The PoliTO Japan Hub celebrated its first year of activity

Today, at the Castello del Valentino, an event titled evocatively "Italy & Japan: same latitude, close parallels", celebrating the first year of activities of the PoliTO Japan Hub, began in May 2023 after months of intense preparations. The Hub was officially inaugurated in July 2023 in Kyoto, the first independent office of an Italian university in Japan, intending to create new synergies and networks for research activities and collaborations with companies and organizations involving stakeholders from the Kyoto area and Japan.

"The opening of our physical office in Kyoto represented an important step in the internationalization strategy that we aim to pursue in this mandate – noted Rector Stefano Corgnati, who initiated the event – Politecnico di Torino continues to look towards the East, particularly to Japan, where we find many common points of collaboration. On one hand, in the field of scientific and technological research, and on the other hand, in architecture and design, whose Italian excellences have always enjoyed an excellent reputation in Japan. This hub represents for us a starting point to develop collaboration initiatives with the Japanese academic, industrial, and institutional worlds in all three of our main missions".

The Japan Hub was established as an antenna of Politecnico in Japan, a strategically important country for international collaboration in the Asian region, a macro-region with which the University has established relations but still has ample room to create new ones with highly technologically advanced countries. The University boasts a solid connection in research and education with Japan, with over 25 academic agreements: joint projects and initiatives have generated numerous joint scientific results by over 80 professors, researchers, and technical-administrative staff.

From the outset, the Japan Hub's activity has been able to integrate itself into this dense network of collaborations, developing new initiatives, cooperation agreements, and projects. Among the main initiatives is the agreement with Kansai Medical University (KMU), with which an agreement was signed today to establish a joint doctoral program on bioengineering themes, involving young Italian and Japanese researchers, integrating the engineering skills of Politecnico di Torino with the medical expertise of KMU.

Collaboration with companies has also been able to grow thanks to the physical presence of a Hub in Japan. One example is the collaboration with YKK (Yoshida Kogyo KabushikiKaisha) of Kurobe, a world leader in zipper production, with 80 plants worldwide, which will cooperate together with Politecnico di Torino to make its production sites more sustainable.

A Board of 20 professors ensures that all research areas of the University's Departments are represented, promoting interdisciplinary intersection and innovative forms of scientific cooperation.

The Japan Hub, with the aim of intersecting research and industrial collaboration, also looks with attention to the upcoming Expo Osaka 2025, as a privileged place where scientific dissemination and innovation can meet a broad audience: with the evocative title "Designing Future Society for Our Lives," it intercepts many of the challenges collected from the recent editions of Biennale Tecnologia held at Politecnico.

In addition to working on frontier collaborations in technology, both in academic research and industrial innovation, the PoliTo Japan Hub also aims to be a center capable of consolidating cultural ties between Italy and Japan. This is evidenced by the participation in the event of the well-known translator from the publishing house Einaudi, Antonietta Pastore, who has worked on Italian versions of authors such as Haruki Murakami; in her speech, she reflected on the mutual influences between Italy and Japan from the 1970s to the present day.

The mission of being a scientific and cultural bridge between the two countries is evidenced by the organization for 2024 of two academic seminars. The next one, on June 21st, at the Kansai Medical University will be the event "Robotics for Humanity and Healthcare in Italy and Japan", and at the end of summer "Architectural and urban heritage from knowledge and preservation to management: cases and approaches in Italy and Japan" will be hosted by Kobe Design University.

Always intending to open dialogue to a comprehensive framework on the relations between the two countries, the intervention of Professor Giuseppe Pezzotti, Director of the PoliTo Japan Hub in Kyoto, examined elements of continuity and complementarity in the educational and research systems in Italy and Japan, drawing on his thirty years of experience as a professor at the Kyoto Institute of Technology.

"The Polytechnic University tackles comprehensively the issue of relations between the University, and Italy, with Japan – commented the scientific coordinator of the PoliTO Japan Hub, Michele BoninoThe first year of activity is very promising for the consolidation of our academic relations, but also for those with companies in the Kansai region. Furthermore, we are establishing ourselves as an institutional interlocutor in relations both with our diplomatic representations in Japan and, on the other hand, with local institutions".

The network of institutions is indeed involved in the project from the outset, as evidenced by the participation in the meeting of the Consul General of Japan in Milan, Kobayashi Toshiaki, the Vice Mayor of the City of Turin, the President of the Centro Estero Internazionalizzazione Dario Peirone, and the Responsible for Technology, Research and Innovation Area of Unione Industriali Torino, Guido Ceresole. Also, Vice-Rector for International Affairs Alberto Sapora and Professor Gianmario Pellegrino intervened, representing the Vice-Rector for Scientific-Technological Innovation.