Greetings from the KEO Director

The Keio Economic Observatory (KEO) was established in 1959 as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of Keio University, and it has a notable history as a research facility affiliated with the University.

Its English name—“Observatory”—may seem strange, but the intention was for researchers at KEO to be constantly “observing” society and for them to reach scientific conclusions from the empirical study of society. This “Spirit of Practical Science” has served as a guiding principle at the University since the time of Yukichi Fukuzawa. KEO’s founder, Keizo Fujibayashi, applied the methods of empirical science to resolve labor disputes during Japan’s period of high economic growth. Subsequently, researchers at the Observatory delved into other disciplines, such as economics, law, and behavioral science, and many outstanding researchers were created out of this process, including Takuma Terao, Teruo Minemura, Kotaro Tsujimura, and Akira Shoda. This unique method of research, where society is studied empirically, has been continued to this day.

Presently, Japan’s universities stand at an important crossroads. With an aging society, a declining birthrate, and advancing globalization, the universities face greater global competition than ever before, which will determine their very survival. I believe that based on these factors, the significance of research facilities affiliated with universities will be greatly called into question.

Going forward, these research centers must not only fulfill their traditional role of disseminating information, such as by publishing articles and books, but they must also become more international. They must, for example, open their doors to a variety of researchers and trainees, including those from foreign institutions and international students, and conduct exchanges and hold joint symposiums with research facilities abroad.

In addition to maintaining our distinct tradition, at KEO, we will continue to conduct activities that never lose sight of the modern tenets of empirical research. We look forward to your continued guidance and support in the future, as we strive to maintain our standard of excellence.

Keio Economic Observatory Director