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Message from the President

Located in Okinawa, a part of the Ryukyu Islands, University of the Ryukyus (Ryudai) boasts unique characteristics that no other university in Japan has. On top of the list of assets that Ryudai enjoys is its subtropical location with a beautiful natural environment both on the land and in the sea. Imagine the intriguing beauty of the forests in the northern part of Okinawa Island—the area called yambaru in the local Okinawan language—and the forests of Iriomote Island as well as the mangroves and coral reefs that are defining features of this region. These abundant natural resources guarantee you exceptional opportunities for fieldwork research and education.

The unique culture that Okinawa as an island region has developed during its history also contributes to making Ryudai attractive. At the geographical center of the Asian-Pacific region, the Ryukyu Islands have built active relationships with many neighboring foreign countries. Okinawa has been endowed with the wisdom of appreciating diversity through interactions with those people with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and this wisdom is reflected in many ways in Ryudai’s institutional practices in teaching and research.

Originally Ryudai was founded on May 22nd, 1950, shortly after World War II, on the former location of Shuri Castle. The impetus for Ryudai’s foundation was the Okinawan people’s strong passion for the establishment of an institution that can provide higher education to the Okinawan community. The goal of the university was to serve the local community as a “land-grant university,” which is a university built on land granted by the government and is intended to contribute to the development of the local communities in a variety of fields. When it launched, Ryudai was mentored by Michigan State University, a prominent land-grant university in the United States, and strived to achieve the goal: “A university deeply rooted in the region and earnestly dedicated to the region.” Ryudai’s interest in serving both the regional and global communities definitely contributes to shaping its uniqueness as an academic institution.   

This uniqueness is also a strength for Ryudai. Ryudai is comprised of seven faculties, nine graduate schools, and a university hospital, and engages in a wide variety of research ranging from basic research to the improvement of society. Reflecting the uniqueness of the region, the research findings in areas such as biodiversity, marine science, islands, longevity, and Ryukyuan-Okinawan history and culture have received international attention. We believe that original research is critically important, as it provides the robust bedrock for education through which we will develop not only the students’ skills and knowledge but also helps them prepare for future active engagement in both regional and global communities.

At Ryudai, the professors and students are very close, as it seems to reflect the Okinawan spirit of yui, which means “reciprocal connection.” The close relationship between the students who have intellectual curiosity and the professors who are trying to be responsive to the students’ enthusiasm will maximize the learning opportunities at Ryudai.

Ryudai aspires to be an institution which contributes to the “design of a rich future society hand in hand with the local communities,” based on its fundamental principles of freedom, equality, tolerance, and peace. Ryudai has three advanced goals: “the pursuit of truth,” “the contribution to global and local communities,” and “the pursuit of peace and coexistence.” Furthermore, utilizing its uniqueness as a strength, the university strives to expand its institutional role as a major research and educational center in the Asian-Pacific region.

Ryudai has developed a variety of international exchange programs with over 100 universities to ensure high-quality international education for Ryudai students. In our exchange programs, both inbound and outbound students benefit from programs provided with the financial support from alumnae and other generous donors who wish for Ryudai students’ intellectual growth through overseas educational experiences. The Ryudai graduates who had the chance to study abroad by these programs today actively contribute to not only in the local Okinawan or Japanese communities but also in global communities.

We hope that you as current and prospective Ryudai students make the most of every incredible opportunity that is available to you while you study at Ryudai and become a global citizen who is ready to contribute to society in the future. Ryudai will always be there to eagerly support you in living up to your full potential.

Mutsumi Nishida
President
University of the Ryukyus