A History of the Institute of Comparative Culture

(The Institute of Comparative Culture, established in 1981, had a forerunner in the Sophia University Socio-Economic Institute, itself established in 1963.)

In 1963, Sophia University founded the Sophia University Socio-Economic Institute (SUSEI). Its main activity was the so-called International Management Development Seminars (IMDS). The following activities took place in the 1960s:

Symposiums: ・EEC Symposium, co-sponsored by Keidanren (1963) (original papers and their translation in Japanese were published in bookform); ・Symposium on Swiss Technology and Industry, co-sponsored by the Swiss Embassy (1964) (original papers and their translation in Japanese were published in bookform); ・A 3-day seminar on EEC International Policies co-sponsored by Keizai Doyukai (1964); Belgian Industry Symposium, co-sponsored by the Belgian Office of External Trade (1965).

Since 1965, yearly, about 20 public seminars on Japanese business addressing executives in foreign firms were organized under the direction of Prof. Robert J. Ballon with the help of Profs. Hideo Inohara and Hideo Kimura. The better speeches were then published in book-form or as monographs.

In the 1970s, the following activities took place:

From 1973 to 1988, IMDS was requested to organize yearly the "Japan Portion" of the JAIMS Program (Japan-America Management Institute, funded by Fujitsu in Hawaii), namely, business briefings and industrial visits. Over those 15 years, 400 foreign students participated. In 1989, the University of Hawaii assumed responsibility for the academic program of JAIMS in Hawaii and Japan.

In 1974, SUSEI facilities were moved to the Ichigaya Campus.

In 1974 and 1975 a 6-week Summer Study in Tokyo: American and Japanese Law was organized by IMDS in cooperation with the Notre Dame (Indiana) and the Santa Clara (California) Law Schools, and opened to all U.S. Law Schools.

In the 1960s-70s, IMDS conducted close to 300 seminars attended by about 5,000 participants. It published seven books and 74 business monographs.

Finally in 1981, IMDS was incorporated in the newly established Institute of Comparative Culture as an extra-curricular activity under the direction of Prof. Ballon, in order to enhance the reputation of the fledging Faculty of Comparative Culture among the foreign community in Japan.

apple tree1980s

The Institute of Comparative Culture (ICC) was established in 1981 in order to help in the formulation of appropriate "international" programs and generate with continued intensity an adequate curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The initial members were: Maurice Bairy (director), Robert J. Ballon, Gregory Clark, Pier del Campana, Sumiko Goto, Gene Gregory, Linda Grove, Michiko Ikeda, Michio Nagai, Kinichiro Saito, Masaaki Takane.

In 1984, Prof. Pier del Campana, director of the Graduate Program, was appointed Director of ICC. Under the responsibility of Prof. Bairy, ICC started a specialized research library on comparative culture; by the late 1990s, more than 1,600 books had been acquired.

In 1987, Prof. James C. Abegglen, director of the Graduate Program, was appointed Director of ICC.

In 1988-90, two visiting scholars were sponsored (6 months each): Kurt W. Radtke (Netherlands) and Yuru Wang (China).

IMDS activities:

Until 1988, IMDS continued the yearly "Japan Portion" of JAIMS.

In 1988, IMDS was requested to assume the responsibility of the "seminar portion" of the Executive Training Programme in Japan (ETP), an 18-month program sponsored yearly by the European Community for young European business executives. (For the initial seven years, ETP 1 to ETP 7, this program had been run by the European Delegation in Tokyo.) Under contract, over the first 12 months of the each ETP program, IMDS organizes about 35 seminars and 10 industrial visits. ETP 8 and 9 had a total of 77 participants.

IMDS public seminars numbered 217 with 4,210 participants, and several seminars abroad. Three books and business monographs Nos. 75-127 (45,000 copies) were published.


From 1992 to 1999, the Institute of Comparative Culture ran yearly the Advanced Development Management Program (ADMP) at the request of the Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development (FASID) and under the initial direction of (late) Prof. Akio Kono. The purpose was to train graduate students (Japanese and foreign) at Japanese universities in applied aspects of development projects and programs. Total attendance was 211. ADMP published monographs: Nos 1-41 (total of close to 15,000 copies).

The Institute started also public lectures by prominent scholars and professionals, and provided research assistance to visiting foreign scholars.

In 1990, Prof. Akio Kono was appointed director of ICC.

Starting in 1990, Prof. Nakai organized a research group (kenkyu-kai), meeting about every six weeks, on Ogyu Sorai.

In 1992, ADMP started under the direction of Prof. Radha Sinha.

In 1993, Prof. Saadolah Ghaussy was elected Director of ICC, upon the untimely death of Akio Kono.

In 1996, Prof. Hiroya Ichikawa was elected Director of ICC. Prof. Yoshitaka Okada took over the direction of ADMP.

Starting in 1997, Prof. Grove organized a yearly two-day conference on "Asian Studies: Japan."

Between 1990 and 1997, six visiting scholars were granted financial support: Herbert Glazer (US, 4 months), Zhang Limin (China, 6 months), Karine Maranjian (Russia, 5 months), Ihor Yaschenko (Ukraine, 5 months), Minoru Tsunoda (Canada, 5 months), and Wang Yongsiang (China, 3 months).

In addition, about 40 visiting scholars were sponsored over various time periods, for various purposes (facilities, visa).

IMDS activities:

In 1997, the IMDS public seminars were discontinued. In the 1990s, 73 seminars with 1,428 participants were conducted. For the period from 1965 to 1997 (32 years), total of 558 seminars was attended by well over 10,000 participants.

IMDS organized the "seminar portion" of ETP 10 to 18 (total participants: 395).

Three books were published. In 1997, the publication of business monographs was discontinued; for the period 1960 to 1997, a total of 145 issues were published (total number of sold copies well over 100,000)

In the first two years of the 2000s, IMDS organized ETP 19 (42 participants) and ETP 20 (36 participnts), and a 10-session program for the Anglo-Japanese Daiwa Foundation (London). As the result of an international call for tender, the ETP seminar program, starting with ETP 21, was entrusted to a competing organization. IMDS published two books


Beginning in 2000 the Institute refocused its activities away from IMDS and toward promoting collaborative research projects among Institute members.

Over the decade from 2000 to 2010, the Institute has hosted more than 100 visiting scholars and over 150 lectures and international symposia. The activities of the Institute of Comparative Culture from 2000 onward can be accessed through the Research Projects, Public Events and Publications pages which you can access from HERE.

In 2002, IMDS finished its activity.

In 2002, Prof. Yoshitaka Okada was elected Director of the ICC.

In 2004, Father Robert Ballon, the leading force behind the IMDS and the ICC for decades, passed away at age 84.

In 2006 the Institute moved from the Ichigaya Campus to the Yotsuya Campus of Sophia University.

In 2008, Prof. James Farrer was elected Director of the ICC.

In 2012, Prof. David Slater was elected Director of the ICC.