Tokyo Imperial University
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Tokyo Imperial University

Coordinates: 35°42?48?N 139°45?44?E / 35.71333°N 139.76222°E / 35.71333; 139.76222

The University of Tokyo
UnivOfTokyo mark.svg
Latin: Universitas Tociensis
Former names
Imperial University (1886-1897)
Tokyo Imperial University (1897-1947)
TypePublic (National)
Established1877 (143 years ago)
Academic affiliations
Washington University in St. Louis McDonnell International Scholars Academy[1]
PresidentMakoto Gonokami
Academic staff
2,209 full-time
276 part-time (2017)[2]
Students28,253 (2017)[3]
Other students
804 research students
Location, ,
ColoursLight Blue  
Athletics46 varsity teams
UnivOfTokyo logo.svg

The University of Tokyo (, T?ky? daigaku), abbreviated as Todai (, T?dai)[4] or UTokyo,[5] is a public research university located in Bunky?, Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1877, it was the first of the imperial universities.

The university has ten faculties, 15 graduate schools[6] and enrolls about 30,000 students, 2,100 of whom are international students. Its five campuses are in Hong?, Komaba, Kashiwa, Shirokane and Nakano. It is among the top echelon of the select Japanese universities assigned additional funding under the MEXT's Top Global University Project to enhance Japan's global educational competitiveness.[7]

University of Tokyo (Todai) is considered to be the most selective and prestigious university in Japan and is counted as one of the best universities in the world.[8][9][10] As of 2018, University of Tokyo's alumni, faculty members and researchers include seventeen Prime Ministers, sixteen Nobel Prize laureates, three Pritzker Prize laureates, three astronauts, and a Fields Medalist.[11]


Faculty of Law building in 1902, before its destruction by the 1923 Great Kant? earthquake

The university was chartered by the Meiji government in 1877 under its current name by amalgamating older government schools for medicine, various traditional scholars and modern learning. It was renamed "the Imperial University (?, Teikoku daigaku)" in 1886, and then Tokyo Imperial University (, T?ky? teikoku daigaku) in 1897 when the Imperial University system was created. In September 1923, an earthquake and the following fires destroyed about 700,000 volumes of the Imperial University Library.[12] The books lost included the Hoshino Library (?, Hoshino bunko), a collection of about 10,000 books.[12][13] The books were the former possessions of Hoshino Hisashi before becoming part of the library of the university and were mainly about Chinese philosophy and history.

In 1947 after Japan's defeat in World War II it re-assumed its original name. With the start of the new university system in 1949, Todai swallowed up the former First Higher School (today's Komaba campus) and the former Tokyo Higher School, which thenceforth assumed the duty of teaching first- and second-year undergraduates, while the faculties on Hongo main campus took care of third- and fourth-year students.

Although the university was founded during the Meiji period, it has earlier roots in the Astronomy Agency (; 1684), Shoheizaka Study Office (; 1797), and the Western Books Translation Agency (; 1811).[14] These institutions were government offices established by the ? Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867), and played an important role in the importation and translation of books from Europe.

According to The Japan Times, the university had 1,282 professors in February 2012. Of those, 58 were women.[15]

In the fall of 2012 and for the first time, the University of Tokyo started two undergraduate programs entirely taught in English and geared toward international students--Programs in English at Komaba (PEAK)--the International Program on Japan in East Asia and the International Program on Environmental Sciences.[16][17] In 2014, the School of Science at the University of Tokyo introduced an all-English undergraduate transfer program called Global Science Course (GSC).[18]


The University of Tokyo is organized into 10 faculties[19] and 15 graduate schools.[20]

  • Faculty of Agriculture
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Letters
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Faculty of Science
  • Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Graduate School of Economics
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Graduate School of Frontier Sciences
  • Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
  • Graduate School of Information Science and Technology
  • Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies
  • Graduate Schools for Law and Politics
  • Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences
  • Graduate School of Medicine
  • Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Graduate School of Public Policy
  • Graduate School of Science

Graduate programs

Todai Law School is considered as one of the top Law schools in Japan, ranking top in the number of successful candidates of Japanese Bar Examination in 2009 and 2010.[21]Eduniversal ranked Japanese business schools, and the Faculty of Economics in Todai is placed 4th in Japan (111th in the world).[22]


The University of Tokyo is considered a top research institution of Japan. It receives the largest amount of national grants for research institutions, Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, receiving 40% more than the University with 2nd largest grants and 90% more than the University with 3rd largest grants.[23] This massive financial investment from the Japanese government directly affects Todai's research outcomes. According to Thomson Reuters, Todai is the best research university in Japan.[24] Its research excellence is especially distinctive in Physics (1st in Japan, 2nd in the world), Biology & Biochemistry (1st in Japan, 3rd in the world), Pharmacology & Toxicology (1st in Japan, 5th in the world), Materials Science (3rd in Japan, 19th in the world), Chemistry (2nd in Japan, 5th in the world), and Immunology (2nd in Japan, 20th in the world).[25]

In another ranking, Nikkei Shimbun on 16 February 2004 surveyed about the research standards in Engineering studies based on Thomson Reuters, Grants in Aid for Scientific Research and questionnaires to heads of 93 leading Japanese Research Centers, and Todai was placed 4th (research planning ability 3rd/informative ability of research outcome 10th/ability of business-academia collaboration 3rd) in this ranking.[26]Weekly Diamond also reported that Todai has the 3rd highest research standard in Japan in terms of research fundings per researchers in COE Program.[27] In the same article, it's also ranked 21st in terms of the quality of education by GP funds per student.

Todai also has been recognized for its research in the social sciences and humanities. In January 2011, Repec ranked Todai's Economics department as Japan's best economics research university.[28] And it is the only Japanese university within world top 100.[29] Todai has produced 9 presidents of the Japanese Economic Association, the largest number in the association.[30]Asahi Shimbun summarized the amount of academic papers in Japanese major legal journals by university, and Todai was ranked top during 2005-2009.[31]

Research institutes


  • Institute of Medical Science
  • Earthquake Research Institute
  • Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia
  • Institute of Social Science
  • Institute of Industrial Science
  • Historiographical Institute
  • Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
  • Institute for Cosmic Ray Research
  • Institute for Solid State Physics
  • Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
  • Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology

The University's School of Science and the Earthquake Research Institute are both represented on the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.[33]

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
Toyo Keizai National[34] General 1
Kawaijuku National[35] General 1
T. Reuters National[24] Research 1
WE National[36] Employment 12
NBP Greater Tokyo[37][38] Reputation 2
Shimano National[39] Selectivity SA
QS Asia
(World Ranking version)[40]
General 5
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version)[41]
General 13
THE Asia[42] General 7
ARWU Asia[43] Research 1
THE World[44] General 46
QS World[40] General 28
ARWU World[43] Research 24
Program rankings
Social Sciences & Humanities


Asahi National[31]Research 1
BE Success National[45]Qualification 1
BE Pass rate National[46]Qualification 3


RePec National[47]Research 1
RePec World[29]Research 92


Eduni MBA National[48]General 4
Eduni MBA World[49]General 111
CPA Success National[50]Qualification 4
Natural Sciences & Technology



T.Reuters National[51]Research 3
T.Reuters World[51]Research 19


T.Reuters National[51]Research 1
T.Reuters World[51]Research 2


T.Reuters National[51]Research 2
T.Reuters World[51]Research 5


T.Reuters National[51]Research 1
T.Reuters World[51]Research 3


ARWU National[52]Research 2
ARWU World[52]Research 51-71


ARWU National[53]Research 1
ARWU World[53]Research 76-100
Life Sciences


T.Reuters National[51]Research 2
T.Reuters World[51]Research 20


T.Reuters National[51]Research 1
T.Reuters World[51]Research 5
* T. Reuters World rankings include non-educational institutions

University of Tokyo (Todai) is considered to be the most selective and prestigious university in Japan and is counted as one of the best universities in the world.[8][9][10]

Nikkei BP has been publishing a ranking system "Brand rankings of Japanese universities" every year, composed by the various indications related to the power of brand, and Todai has been 2nd in 2009-2010 in Greater Tokyo Area.[54][37] The university has been ranked 1st during 2006-2010 in the ranking "Truly Strong Universities" by Toyo Keizai.[34] In another ranking, Japanese prep school Kawaijuku ranked Todai as the best university in Japan.[35]

Todai was ranked second in the world, behind Harvard University, in Mines ParisTech: Professional Ranking of World Universities (2011), which measured universities' numbers of alumni holding CEO positions in Fortune Global 500 companies.

Todai alumni are distinctively successful in Japanese industries. According to the Weekly Economist's 2010 rankings, graduates from Todai have the 12th best employment rate in 400 major companies in Japan.[70] However, this lower ranking position is because of the large number of alumni who become government bureaucrats, which is more than double of alumni from any other universities.[71] In fact, alumni of Todai have the highest average salary in Japan, according to PRESIDENT.[72]

Gender imbalance

In 2019, enrollment figures from the University of Tokyo reveal that 5,267 of 24,674 (21.3%) domestic students are female. The ratio is more equal among international students, where 1,465 of 3,735 (39.2%) students are female.[73] The gender imbalance is more stark among the faculty, where 7.8 percent of professors are female.[74]

Within student life, some clubs excluded female students even though the university discourages such a practice. Of more than 30 tennis clubs at the University of Tokyo, even though no clubs announced that they reject female students, only two actively recruited women, allowing them to join without passing the exam required for male applicants.[75][76] In 2020, the Orientation Committee announced that clubs that did not admit female students' membership could not join circle recruitment events.[77]

Since 2017, the University of Tokyo has paid thirty thousand yen in housing allowances for female students exclusively in order to gain more female applicants from distant regions.[78]


Hongo Campus

The main Hongo campus occupies the former estate of the Maeda family, Edo period feudal lords of Kaga Province. One of the university's best known landmarks, Akamon (the Red Gate), is a relic of this era. The symbol of the university is the ginkgo leaf, from the trees found throughout the area. The Hongo campus also hosts the University of Tokyo's annual May Festival.[79]

Sanshiro Pond

Sanshiro Pond (?, Sanshir? ike), university's Hongo campus, dates to 1615. After the fall of the Osaka Castle, the sh?gun gave this pond and its surrounding garden to Maeda Toshitsune. With further development of the garden by Maeda Tsunanori, it became known as one of the most beautiful gardens in Edo (Now Tokyo), with the traditional eight landscapes and eight borders, and known for originality in artificial pond, hills, and pavilions. It was at that time known as Ikutoku-en (Garden of Teaching Virtue). The pond's contours are in the shape of the character kokoro or shin (heart), and thus its official name is Ikutoku-en Shinjiike. It has been commonly called Sanshiro Pond after the title of Natsume S?seki's novel Sanshiro.

Komaba Campus

One of the five campuses of the University of Tokyo, the Komaba Campus is home to the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, and a number of advanced research facilities and campus services. This is the campus where all the freshmen and sophomores of the University of Tokyo spend their college life. The University of Tokyo is the only university in Japan which has a system of two years of general education before students can choose and move on to special fields of study.[] The Komaba Campus is the cornerstone of general education, and was designated as the "center of excellence" for three new areas of research by the Ministry of Education and Science. There are currently over 7,000 students (freshmen and sophomores) enrolled in the general education courses, about 450 students (juniors and seniors) pursuing their specialties in the College of Arts and Sciences, and 1,400 graduate students in the advanced study.

Shirokanedai Campus

The relatively small Shirokanedai Campus[80] hosts the Institute of Medical Science of the University of Tokyo (IMSUT), which is entirely dedicated to postgraduate studies. The campus is focused on genome research, including among its facilities the Human Genome Center (HGC), which have at its disposal the largest supercomputer in the field.[81]

Notable alumni and faculty members

  • The university has produced many notable people. 15 prime ministers of Japan have studied at the University of Tokyo.[82] Former prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa ordered Japanese government agencies to reduce the rate of employees who had attended the university's law faculty to below 50 percent due to concerns about diversity in the bureaucracy.[83]
  • Ten alumni of University of Tokyo have received the Nobel Prize.[84]
  1. Yasunari Kawabata, Literature, 1968
  2. Leo Esaki, Physics, 1973
  3. Eisaku Sat?, Peace, 1974
  4. Kenzabur? ?e, Literature, 1994
  5. Masatoshi Koshiba, Physics, 2002
  6. Yoichiro Nambu, Physics, 2008
  7. Ei-ichi Negishi, Chemistry, 2010
  8. Takaaki Kajita, Physics, 2015
  9. Satoshi ?mura, Medicine, 2015
  10. Yoshinori Ohsumi, Medicine, 2016
  1. Kunihiko Kodaira, 1954
  2. Kiyosi Itô, 2006
  1. Toyo Ito
  2. Kenzo Tange
  3. Fumihiko Maki
  4. Arata Isozaki

Nobel laureates


See also


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Further reading

  • Kato, Mariko, "Todai still beckons nation's best, brightest but goals diversifying", Japan Times, August 11, 2009, p. 3.
  • Kersten, Rikki. "The intellectual culture of postwar Japan and the 1968-1969 University of Tokyo Struggles: Repositioning the self in postwar thought." Social Science Japan Journal 12.2 (2009): 227-245.
  • Marshall, Byron K. Academic Freedom and the Japanese Imperial University, 1868-1939 (University of California Press, 1992).
  • Takashi, Tachibana, and Richard H. Minear. Tokyo University and the War (2017), on world war II; online.

External links

Media related to University of Tokyo at Wikimedia Commons

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