitotsubashi ICS was Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School. In 2001, Hitotsubashi ICS became the proud home of the annual Porter Prize event recognizing Japanese companies that exemplify leading-edge innovative strategies.