|Latin: Universitas Sedis Sapientiae
(University of the Seat of Wisdom)
|Motto in English||Light of Truth|
|Type||Private Research University|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic (Jesuit)|
|Chancellor||Rev. Fr. Toshiaki Koso, SJ|
|President||Prof. Tadashi Takizawa|
* 522 (Full-time)
* 749 (Part-time)
|Other students||250 (Law)|
-Yotsuya main campus
|Alma Mater song||Sophia|
|Sports||8 varsity teams|
Sophia University (上智大学 Jōchi Daigaku?) is a private research university in Japan, with its main campus located near Yotsuya station, in an area of Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. It is typically 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.
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.
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 The military attache was withdrawn from Sophia as a result of this incident, damaging the university's reputation.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.
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, which share the common catholic sprit.
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 (FLA). 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.
Popularity and selectivity
Admission to Sophia is the most selective and competitive in Japan with 5% acceptance rate. Sophia shares top 3 rankings with Waseda and Keio.  Its entrance difficulty is considered one of the top with Waseda and Keio among 730 private universities.
- Gregory Clark, former professor of economics, currently a Japan Times contributor.
- Kuniko Inoguchi—former professor of law, and Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
- Peter Milward, Jesuit, emeritus professor of English Literature.
- Sadako Ogata—former professor of political science, and former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Currently serving as President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Government, politics, and society
- Agnes Chan, singer and ambassador of the Japan Committee for UNICEF
- Koichiro Gemba, current Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Sumihiro Kuyama, former Chairman, Joint Inspection Unit, United Nations
- Yukari Sato, economist and member of House Representatives
- Shoichi Kondo, politician, former Senior Vice-Minister of Environment
- Noboharu Yonenaga, politician
- Kuniko Inoguchi, political scientist and politician, member of LDP
- Seiko Noda, politician, member of LDP
- Takuya Hirai, politician, member of LDP
- Seiichiro Dokyu, politician, member of DPJ
- Yoshio Maki, politician
- Toshitsugu Saito, politician, 65th and 66th Minister of Defense
- Morihiro Hosokawa, 79th Prime Minister of Japan
- Mukhriz Mahathir, 11th Menteri Besar of Kedah, Malaysia
- Sadako Ogata, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- Kyouichi Tachikawa, historian
- Takayuki Tatsumi, American literature scholar at Keio University
- Jun Saito, associate professor at Yale University
- Yoko Ishigura, professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University
- Allen J. Bart, professor at University of Texas at Austin
- Ruben Habito, associate professor at Southern Methodist University
- Shoichi Watanabe, English scholar
- Dominique Turpin, Dean & President of IMD, Switzerland
- Peer Schneider, Co-founder and SVP/Publisher at IGN Entertainment
- Shuzo Shiota, CEO and president of Polygon Pictures
- Johnny Kitagawa, founder and CEO of Johnny & Associates
Media and literature
- Yoshitaka Asama, screenwriter and director of many films including Twilight Samurai
- Vernon Grant, first American cartoonist to introduce manga concepts to English-language readers
- Kōichi Mashimo, anime director, founder of studio Bee Train
- Maureen Wartski, author, including A Boat to Nowhere and Yuri's Brush with Magic
- Robert Whiting, author on Japanese culture, including The Chrysanthemum and the Bat and You Gotta Have Wa about Japanese baseball
- Yuriko Nishiyama, manga writer, including Harlem Beat
- Beni Arashiro, singer
- Boyé Lafayette De Mente, author on Japanese culture ('54)
- Grant Campbell, World Karate Champion, American martial arts teacher
- Hillary Chan, Gourmet Chef/innovator; Cheesecake Factory
- Kurara Chibana, Miss Japan 2006 and 1st Runner-up at Miss Universe 2006
- Tina Chow, model and jewelery designer
- Bruce Frantzis, Taoist Master, U.S.A.
- Yū Hayami, actress, voice-actress in anime
- Sumire Uesaka, anime voice actress
- Carrie Ann Inaba, American dancer, choreographer, actress, and singer
- Hisashi Inoue, author
- Maiko Itai, Miss Universe Japan 2010 winner
- Crystal Kay, singer
- Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, Korean Roman Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Seoul.
- Peter Shirayanagi, Japanese Roman Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Tokyo
- Saori Kumi, author
- Alan Merrill, a 1960s Group Sounds pioneer gaijin tarento and later composer of the classic song "I Love Rock N Roll"
- Osamu Mizutani, high school teacher, famous for his book "Yomawari Sensei" and his efforts to redress delinquents
- Father Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus
- Hikaru Nishida, actress, Japanese drama
- Judy Ongg, singer/actor
- Zomahoun Idossou Rufin, a gaijin tarento, philanthropist and diplomat who has been Benin's Ambassador to Japan and the Philippines.
- Emyli, singer
- George Takei, Japanese-American actor most famous for his role as Star Trek's Mr. Sulu
- Tadashi Yamamoto, Founder of the Japan Center for International Exchange and the Shimoda Conference
- 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.
- National and Public universities apply different kind of exams. so it's only comparable between universities in a same category.
- e.g., Yoyogi seminar published Hensachi (the indication showing the entrance difficulties by prep schools) rankings http://www.yozemi.ac.jp/rank/gakubu/index.html
- 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.
- Lambert, Bruce (January 26, 1992). "Bettina L. Chow, Model and Designer, Dies at 41". nytimes.com.
- Sophia University Homepage (日本語 / Japanese)
- Sophia University Homepage (English / 英語)
- Sophia University Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA) Homepage (English only)