History of Kokugakuin University

Updated on Apr 01 2022

A School Established to Lead Society into its Next 100 Years

Kokugakuin University was founded in 1882 as Koten Kokyusho. It was a time of heavy competition between the Japanese culture and the cultures of Europe that had been drawn into Japan during the Meiji Restoration. Koten Kokyusho was founded with the belief that the Government of Japan should not follow the models set by the West, but be based in the history of Japan and its ethnicity.

Since that time, Kokugakuin University has functioned under the principle that globalization cannot be achieved in Japan without correct self-perception. The University has continued throughout its history to pursue the true essence of Japan with the conviction to set standards for the Japanese language as well as the fields of the humanities and social sciences.

The University believes that this important philosophy will continue to be as relevant 100 years from now as it is today. Approximately 140,000 graduates and over 10,000 educators have been fostered by Kokugakuin University to this day. The University will continue to achieve day in and day out through our constant work to contribute to society.

Meiji Era

1882 Koten Kokyusho established

Iidamachi Campus of Koten Kokyusho (end of the Meiji Era)

Koten Kokyusho was the predecessor of Kokugakuin University. Its first President was Prince Takahito of Arisugawa. The school was located in Iidamachi, Kojimachi-ku, Tokyo (present day Iidamachi, Chiyoda-ku). Classes started on September 1, 1882. The school’s opening ceremony was held on November 4. This was the first step towards the University’s bright future.

1890 Birth of Kokugakuin

In July, Kokugakuin was established, with the Koten Kokyusho as its predecessor, as an educational institution specializing in the study of the history, literature, and law of Japan (offering 3 year normal programs, and 2-year post-graduate programs). This was the first appearance of the name, “Kokugakuin.”

1906 Name changed to Kokugakuin Private University

In June, a Ministry of Education proclamation changed the school’s name to Kokugakuin Private University, making it a university organization.

Taisho Era

1923 Completion of New Campus in Shibuya

Commemorative Postcard of the Campus Restoration

Alongside an increase in students, the school’s major expansion plan, which had been moving forward over the previous five years, came to fruition in the completion of a new campus at the Shibuya Imperial Estate (the current campus location) in May 1923. Classes began in June. The Great Kanto Earthquake damaged the school in September of that year, but the campus was restored the following year, in 1924. Decisions were made that same year to establish the school song and school flag. The school continued to develop from this point through the first 10 years of the Showa era.

Showa Era

1930 Construction of Shrine on Campus

The Shrine in the Year it was Built

1948 Establishment of the Faculty of Letters under a new system

1951 The School becomes “Incorporated Educational Institution Kokugakuin University”

In 1951, Kokugakuin ceased to be a foundation, and became “Incorporated Educational Institution Kokugakuin University.” The Faculty of Political Science and Economics II was established.

Master’s Courses in the Graduate School of Letters and Graduate School of Shinto Studies were established.

1966 The Faculty of Political Science and Economics becomes the Faculty of Economics

1985 Tama Plaza Campus completed

Commemorative Plaque on the Completion of the New Campus

Heisei Era

1996 Establishment of new departments within the Faculty of Letters

Approval was given in 1996 for the establishment of the Department of Japanese Literature, Department of Chinese Literature and Department of Foreign Languages and Culture Studies in the Faculty of Letters I; the Department of Socio-Economic Networking in the Faculty of Economics I; and the Department of Industry and Consumer Information Studies in the Faculty of Economics II.

2009 Establishment of the Faculty of Human Development

The Faculty of Human Development was established in the Tama Plaza campus in April. The Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning was launched. Kokugakuin Junior College was renamed Kokugakuin University Hokkaido Junior College. Building No.3 was completed in September.

The Shibuya campus today

Unveiling ceremony for a new monument

2017 135th Anniversary of Kokugakuin University

Further Details

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