Message from the Dean

Shoichi MIYAWAKI, Dean

The Faculty of Dentistry, Kagoshima University was founded in October 1977 in the University’s Sakuragaoka Campus, which looks out over the Sakurajima volcano that is the symbol of Kagoshima, and over the Kagoshima cityscape; the Faculty celebrated its 40th anniversary in October 2017. Kagoshima University is one of only 11 National Universities in Japan that have a dentistry faculty, and the Faculty of Dentistry has grown to play an important role in dentistry education, research and treatment within the Southern Kyushu region.

Thanks to the continued efforts by the Faculty of Dentistry to cultivate talented individuals who can support the provision of dental services in Kagoshima Prefecture’s outlying islands and remote communities, and individuals who can play an active role in the wider global community in line with the vision of “Cultivating dental professionals who will be active both locally and globally,” to date, the Faculty of Dentistry has produced over 2,000 dentists, researchers and educators. Today, the Faculty’s graduates are playing an active international role as professors both at Kagoshima University and at other universities, while other graduates are making an important contribution to local dental services by serving as officers of dentists’ associations in the Southern Kyushu region. The Faculty of Dentistry continues to embody the commitment and sense of mission that characterized its predecessors from the Satsuma domain who played such an important role in the Meiji Restoration during the 19th century. Building on the foundation provided by Kagoshima University’s progressive spirit, which emphasizes boldly facing up to difficult challenges, and adopting a basic philosophy of “ensuring that our graduates are not just dentists, but people with a wealth of common sense,” the Faculty of Dentistry was one of the first educational institutions in Japan to fully adopt the outcome-based education approach, adopting a distinctive curriculum that incorporates practical training through participation in mobile dentistry teams that visit Kagoshima Prefecture’s outlying islands, overseas training, etc. The Faculty of Dentistry also has a unique system called the Student Seminar (an elective unit which is also a research activity), whereby students undertake self-directed learning in academic fields that are of interest to them, having the opportunity to conduct in-depth learning of the latest knowledge that they might not be exposed to in their regular classes; by getting students involved in research work at any early stage, it also helps them to learn more about their own potential, and students can also undertake short-term overseas training. As regards extracurricular activity, students can participate in clubs, societies etc. on the Sakuragaoka Campus alongside students from the Faculty of Medicine, and there are also activities such as the badminton competition and Ekiden relay race in which both students and faculty members participate, giving students an opportunity to develop a closer relationship with their instructors. Through this type of event, which is unique to the Faculty of Dentistry at Kagoshima University, students can develop friendly ties with faculty members—including professors—outside of class, while also providing good opportunities for students to develop their humanitarianism, ethical outlook and other fundamental capabilities.

The Faculty of Dentistry has also accumulated some impressive achievements in the area of research. The Faculty is currently undertaking fundamental, cutting-edge research in areas such as the relationship between the mouth and the body as a whole, and oral and maxillofacial regenerative medicine; in these and other areas, the Faculty’s research achievements have won a high international reputation. On the diagnosis and treatment side, the Faculty is one of Japan’s leading providers of advanced dental treatment, including comprehensive treatment for congenital problems such as cleft lips and cleft palates, oral care for disabled children and adults involving collaboration between different specialists, early discovery and treatment of oral cancer and functional repair, oral implants, gum regeneration treatment, orthodontic anchor screws, etc.; the Faculty of Dentistry also serves as a training facility for certified physicians and specialist physicians in many fields. The Faculty is also working to strengthen collaboration between doctors and dentists, for example in relation to the adoption of a minimal intervention approach to tooth preservation and dentures, and promoting collaboration between different specialties and adoption of perioperative oral function management, etc. in response to the emergence of the hyper-aging society.

Through these kinds of initiatives, the Faculty of Dentistry at Kagoshima University realizes advanced, unique education, research and treatment. For people who are eager to challenge themselves, people with an ambition to become dentists active within the local community or on the global stage, people who wish to become dental physicians with a wide-ranging knowledge about the human body, people with a strong interest in undertaking life sciences research, and people who possess strong humanitarian instincts and the basic strengths needed to overcome difficulties, the Faculty of Dentistry at Kagoshima University—which has produced many outstanding dental physicians with a forward-looking attitude who have achieved great things, both in the local community and on the global stage—is highly recommended.

Shoichi MIYAWAKI
Dean, Faculty of Dentistry,
Kagoshima University