Sophia University

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For the Bulgarian university, see Sofia University.
Sophia University
Badge of Sophia University
Latin: Universitas Sedis Sapientiae
(University of the Seat of Wisdom)
Motto Lux Veritatis
Motto in English
Light of Truth
Established 1913
Type Private Research University
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Chancellor Rev. Fr. Toshiaki Koso, SJ
President Prof. Tadashi Takizawa
Academic staff
* 522 (Full-time)
* 749 (Part-time)
Administrative staff
Students 11,986
Undergraduates 10,528
Postgraduates 1,208
Other students
250 (Law)
Location Chiyoda, Tokyo,
Campus Urban:
-Yotsuya main campus
-Mejiro campus
-Ichigaya campus
-Shakujii campus
Alma Mater song Sophia
Colors Dark Red     
Sports 8 varsity teams
Mascot Eagle named
Affiliations IAU, IFCU
Sophia University main building

Sophia University (上智大学 Jōchi Daigaku?) is a private Jesuit research university in Japan, with its main campus located near Yotsuya station, in an area of Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. It is ranked as one of the top private universities in Japan with the most selective admission (5% acceptance rate) and is known for its international academic climate. It takes its name from the Greek Sophia meaning "wisdom". The Japanese name, Jōchi Daigaku literally means "University of Higher Wisdom".

It has an exchange program with many universities throughout the world, including Yale University, Sogang University and the University of Hong Kong. The university was a men’s university in the past, but at present admits women; the proportion of men to women is now more or less equal. Sophia’s alumni are referred to as "Sophians"; they include the 79th Japanese Prime Minister of Japan, Morihiro Hosokawa, a number of politicians represented in the Diet of Japan and professors at institutions such as the University of Tokyo and Yale University.[1][2][3]


Sophia University was founded by Jesuits in 1913. It was the first university in Japan that fulfilled the hopes of St. Francis Xavier, [clarification needed] who came to Japan in 1549 to spread Christianity. It opened with departments of German Literature, Philosophy and Commerce, headed by its founder Hermann Hoffmann (1864–1937) as its first official president.[citation needed]

In 1932, a small group of Sophia students refused to salute the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in the presence of a Japanese military attache, saying it violated their religious beliefs. The military attache was withdrawn from Sophia as a result of this incident, damaging the university's reputation. The Archbishop of Tokyo intervened in the standoff by permitting Catholic students to salute the war dead, after which many Sophia students, as well as Hermann Hoffmann himself, participated in rites at Yasukuni. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples later issued the Pluries Instanterque in 1936, which encouraged Catholics to attend Shinto shrines as a patriotic gesture; the Vatican re-issued this document after the war in 1951.[4]

Sophia University continued to grow by increasing the numbers of departments, faculty members and students, in addition to advancing its international focus by establishing its exchange program. Many of its students studied at Georgetown University in the United States as early as 1935. Sophia's junior college was established in 1973, followed by the opening of Sophia Community College in 1976. With the founding of the Faculty of Liberal Arts in 2006, Sophia University presently holds 27 departments in its eight faculties. Its current president is Yoshiaki Ishizawa. Toshiaki Koso serves as head of its board of directors. Since 2008, the Global Leadership Program was started for students from four Jesuit universities in East Asia: Ateneo de Manila University in The Philippines, Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan, Sogang University in South Korea, and Sophia University in Japan.[5]


Sophia's main campus, at Yotsuya, is an urban campus, consisting of roughly 25 large, modern buildings in the center of Tokyo. The majority of Sophia's 10,000 undergraduate students spend nearly all of their time here. The Faculties of Humanities, Law, Foreign Studies, Economics, Liberal Arts, and Science and Technology have their home here, as do the main library, cafeteria, gymnasium, chapel, bookstore, and offices. In April 2006, the Faculty of Comparative Culture (FCC), which was located at the smaller Ichigaya campus, moved to the main Yotsuya campus. At the same time as the move, FCC changed its name to the Faculty of Liberal Arts,; accessed 22 September 2014. Nearly all of Sophia's foreign exchange students study at FLA.

The Tokyo office of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the student exchange organization, which oversees roughly half of the international students, is also based on the main Yotsuya Campus. The Shakujii (Tokyo) campus houses the Faculty of Theology. The Hadano campus in Kanagawa Prefecture is home to the Sophia Junior College, as well as a number of seminar halls and athletics complexes.[citation needed]

Sophia University, Yotsuya Campus, Tokyo, Japan
Sophia University

Popularity and selectivity[edit]

Admission to Sophia is the most selective and competitive in Japan with 5% acceptance rate. Sophia shares top 3 rankings with Waseda and Keio.[6] Its entrance difficulty is considered one of the top with Waseda and Keio among 730 private universities.[7][8][9]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Government, politics, and society[edit]



Media and literature[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Breen, John (1 March 2010). "Popes, Bishops and War Criminals: reflections on Catholics and Yasukuni in post-war Japan". The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Profile,; accessed 22 September 2014.
  6. ^
  7. ^ National and Public universities apply different kind of exams. so it's only comparable between universities in a same category.
  8. ^ e.g., Yoyogi seminar published Hensachi (the indication showing the entrance difficulties by prep schools) rankings
  9. ^ Japanese journalist Kiyoshi Shimano ranks its entrance difficulty as SA (most selective/out of 11 scales) in Japan.危ない大学・消える大学 2012年版 (in Japanese). YELL books. 2011. 
  10. ^ Lambert, Bruce (January 26, 1992). "Bettina L. Chow, Model and Designer, Dies at 41". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°41′03″N 139°43′55″E / 35.68417°N 139.73194°E / 35.68417; 139.73194