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Preserving Traditions While Continuing to Evolve

Founded in 1858 by Yukichi Fukuzawa, Keio University is Japan’s first modern institution of higher learning. Over the years Keio has continued to evolve while preserving its tradition of management through the willing cooperation of private individuals and groups.

In order to survive globalization, which has been the defining feature of the 21st century, universities must meet world standards while maintaining its uniqueness. Keio’s distinctive characteristic lies in its contribution to Japan’s modernization by remaining private, and sending out individuals who are instilled with the spirit of independence and self-respect and who have the ability to think independently about the future of our world without being swayed by the trends of the moment?to every field of society. While this is an enduring principle of Keio, we are also required to strengthen education and research to adapt to the changing times. Keio University must serve the educational needs of our students head-on; provide research support that respects individual academic disciplines while encouraging collaboration and integration among them; listen to the voices of the students and faculty; aim for an institutional management that places importance on harmony and contentment among all members. Keio University must not forget its origin as a place of learning, and contribute to society by enhancing education, research, and medicine.

“A school is not a place for teaching. It is an instrument for supporting individual growth without hindering the flowering of innate talents.” (Bunmei Kyoiku-ron, Yukichi Fukuzawa). In an age of transformation, not only do we need to acquire knowledge, but also the ability to break through and rise above unexpected challenges. To become a global leader with the spirit of independence and self-respect in a century marked by dramatic changes, one needs to have the insight to discern the true nature of an unrecognized problem; creativity to generate solutions; communication skills to understand different cultures, correctly convey the history and culture of your own country, and overcome differences; and universal moral values that transcend ethnicity and religion.

To foster such individuals, a knowledge acquisition approach to learning is insufficient. There is a need to unlock and maximize the potential of each student by providing a diverse learning environment and education within and outside Japan. In recent years, Keio University’s undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as its affiliated schools, have undertaken various initiatives to develop distinctive international programs, such as expanding the study abroad system, promoting double degree programs, and implementing Japan’s first double diploma program at the high school level. Furthermore, with the goal of attracting a wide range of talented students from within Japan, the university has established the Keio University Gakumon no Susume Scholarship for students living outside the greater Tokyo area and has also implemented new test-optional admissions policies which evaluate communication skills and the ability to think. At the same time, the university has built a framework consisting of the three initiatives of Longevity, Security, and Creativity in which the wide-ranging distinctive research carried out at the university is integrated and into which capital and human resources are injected; and the new hospital building on Shinanomachi Campus, which serves as a base for world-class advanced medical care and research, was completed in 2018.

Diverse students pursuing a diverse range of learning in a free and uninhibited atmosphere?this is how global leaders with the spirit of independence and self-respect are fostered. One person alone cannot implement successful university reform. The entire community of Keio must think independently, while the headquarters supports the autonomous efforts of the individual departments and acts as a powerful facilitator to solve university-wide issues. I believe the spirt of “national independence through personal independence” also applies to university reform.

Professor Akira Haseyama
President, Keio University

Professor Akira Haseyama


*Please refer to the link below to watch some of the past speeches by the President

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