Kyoto Computer Gakuin is Japan’s first educational institution specializing in the computer sciences. It was established 54 years ago at the dawn of the computer age in order to create a new era. We believe that education is not only teaching knowledge and techniques, but fostering creativity of the students because software development is indeed a creative work, and maintain the educational goal of fostering creative information processing engineers that can support the present age.
In foreseeing the advent of the information-oriented age, we wanted to establish a school antithetical to the manner of conventional Japanese higher education. The school we established, allowed us to pioneer the computer sciences—to offer education of information processing. Computer science was still unfamiliar to Japanese higher educational institutions at that time, so establishing Kyoto Computer Gakuin was sensational in the fields of education and industries.
In 1966, Tokyo University started the operation of the first domestic large scale computer. Throughout the 1970’s, more computers were introduced to universities, and in the latter half of the seventies, ten large Time Sharing Systems (TSS) were in operation. But they were reserved for academic research, not for use of general students. So when Kyoto Computer Gakuin introduced the first large system open to students in 1972, it was quite an exceptional case at the time. And after that, KCG became the first school among Japan’s universities and vocational schools offering TSS for the educational practice of general students in 1979.
In 1983, at the dawn of the computer era, KCG introduced 3000 special ordered computers so that each and every student could own one, which had never been realized anywhere in the world.
From the latter half of the 1980s, the wave of globalization had reached Japan. Kyoto Computer Gakuin, opened a new campus in Boston which is the heart of American academia and culture. The Boston facilities, used as an oversea training site for the International Information Processing faculty, was Japan’s first information-related school overseas.
Kyoto Computer Gakuin has been providing computer-related educational aid for overseas (bulk donation of computers and training of local instructors) since 1989. The aid was an unprecedented international project, and has promoted a groundbreaking educational revolution in each of the recipient countries. The aid has been carried out for over 20 years to 23 countries. Through the aid, over 3000 used computers from Kyoto Computer Gakuin were all given a new opportunity to be of use for computer training in developing countries. The frontier spirit that has been passed down since KCG’s founding is now put into action internationally. This aiding project was recognized and received a special award for international cooperation from the International Telecommunication Union (a specialized organization of UN) in 2006.
In 1993, Kyoto Computer Gakuin established the Art and Information Program for expanding education in sensibility computing in collaboration with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the US, that is known for its advanced multimedia art engineering. In March 1996, affiliation documents were signed, and KCG and RIT became official sister schools. The intention of this tie-up is to transfer the multimedia-rich culture of the US to KCG and to foster it locally. It was Japan’s first sister-school affiliation between a vocational school and a leading American university. Having formed this affiliation, a venture program between the IT majors at the graduate school of RIT and KCG started in February 1998, the year in which KCG foresaw the advent of the era of IT revolution. This program has attracted a lot of media attention as the first program in Japan to allow Japanese college graduates to study the first half of IT course of the graduate school of RIT at Kyoto Computer Gakuin.
The new professional graduate school system was legally established in 2003 as a part of higher education reform in Japan. The aim is to carry out the practical education and training of professionals with advanced specialized skills. As soon as the enactment passed, we applied for approval for a graduate school. Although IT professionals were demanded at the time, there were no universities or graduate schools specializing in the IT professions. The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics (KCGI) opened its courses in April 2004 as the first and the only IT-specialized professional graduate school in Japan.
Such background of our school system proves itself as the forerunner of practical IT education.
The establishment of KCGI holds a great potential for the students and graduates of Kyoto Computer Gakuin as they are given the choice to enter into KCGI to obtain a Master’s degree in information technologies, which is the highest degree in the IT application field in Japan. This new process no longer requires a degree from a four-year university in order to obtain the highest degree the IT education can offer.
The archives at Kyoto Computer Gakuin contains all the computers historically used for educational purposes at KCG, and in March 2009, the Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) certified it as a computer museum, and along with it, two of their computer systems, TOSBAC-3400 and OKITAC-4300C, certified as an "Information Processing Technology Heritage."
This accreditation system has just started in 2009. There is a “Computer Museum” on the IPSJ’s website which has the images of historical computers, but it is only record and most of the real computers no longer exist. It is only recently that experts recognized the needs for a computer museum with the real things, only to find a very dim chance of making it true. That is why they started two accreditation systems that certifies Information Processing Technology Heritage and Computer Museum by linking all the small collections of computers existing in Japan.
Most of Information Processing Technology Heritages certified by IPSJ are domestic computers, and in the first year of accreditation two computers are certified from KCG archives, and in 2010, 2011 and 2012, one computer is certified from our archives in each year. Besides them, KCG archives has world-famous, large and super large UNIVAC computers, medium-sized and large general-purpose IBM computers, minicomputers, office computers, personal computers and peripheral devices. This scale of collection has not to be seen yet anywhere else including universities or companies in Japan. IPSJ certified KCG archives as the first computer museum and has inscribed in the certificate that KCG archives is one of the rare and outstanding collections in Japan.
Computers’ models have changed extremely rapidly. Japanese universities and companies as a consumer of computers regard them as only tools, so as soon as new models appear in the market, they dispose the old models as obsolete tools. In contrast, we have always kept the used computers in the storage since KCG was established because we knew they could be historical records of computer science education held at our school. We also recognize their cultural values in every computer and stored them as cultural heritage. The result is KCG archives. The plan of the computer museum for the future has been internally examined for more than 10 years.
KCG believed the museum would be crucial in revealing the footsteps of the fast grown technologies while it vividly proves the history of KCG having pioneered the computer science education in Japan and having progressed side by side with the development of computers.
Now let us ask you what separates the view treating computers simply as tools from the view considering them as of cultural value. It must have been a very small perspective difference that divided the views into the former and the latter. But after the long period of 54 years, the former view only produced a mass of computer wastes while the latter created the base of Japan’s first computer museum to pass down the historical, cultural heritage of technology that have brought about in unprecedented speed in their evolution.
In other words, we have taken and played the role as an educational institution in the computer science and as a pillar of computer civilization. Such school would produce engineers who lead the future civilization.
There have been 40,000 alumni graduated from KCG for the past 54 years. They are now promoters or contributors for the prosperity of the information society. They lead the area of their specialty by developing software for large-scale computers, developing hardware and software for computers for personal use, creating multi-media and producing games, both in Japan and overseas. Their pioneer spirit precisely represents that the identity of KCG has passed down. We have many reports from our alumni that they become executives of Japanese software-related companies. Nowadays the latest trend we see is that they become the presidents of leading software companies or medium companies. KCG alumni are highly valued and hold high success rates.
If you are a prospective student of KCG, please be prepared to acquire firm, solid and genuine technologies and to absorb rich culture of KCG. Your choice of school could lead you to be just a technical worker or an engineer who leads the future civilization.
We trust your choice of Kyoto Computer Gakuin will be so significant as to change you and your life.