Truly Strong Universities
The Truly Strong Universities (本当に強い大学 Hontōni Tsuyoi Daigaku) is a ranking of Japan’s top 100 universities by Toyo Keizai, released annually in October in its business magazine, "Toyo Keizai", meaning "Oriental Economy".
Although there are many rankings of Japanese universities in Japan, most of them rank universities by their entrance difficulty, often called "Hensachi" or by alumni's successes. Especially, the Hensachi Rankings have been most commonly used for university ranking.
In that context, TSU is a unique ranking system, which ranks Japanese universities in terms of 11 multidimensional indicators related to "Financial Strength", "Education and Research quality" and "Graduate Prospects". It does not include any indicator of entrance difficulty. Therefore, this ranking system tries to evaluate the university's strengths and the performance of alumni rather than the students' academic abilities when entering college or the brand of the college.
Toyo Keizai first published the TSU rankings in 2000. Its initial aim was to analyze private universities as companies, and conduct a financial analysis of them, which had rarely been attempted by other mass-media. It also tried to focus on a practical point of view such as business-academia collaboration, students' academic achievements, and career support for this ranking system.
In 2004, the ranking system was reorganized with more multidimensional factors to capture universities as not only business organizations, but also educational and research institutions. In 2005, it started to analyze national universities, and they have been put into the same rankings from 2006.
TSU tries to design its rankings to look at a university's strength as an organization. It uses 11 indicators categorized into 3 concepts. All 11 indicators equally compose this ranking after the calculation of Standardized scores. TSU picked 181 major Japanese universities for its evaluation.
Education and Research quality
Education and Research quality is composed by "Spendings for education and research per income (%)", "Number of GP gainings", "Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Million Yen)" and "Student/Faculty ratio (%)".
Graduate Prospects is composed by "Employment rate (%)", "Number of alumni as executives in listed companies in Japan" and "Average graduate salary at 30 years old (Million Yen)".
As Toyo Keizai is one of 3 Japan's leading business magazines, this ranking system is well known in Japan. Normally when it was released, Several news resources have reported this ranking, and a lot of universities have announced these ranking results. In fact, the sales of magazine is higher than usual when the ranking was released. Toyo Keizai stated it has received many responses from readers.
It is also often cited to see each indicator ranking such as Employment Rate and Average Graduate Salary, which is more practical for actual students than overall rankings.
The TSU Rankings in 2011 show the University of Tokyo was ranked first in Japan, and it has been ranked 1st 6 times continuously in this ranking system. Keio University fell to 3rd after having been ranked 2nd 4 times continuously, with Kyoto University taking its place.
There are 13 National Universities, 5 Private Universities and 2 Public Universities in the top 20 rankings, thus the National Universities have shown more strengths because of the high level of financial supports from Japanese government.
Top 40 in the TSU Rankings
|Overall Rank 2011||Overall Rank 2010||Overall Rank 2009||Overall Rank 2008||University||Type||Overall Score||Applicants' Increasing ratio (%)||Recurring profit margin (%)||External Fund Gaining Ratio (%)||Capital Adequacy Ratio (%)||Edu+Res Spendings per Income (%)||Number of GP gainings||Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Million Yen)||Student/Faculty ratio (%)||Employment rate (%)||Alumni as executives in listed companies||Average graduate salary at 30 (Million Yen)|
|1||1||1||1||University of Tokyo||National||71.9||-11.9||3.5||41.2||81.2||34.1||1||22,585.29||10.6||71.1||1,935||6.19|
|4||5||7||6||Toyota Technological Institute||Private||61.1||0.9||9.7||73.9||97.9||39.4||1||31.94||11.2||100.0||0||5.27|
|9||12||32||13||Nagoya City University||Public||57.5||-2.2||2.3||21.4||61.2||46.2||1||620.19||8.1||89.0||36||6.24|
|14||28||73||63||Osaka City University||Public||55.9||-12.0||3.5||18.7||72.9||40.9||1||848.80||12.8||73.9||174||6.05|
|-||11||26||45||Kwansei Gakuin University||Private||56.7||36.1||33.8||33.2||82.9||25.4||2||329.36||31.9||81.7||427||5.98|
|-||13||13||8||Tokyo Institute of Technology||National||56.0||1.2||-0.4||41.7||81.8||30.6||1||4,990.47||12.3||91.3||190||5.63|
|-||16||-||15||University of Tsukuba||National||54.5||-12.6||2.1||19.0||74.3||36.1||2||3,229.17||11.1||79.8||52||6.15|
|-||19||37||39||Shibaura Institute of Technology||Private||54.0||64.3||6.7||11.7||83.2||41.0||3||145.90||28.0||89.7||111||5.42|
|-||20||23||34||Tokyo University of Foreign Studies||National||53.8||18.3||0.9||12.3||89.1||22.9||5||307.67||16.8||75.9||42||6.11|
|-||24||22||20||Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology||National||53.7||50.0||9.4||7.7||82.2||29.5||3||1,040.15||13.5||79.4||45||5.75|
|-||25||31||71||Tokyo University of Agriculture||Private||53.6||79.1||16.4||5.5||91.9||32.2||3||245.19||13.5||80.4||28||5.75|
|-||35||34||40||Tokyo Metropolitan University||Public||52.5||-7.7||4.8||16.0||86.6||28.1||1||1,100.64||17.3||83.9||77||5.60|
|-||36||43||19||Kanazawa Institute of Technology||Private||52.4||-28.9||-0.4||6.8||85.4||44.7||5||111.42||22.1||88.4||90||5.41|
|-||37||51||-||University of Miyazaki||National||52.1||-25.9||1.4||16.7||64.5||42.5||2||421.92||8.3||73.4||12||6.24|
Toyo Keizai admitted that the ranking system has three main problems. First, the ranking has a tendency to be affected by single-year factors such as the gain of capital by the sale of assets. Because of this, it is recommended for readers to observe the ranking of each university over the course of several years. Second, the value of university's brand is not reflected in the rankings. For this reason, some prestigious universities are unfairly placed in low positions. Third, there are no individual categories, such as private or public schools. As such, the universities' individual characteristics and strengths are not adequately considered. Furthermore, the total amount spent per student does not consider labor costs, thereby improperly evaluating the Liberal Arts Colleges which spend significant amounts on labor (e.g. International Christian University).
- 増田 晶文 "大学は学生に何ができるか" 2003
- Unlike other countries whose universities are mainly public, 77% of Japanese universities are private , hence they can be bankrupt. If some university provided perfect education and research environment without any sustainable financial background, this university would disappear soon. In fact, 18 universities couldn't continue their operations in 2009.  This is one of the main reasons why TSU should consider the universities' financial circumstances as the main ranking factors.
- The financial strength is also important for national universities. Since 2004, all national universities have become corporations, and for this reason the national subsidies have been decreasing 1% every year (i.e. basically national universities should continuously increase more than 1% of income (or decrease more than 1% of costs) every year) . This means national universities are also required to have a certain level of fund-raising capacities.
- E.g. Nagoya University of Commerce of Business http://www.nucba.ac.jp/university/ranking/20101016toyo.html
- E.g. Kinki University http://www.hiro.kindai.ac.jp/news/125671960613649.html
- E.g. Kyushu Institute of Technology http://www.iizuka.kyutech.ac.jp/20091024p.html
- Toyo Keizai official website
- Full rankings 2011
- Full rankings 2010
- Full rankings 2009
- Full rankings 2008