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In the year 2000, Ritsumeikan marked the 130th anniversary of its foundation and the 100th anniversary of its establishment as an institution. With a strong tradition and history, Ritsumeikan ranks amongst the best comprehensive private academies in Japan.
In 1869, Ritsumeikan was founded by an eminent statesman, Prince SAIONJI Kinmochi, as a private academy on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. Ritsumeikan's founding spirit, Freedom and Innovation, originated from Saionji, who played a leadership role in the freedom and popular rights movement of late-19th century Japan and advocated the ideals of liberalism and internationalism throughout his life.
In 1900, Saionji’s former secretary NAKAGAWA Kojuro established the “Kyoto Hosei School”, a working-man’s night law school. With Saionji’s blessing, the name was changed to“ Ritsumeikan” in 1913 and the name“ Ritsumeikan University” was officially adopted in 1922. Following the end of World War II, a series of democratic reforms was introduced by then university president SUEKAWA Hiroshi, who went on to serve as chancellor of the Ritsumeikan Academy. Ritsumeikan’s educational ideals of Peace and Democracy were derived from the aspirations of the Japanese people in the post-war era and eloquently advocated by Chancellor Suekawa. These ideals live on in the spirit of Ritsumeikan today. The Ritsumeikan Academy has developed into a comprehensive academic institution of the highest standard that strives to cultivate individuality and internationalism. Under the auspices of the Ritsumeikan Trust, the current Ritsumeikan Academy encompasses two universities, four senior high schools, four junior hig schools, and one primary school, and accommodates a total of 49,000 students with campuses located throughout the country. Since Ritsumeikan’s establishment, approximately 340,000 people have graduated from Ritsumeikan University, 10,000 from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU).
Even 130 years after the beginning of Ritsumeikan, we continue to draw on the founding spirit, Freedom and Innovation, as a compass to guide us in every aspect of the academy’s development. In accordance with the academy’s“ Vision for the 21st Century,” we will strive to cultivate strong leaders abundant in creativity who are able to take on the challenges of the future and make lasting contributions to society.