International Christian University

Coordinates: 35°41′15″N 139°31′46″E / 35.68750°N 139.52944°E / 35.68750; 139.52944
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International Christian University
MottoExpanding Potential
TypePrivate, Liberal Arts College
EstablishedJune 15, 1949
AffiliationNon-denominational, Ecumenical, AALAU, GLAA
PresidentDr. Shoichiro Iwakiri
Academic staff
Location, ,
CampusSuburban; 153 wooden acres
LanguageJapanese; English
The Front Gate of ICU

International Christian University (国際基督教大学, Kokusai Kirisutokyō Daigaku, ICU) is a non-denominational private university located in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan, commonly known as ICU. With the efforts of Prince Takamatsu, General Douglas MacArthur, and BOJ President Hisato Ichimada, ICU was established in 1949 as the first liberal arts college in Japan. Currently the university offers 31 undergraduate majors and a graduate school. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology selected ICU as one of the 37 schools for The Top Global University Project in 2014.

ICU is unique for being a fully bilingual campus, the classes are held in either English or Japanese, with all faculty required to have strong command in both languages.[1] The university named by Forbes as a top 10 liberal arts college in Asia and ranks as the best Japanese private university by 2020 Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings.[2] Its notable alumni include Princess Mako of Akishino, Princess Kako of Akishino, President and CEO of Sony, Kaz Hirai, and U.S. Senator, Jay Rockefeller.

ICU is a member of the Alliance of Asian Liberal Arts Universities and it has several partner institutions worldwide such as The University of California system, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Georgetown University, Yonsei University, University College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of British Columbia and more.


General Douglas MacArthur, Honorary Chair of the US fundraising campaign
Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu, Honorary President of the Preparatory Committee for founding ICU
Hachiro Yuasa (ja), first President of ICU


ICU was founded in 1949. With an emphasis on reconciliation and peace, ICU was envisaged as a "University of Tomorrow", a place where Japanese and international students would live together and learn to serve the needs of an emerging, more interconnected world. When students enter ICU they sign the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights[3] and they are challenged to commit themselves to help bring about social justice and world peace. Due to this commitment to human rights, Eleanor Roosevelt delivered ICU's first convocation address.

According to JICUF (Japan ICU Foundation),

Concerted fundraising campaigns were initiated in both Japan and in North America. Hisato Ichimada, the Governor of the Bank of Japan who was Buddhist, headed the Japan campaign that raised the funds necessary to purchase a large tract of land for the university. The Honorary Chair of the US fundraising campaign was General Douglas MacArthur, and the North American public responded with generous contributions as well.[4]

The third son of the Emperor Taishō, a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa and an uncle of the Emperor Akihito Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu officiated the Honorary President of the Preparatory Committee for founding ICU.


ICU's main campus of 150 wooded acres is located in Western Tokyo, with downtown areas like Shinjuku about half an hour's train ride away. Computer and internet access is available throughout the campus.

The campus sits on ancient pre-Jomon and Jomon archaeological remains, which gives students the opportunity to participate in archaeological fieldwork. Excavated items found on the campus are on permanent display in the Hachiro Yuasa Memorial Museum. In addition, the campus is directly on the former location of a Nakajima Aircraft Company factory.

In a quiet wooded area of the campus and through a large thatched gate is the Taizanso Garden. Built in the 1920s, the garden includes a traditional Japanese tea house and the historically significant One-Mat Room constructed out of wood gathered from sacred and historic sites throughout Japan.

ICU owns a 240-acre (0.97 km2) campus in Nasu and a 13-acre (53,000 m2) retreat center in Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano Prefecture.

ICU houses a Rotary Center for peace and conflict resolution, partnering with Rotary International. It is the only Rotary Peace Center giving graduate degrees in Asia and is only one of seven Peace Centers worldwide.[5] The University of California Tokyo Study Center which hosts the UCEAP program to Japan is also located on ICU campus.[6]


International Christian University in 1950s. The main building was used by Mitaka Institute of the Nakajima Aircraft Company.[7]

ICU offers bachelor's degrees in liberal arts fields, as well as master's and doctoral degrees in education, public administration, comparative culture and the natural sciences. About 18% of the faculty come from overseas (primarily English-speaking countries). There is a strong English language program (ELP), taught by tenured and contract faculty English teachers, which was embroiled in a contentious curricular reform in 2010[8] leading to the name being changed to the ELA (English for Liberal Arts program) in April 2012.[9] Academics who aspire to teach at ICU are required to submit a reference who can testify to their commitment to Christianity, despite the university's stance that increasing adherents to the Christian faith is not its primary goal.[10]

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Students choose one or two majors as single major, double major or major/minor. Over 30 majors are being offered as of 2022.[11]

Graduate programs[edit]

Graduate programs at the university include:[12]

Bilingual academics[edit]

The languages of instruction at ICU are Japanese and English. Around 30% of all courses are offered in English, the rest in Japanese or in both languages.[13]

Prospective students without prior Japanese language knowledge are able to apply under a documentary screening process, instead of undergoing the entrance exams held in Japanese. These students are required to have college level English proficiency and subsequently take ICU Japanese Language Programs (JLP) courses to gain bilingualism and eventually take courses taught in Japanese.[14]

Under the policy of bilingualism of ICU curriculum, students take language courses for their non-dominant language in their freshman and sophomore year (Depending on the student's language requirements, English for Liberal Arts or Japanese Language Programs).[15]

Each campus department staffs employees with strong command in both languages. Student resources, ICU websites, and campus bulletin boards are in both Japanese and English to accommodate students from any language background.[16]

Trimester system[edit]

The academic year is divided into trimesters of approximately eleven weeks each with each course lasting one trimester term. This allows for a dynamic learning experience, one where students can design their own curricula as their interests change and develop.

Japan ICU Foundation[edit]

The Japan ICU Foundation (JICUF)[17] was incorporated in New York State on November 23, 1948, and helped to establish ICU in 1953. Today, the foundation maintains two non-profit corporations: The Japan ICU Foundation, Inc. and the JICUF Endowment, Inc.

The Japan ICU Foundation supports ICU in a variety of ways, including providing scholarships, running a faculty exchange program, providing funding for international programs and projects and helping to fund new buildings on campus. The Foundation has offices in New York City. The current Executive Director of JICUF is Paul Hastings.[18]

Research institutes[edit]

ICU has eight research institutes as of 2016. In addition to research, these institutes plan and sponsor conferences, lectures, symposia and seminars as well as provide students with opportunities to meet distinguished scholars from Japan and overseas.

  • The Institute of Educational Research and Service (IERS)
  • The Social Science Research Institute (SSRI)
  • The Institute for the Study of Christianity and Culture (ICC)
  • The Institute of Asian Cultural Studies (IACS)
  • The Peace Research Institute (PRI)
  • The Research Center for Japanese Language Education (RCJLE)
  • The Institute for Advanced Studies of Clinical Psychology (IASCP)
  • The Center for Gender Studies (CGS)

Student life[edit]


As of 2011, ICU had 2851 undergraduates studying in the College of Liberal Arts, with 1041 male students and 1810 female students. The ICU Graduate School had 150 students, with 64 men and 86 women. 90.5% of ICU's undergraduate and graduate students are Japanese citizens, and the remainder represent 44 countries. Many returnee Japanese students that have lived overseas, also known as kikokushijo (帰国子女), make up the student body.[19]

The majority of ICU students live off-campus, either at home with their families or in apartments. As of 2010, about 600 students were living on campus.

International Education Exchange Programs[edit]

More than half of the students participate in study abroad programs during their time at ICU. The percentage of students who study abroad through ICU programs before they graduate is 55.5% (in 2014). Students who come from abroad to study at ICU on a year-long exchange program are referred to as OYRs (One Year Regulars).

ICU Dining Hall[edit]

The ICU Dining Hall, also known as Gakki (ガッキ), is the official cafeteria of International Christian University. Rebuilt in 2010, Gakki is a public, self-service cafeteria and is one of the newest buildings on campus.

Student clubs/circles[edit]

ICU students are known for their remarkable energy and initiative in creating a kaleidoscope of student-led and student-managed co-curricular activities. There are about 100 student-led clubs and organizations in the arts, sports, academic and social fields. New clubs are formed as student interest dictates, and most ICU students participate in one or more of these organizations.

After graduation[edit]

As of 2016, 95.3% of ICU undergraduate alumni (students seeking employment) land a job right after graduation.[20] ICU students have found employment in a wide range of industries, particularly with global companies.

Over 20% of students go on to graduate school overseas and in Japan. Domestic and Overseas Universities include: International Christian University, University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Hitotsubashi University, University of Oxford, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of London, and Harvard University.


Accreditation actions had been taken at the American Academy for Liberal Education Board of Trustees Meeting at November 2005.[21]

  • International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan – granted Programmatic Accreditation, through November 2015

ICU's academic programs of the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School are individually chartered by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). ICU has also received accreditation from the Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA).[22]

Academic rankings[edit]

University rankings
WE [ja] National[23] Employment 24
NBP Greater Tokyo[24][25] Reputation 10
Shimano National[26] Selectivity Most Selective (SA)
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version)[27]
General 174

There are several rankings related to ICU, shown below.

General rankings[edit]

In 2019, ICU was ranked 11th among all universities in Japan, and 1st among private universities by Times Higher Education and Benesse.[28] QS World University Rankings ranked ICU as 174th in Asia in 2016.[29] Forbes made a list of top 10 liberal arts colleges in Asia including ICU that was based on the 2014 QS University rankings for Asia.[30]

Alumni rankings[edit]

According to the Weekly Economist's (Shūkan ekonomisuto [ja]) 2010 rankings and the (PRESIDENT inc. [ja]) article on 2006/10/16, graduates from ICU have the 24th best employment rate in 400 major companies, and their average graduate salary is the 4th best in Japan.[31][32][33]

Popularity and selectivity[edit]

ICU is one of the most selective universities in Japan. Its entrance difficulty is usually considered one of the top among 730 private universities. National and public universities use different kinds of exams. Thus it's only comparable between universities in the same category, e.g., Yoyogi seminar [ja] published Hensachi (the indication showing the entrance difficulties by prep schools) rankings.[34] Japanese journalist Kiyoshi Shimano [ja] ranks its entrance difficulty as SA (most selective/out of 11 scales) in Japan, which includes only four private universities and 11 national universities.[35]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also List in Japanese version


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Fully Bilingual Campus Organizational Structure | ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY".
  2. ^ "Japan University Rankings 2020". Times Higher Education (THE). May 30, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "Student Pledge – ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  4. ^ "HISTORY".
  5. ^ "International Christian University Rotary Peace Center". International Christian University Rotary Peace Center.
  6. ^ "University of California Tokyo Study Center, EAP, Japan Program, Sign Out, UC Center, カリフォルニア大学東京スタディセンター". Archived from the original on February 17, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  7. ^ 中島飛行機株式会社その軌跡 (in Japanese). Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  8. ^ Hale, C. (2010). "Change, Conflict and Conant: ELP Reform and ICU's Liberal Arts Heritage. Language research bulletin. 25" (PDF). Tokyo: International Christian University. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  9. ^ "English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA)|English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA)|ICU - INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". ICU - INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY.
  12. ^ "Master's course | ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  13. ^ "FAQ | ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "FAQ | ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  15. ^ "Policies | ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Archived from the original on January 19, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "A Fully Bilingual Campus Organizational Structure | ICU – INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "Home Cover Page". Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  18. ^ "Staff & Trustees".
  19. ^ "Number of Current Students, Capacity | ICU - INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY". Archived from the original on March 7, 2017.
  21. ^ "American Academy for Liberal Education: Recent Higher Education Accreditation Reviews and Actions". Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  22. ^ "Accreditation, Self-Study and Evaluation | ICU - INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY".
  23. ^ "Employment rate in 400 major companies rankings" (in Japanese). Weekly Economist. 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  24. ^ "Nikkei BP Brand rankings of Japanese universities" (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  25. ^ "Nikkei BP Brand rankings of Japanese universities" (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  26. ^ "GBUDU University Rankings" (in Japanese). YELL books. 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  27. ^ "QS Asian University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  28. ^ "Best universities in Japan". Student. March 25, 2021.
  29. ^ "QS University Rankings: Asia 2016". Top Universities.
  30. ^ Klebnikov, Sergei. "Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges In Asia – pg.1". Forbes. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  31. ^ "Employment rate in 400 major companies rankings" (in Japanese). Weekly Economist. 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  32. ^ 大学偏差値情報局 (February 22, 1999). "年収偏差値・給料偏差値ランキング(2006・10・16):稼げる大学はどれ?". Event occurs at 02:51. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  33. ^ This 400 major companies exclude foreign companies, thus the ranking position tends to be lower for ICU which has many alumni who work in foreign companies
  34. ^ "代々木ゼミナール(予備校) – ご案内". Archived from the original on April 22, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  35. ^ 危ない大学・消える大学 2012年版 (in Japanese). YELL books. 2011. ASIN 4753930181.
  36. ^ "陳新滋獲委任為香港浸會大學校長 (Chan Sun-Chi appointed as Hong Kong Baptist University president)". China Review News. October 19, 2009. Archived from the original on October 22, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  37. ^ "Kaori Enjoji".

External links[edit]

35°41′15″N 139°31′46″E / 35.68750°N 139.52944°E / 35.68750; 139.52944