Jissen Women's University is a private institution divided between the Tokyo districts of Hino, best known for the truck company of the same name, and Shibuya, a fashion district which also boasts two of the busiest railway stations in the world. It was founded in 1899 by Utoko Shimoda, one of Japan’s most significant native pioneers of women’s education.
Her foundation of Jissen Girls School and Girls Polytechnic in the Kujimachi district followed on from experience as an educator dating back to 1882 and the insights from a two-year study trip to the US and UK. The two institutions, which were to merge in 1908, moved to Shibuya in 1903 and introduced classes for Chinese students in 1905.
The destruction of its buildings in 1945 was followed by refoundation, as Jissen Women’s College, in 1947 and achieved university status two years later. The Hino campus was created in 1965 and upgraded in the years up to the creation of the new Shibuya Campus as home to the university’s humanities and social science faculties and the associated Junior College in 2014. Science remains at Hino, where a sports ground was built on land vacated by the other faculties.
Operating under the mottoes of "dignity and elegance" and "independence and self-management", JWU had a roll of just under 4,000 students in 2015. Its 2013 accreditation by the Association of Japanese Universities pointed to strengths in programmes like the Practica Alumnae scheme linking alumni with current students and a cooperation agreement with Ena in Gifu Prefecture, Shimoda’s home town.