Ranked as one of Japan’s top private universities, Sophia University was the country’s first Catholic university.
Established in 1913, the university was set up by three Jesuit priests who had arrived in Japan five years earlier in response to a request from the Roman Pontiff at that time, Pope Pius X.
Taking its name from the Greek word for wisdom, its Japanese name - Jouchi Daigaku – literally means the ‘University of Higher Wisdom’.
Its school insignia also reflects this ideal, modelled after the eagle which flies toward the ‘light of truth’ – which is also its motto ‘Lux Veritas’.
Led by its first president German botanist Hermann Hoffman, the Jesuit university was initially for men only, but admitted its first women in 1957 – with men and women now represented in largely equal numbers.
With its main campus in the heart of Tokyo, the highly-selective university has nine faculties, 10 graduate schools and 18 research institutions and centres, with smaller campuses found in the Yotsuya, Mejiro Seibo, Ichigaya, Shakujii and Hadano areas of Japan’s capital city.
Over the years, the university has created a global network that allows researchers and students from overseas to teach and study in Japan, and Japanese researchers and students to do the same abroad. Its international partners include dozens of institutions across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia – with particularly strong links to universities in the US, Germany and France.
Among its alumni, known as Sophians, are the former Japanese prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, ex-chief minister of Malaysia Mukhriz Mahathir and Star Trek actor George Takei.