Home > The History of Kobe College

The story started when a little private school was started in Kobe by two female missionaries. This small “day school” eventually developed into Kobe College. To this day, Kobe College still has the relaxed spirit and unchanged Christian philosophy upon which it was built.

1873 Eliza Talcott and Julia Dudley, two American missionaries, who were also experienced teachers, opened a private day-school in Hanakuma-mura (Hanakuma village), Kobe.
1875 “Girls’ School,” a boarding school for girls, was founded on Yamamoto Dori (Yamamoto Street), Kobe. Talcott was the first principal and Dudley, the matron.
1879 Girls’ School was renamed Kobe Girls’ School; the following year, it was established as a girls’ school with a five-year curriculum.
1885 A one-year college division was established and the school insignia, the three-leaf clover was adopted. The three symmetrical leaves represent the tripartite development of body, mind and spirit.
1891 A proper three-year high school program for women was established.
1894 Kobe Girls' School was renamed Kobe College. The Science and Music Buildings were built.
1906 The Department of Music was founded.
1909 The four-year higher education division was founded―which, by college ordinance at the time, was of the highest level at which women could study.
1919 The higher education division was renamed daigaku, or university. A one-year preparatory course and a three-year regular course were established.
1933 The campus was relocated to Okadayama, Nishinomiya city.
The Spanish mission-style buildings designed by missionary and architect Dr. Vories were completed. The current Literature Building, Science Building, Main Library, Music Building I, and Administration Building (which includes the Auditorium and Searle chapel) are among the original buildings built by Vories.
1948 Kobe College, under the new educational system, was established with a School of Letters, consisting of English, Sociology and Home Economics departments.
1949 A new Department of Music was established.
1952 The School of Music was awarded accreditation.
1965 Graduate programs in English and sociology were established.
1967 The School of Home Economics was established; it was no longer a department in the School of Letters.
1975 The 100th anniversary of the founding of the school
1976 The Department of Intercultural Studies was founded after restructuring the former Department of Sociology.
1980 Developments were made in the graduate school.
A graduate degree in Japanese cultural studies was established.
1989 A doctoral program was established in the Department of English.
1990 A post-graduate School of Music was established.
1993 The School of Home Economics was restructured as School of Human Sciences with a Department of Human Sciences.
1997 A graduate program in the School of Human Sciences was established.
1999 A doctoral program in the School of Human Sciences was established.
2000 The 125th anniversary of the founding of the school
A graduate program in musical arts was established.
The graduate program in Japanese Cultural Studies was renamed Intercultural Studies Graduate Program.
2002 A doctoral program for intercultural studies was established in the School of Letters.
2004 A graduate interpreting course was established in the Department of English.
2005 The Department of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Biosphere Sciences in the School of Human Sciences were established (restructuring the Department of Human Sciences).
2006 A dance major was established in the School of Music.
2007 Reorganization in the Department of Music:
the composition major was changed to the music creation major.
2013 The sociology graduate program in the School of Letters was terminated.

Kobe College, founded by two women missionaries, began as a small day-school

Eliza Talcott

Julia Elizabeth Dudley

Designed by an architect whose passion was to spread the gospel of Christ, the campus was created as a place for building character

The buildings of Kobe College stand on a hill, mantled in luxuriant green. The American architect who designed the buildings, Dr. William Merrell Vories (1880-1964), was a missionary who came to Japan in 1905. He built more than 1500 buildings in Japan including many mission schools.

Mrs. Makiko Vories, an educator, was a graduate of Kobe College

Kobe College Corporation ・Japan Education Exchange(KCC・JEE)

The Kobe College Corporation is an NPO based in Chicago, U.S.A., which was established in 1920 by C.B. DeForest, the fifth president of Kobe College. It has supported the development of the college in many ways, including fund-raising for construction costs.

A Public Interest Incorporated Association—the Kobe College Megumi Association

The Megumi-kai is an alumni association that has 78 branches around the world. Megumi-kai supports education and research, promotes academics and culture, and fosters international understanding. Seeking to contribute to society, it organizes lectures, concerts, and offers lessons in English and music.

Artistic structures and facilities nurture an appreciation for beauty and a richness of character

The Music Building I upon completion in 1933

Spanish mission-style structures are practical as well as attractive

Covered walkways built between buildings to allow students to stay dry in the rain