University of Tokyo

University of Tokyo. The best university in Japan.

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In the midst of rapid globalization, the presence of problems that should be tackled by humankind as a whole, including the depletion of natural resources, damage to the environment, world financial insecurity and poverty, is becoming ever more apparent. Handling such global-scale issues requires that a wide range of people share their knowledge and subsequently utilize their shared knowledge to cooperate and take action. Cultivating the talented individuals who will take the lead in this sharing and utilization of knowledge is the most important duty of the University of Tokyo. In this regard, we must never cease to face challenges with courage, wisdom and a sense of responsibility.

The driving force in developing these knowledge professionals is, needless to say, learning that is among the most outstanding in the world. I would particularly like for students who have their hearts set on learning, as well as young researchers, to experience the excitement and joy of knowledge at the forefront of research. I want them to use that experience as a source of intellectual nourishment that reinforces within them the willingness to develop themselves significantly. I believe that to have the University of Tokyo serve as a place for these experiences would not only meet the expectations of the public who have entrusted the University with their support but also contribute to human society as a whole.

Since its foundation, the University of Tokyo has served as an academic base for fusing Western with Eastern cultures, developing academic disciplines unique in the world and conveying knowledge gained from them to the international community. Carrying on this tradition while at the same time planning for the future, I will create a “global base for knowledge collaboration,” which will connect the quest for knowledge with the utilization of knowledge and attract a diverse array of people from around the world. At this base, I would like to develop new academic disciplines that go beyond national, cultural and generational boundaries and transcend the existing areas of study known as the humanities and the sciences. Moreover, I want to promote activities that will facilitate cooperation between organizations in industry, government and academia. In order to realize these plans, the University will first establish Graduate Schools that proactively engage in the pioneering of new academic disciplines that are interdisciplinary in nature and combine both excellence and international-mindedness.

We will press forward with academics that contribute to the peace and welfare of all society and humankind, as stated in the University of Tokyo Charter. To do so, in these modern times when the face of society is changing at an accelerated rate, it is necessary to equip ourselves with the flexibility to respond to the demands of these times. While adhering steadfastly to what should be preserved as tradition, system-wide reform is imperative. As I firmly establish the progress on the undergraduate educational reforms that has heretofore been carried out, I will also work towards a fundamental reevaluation of our Graduate Schools, which play a main role in the training of knowledge professionals and the creation of new value. At the same time, the implementation of a personnel management system that reflects gender equality, employs more young people while making the best use of their abilities, and that supports both mobility and stability is a task of the highest importance to me. In order to make progress on these reforms, we must raise society’s level of trust in science and academia. The foundation of this trust is built on the thorough enforcement of research ethics and standards as well as the strengthening of functions that facilitate collaboration between industry and academia, both of which are urgent tasks that we now face.

By progressing with these kinds of reforms, I am determined to make the University of Tokyo a university that is regarded as indispensable to the Japanese people and to the entire world; a University of Tokyo that is loved by all.

The University of Tokyo

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties


  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Letters
  • Science
  • Agriculture
  • Economics
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Education
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences

Graduate schools

  • Humanities and Sociology
  • Education
  • Law and Politics
  • Economics
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Frontier Sciences
  • Information Science and Technology
  • Interdisciplinary Information Studies
  • Public Policy


The university was chartered by the Meiji government in 1877 under its current name by amalgamating older government schools for medicine and Western learning. It was renamed “the Imperial University” in 1886, and then Tokyo Imperial University  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. The books lost included the Hoshino Library , a collection of about 10,000 books. 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 , Shoheizaka Study Office , and the Western Books Translation Agency. These institutions were government offices established by the 徳川幕府 Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), and played an important role in the importation and translation of books from Europe.

Kikuchi Dairoku, an important figure in Japanese education, served as president of Tokyo Imperial University.

For the 1964 Summer Olympics, the university hosted the running portion of the modern pentathlon event.

On 20 January 2012, Todai announced that it would shift the beginning of its academic year from April to September to align its calendar with the international standard. The shift would be phased in over five years. But this unilateral announcement by the president was received badly and the university abandoned the plans.

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

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. In 2014, the School of Science at the University of Tokyo introduced an all-English undergraduate transfer program called Global Science Course (GSC).

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