Ritsumeikan University

Ritsumeikan University

Ritsumeikan University Details

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Ritsumeikan University is a private university in Kyoto,Japan, tracing its roots to 1869. With the Kinugasa Campus(KIC) in Kyoto, and Kyoto Prefecture. the university also has a satellite called Biwako-Kusatsu Campus (BKC).

Today, the university is known as one of the four leading private universities in western Japan. KAN-KAN-DO-RITS (Kwansei Gakuin University, Kansai University, Doshisha University, and Ritsumeikan University) is the abbreviation that many people refer to when talking about the four leading private universities in the region (of 20 million people). The school is one of the top universities in Japan, and it is especially well known for its International Relations programme which has been ranked as first place in Japan. Moreover, in today’s newspaper, it is listed as the ‘top private university in Japan for policy science’. It has exchange programmes with many schools throughout the world, including The University of British Columbia, The University of Melbourne, The University of Sydney, University of Hong Kong and King’s College London. The school also has a dual bachelor’s degree program and dual master’s degree programme offered in collaboration with American University, and a dual bachelor’s degree programme offered in collaboration with The University of British Columbia. It has a relatively strong network of alumni in Kansai region and has produced a number of CEOs in Japanese companies as well as politicians.

Ritsumeikan University Panthers is a very strong collegiate football team in Japan and won three national champions, seven collegiate champions, and nine conference champions.

Ritsumeikan has a history of over 115 years since its foundation in 1900. With our school spirit, “Freedom and innovation,” i.e., “Create a liberal and open-minded school,” Ritsumeikan has inherited the spirit of Prince SAIONJI Kinmochi and NAKAGAWA Kojuro, and sought always to be innovative in its field.

Since the 1980’s, Ritsumeikan, as a private institution, has continued education reform through the installation of College of International Relations in 1988, openings of Biwako-Kusatsu Campus (BKC) in 1994 and Osaka Ibaraki Campus (OIC) in 2015.

In 2014, Ritsumeikan University, along with Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, were selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) as designated institutions of the “FY2014 Top Global University Project.” We take it as the recognition from the public for Ritsumeikan’s active response to the globalization and performance as well as the expectation for our future.

Ritsumeikan has set forth the Academy Vision R2020 as a portrait of the existence of the Ritsumeikan Academy in 2020 with the slogan, “Creating a Future Beyond Borders.” Opening of our new campus, Osaka Ibaraki Campus in 2015 is the core competence.

As a Japanese university, we face lots of issues. The population of 18-year-olds in Japan is decreasing, therefore, it is vital to improve Ritsumeikan as a university to be chosen by students and make efforts to improve the qualities of our education and researches as well. To that end, we will keep in mind that “What Ritsumeikan can do for the world and what Ritsumeikan contribute to,” not just the globalization as a survival strategy.

The name, “Ritsumeikan” includes the philosophies such as “a place to establish one’s destiny” and “a place to foster bearers of the future.” With our strength that has enabled our growth so far, Ritsumeikan is committed to make more dynamic progress toward the future.

Ritsumeikan University

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties


  • College of Law
  • College of Social Sciences
  • College of International Relations
  • College of Policy Science
  • College of Letters
  • College of Image Arts and Sciences

Graduate Schools

  • Graduate school of Law
  • Graduate school of Sociology
  • Graduate school of International Relations
  • Graduate school of Policy Science
  • Graduate school of Letters
  • Graduate school of Science for Human Services
  • Graduate school of Language Education and Information Science
  • Graduate school of CoreEthics and Frontier Sciences

Institute at Kinugasa Campus

  • Inter-faculty Institute for International Studies
    • International Law & Business Program
    • International Civil Service Program
    • International Community Program
    • International Welfare Program


Ritsumeikan was first founded as a private academy in 1869 by Prince Saionji Kinmochi. In 1900, Kojuro Nakagawa (the former secretary of Prince Saionji) established the Kyoto Hosei School, a law school that eventually adopted the Ritsumeikan name (with the prince’s permission) and was awarded full university status in 1922. Historically, the school was seen as a liberal alternative to the state-run Kyoto University.

The name “Ritsumeikan” comes from a Mencius quotation:

Some die young, as some live long lives. This is decided by fate. Therefore, one’s duty consists of cultivating one’s mind during this mortal span and thereby “establishing one’s destiny”. (in Japanese, 立命, ritsumei)

The “kan” addition to “ritsumei” signifies a place.

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