It is easy to differentiate between a private and public university in Japan. All universities must register with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan under “Standards for Establishment of Universities” and declare who is the establishing body of the university.
Using data collected for the Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings, we’ve put together a list of the top 50 private universities in Japan.
Many of the top private universities in Japan can also be found in the top 100 of the overall Japan University Rankings.
The Japan University Rankings are calculated based on four broad “pillars” (resources, engagement, outcomes and environment) covering 16 performance indicators. They differ from the THE World University Rankings in that they are more focused on what institutions offer students rather than on research data. Click here to read the full methodology for the Japan rankings.
Top five private universities in Japan
Scroll down to view the universities in the top 50
The International Christian University is a non-denominational private university located in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan.
It is considered to be the most prestigious liberal arts college in Japan. It has several international partners including the University of California system, University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economic and Political Science, University of British Columbia and many more.
Classes are held in both English and Japanese across 31 different undergraduate majors and seven different master’s programmes.
Waseda University is organised into 36 departments that are then broken down into 13 undergraduate schools and 23 graduate schools. There are also 21 research institutes at the main Shinjuku campus.
In addition to a central campus in Shinjuku, the university has campuses in Chuo, Nishitokyo, Tokorozawa, Honjo, and Kitakyushu.
A number of notable alumni have come from the university including seven prime ministers of Japan, author Haruki Murakami, CEO of Uniqlo Tadashi Yanai and CEO of Nintendo Shuntaro Furukawa.
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Keio University is a private university located in Minato, Tokyo. It is considered to be Japan’s oldest private university having been founded in 1858.
It has 11 campuses located across Tokyo and Kanagawa. It has ten faculties: letters, economics, law, business and commerce, medicine, science and technology, policy management, environment and information studies, nursing and medical care, and pharmacy.
Some 14 of the degree programmes are taught in English.
Sophia University was established in 1913 by the Jesuits, a Catholic order renowned for excellence in education.
The university was founded with just three academic departments (philosophy, German literature and commerce) and has since expanded to nine undergraduate faculties and 10 graduate schools.
Students can study business and economics, science and technology and environmental sciences in English. The university also has a long tradition in Japanese studies.
5. Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University is a relatively young university having been established in 2000. It is part of the Ritsumeikan Trust.
It is located in Beppu, Oita on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan.
There are over 100 students organisations available, which cover sports, academic research, arts and social organisations (such as volunteering). Students are able to join the clubs that they are interested in, as well as start their own new ones.
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