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Soka University
Tokyo, Japan


University description (as per official university website)


Soka University opened on April 2, 1971, in Hachioji in the suburbs of Tokyo. Preparations began seven years earlier, in June, 1964, when Daisaku Ikeda, president of Soka Gakkai International, first officially announced his intention to build a university founded on the principles of Soka (value-creating) education.

Education is the foundation of culture and the vital soil that nurtures each new generation. The university, a place where wisdom and character are forged, bears a particularly vital responsibility contributing to the flourishing and prosperity of human society, to the development of peace in the world. Soka University was founded on the basis of such an ideal, at a time when the need for a new university rooted in humanistic educational principles was felt. Its establishment was inspired by a vision of fostering creative, academically rounded individuals of wisdom and character through humanistic education based on an ethic of respect for the sanctity of life.

The spirit of these ideals is encapsulated in the three founding principles set forth by Mr. Ikeda and upheld by the university:

Be the highest seat of learning for humanistic education
Be the cradle of a new culture
Be a fortress of peace for humankind
To this end, Soka University was launched, with four departments in three faculties—the faculties of Economics, Law and Letters (housing the departments of English Literature and Sociology).

Funding the university’s establishment was a major challenge. A significant portion of the capital came from Mr. Ikeda’s own private funds and from the royalties from his considerable writings, Mr. Ikeda exerting himself to write at this time for this purpose. Another sizeable portion of the funds came from the donations of a large number of members of the general public—many of these were people of modest means who shared and supported Mr. Ikeda’s vision of a university dedicated to the wellbeing of humanity. Soka University could be said to be a university founded by and for the sake of ordinary citizens.

Since its inception, Soka University has made remarkable development in every area. In 1976, five years after its founding, the faculties of Business Administration and Education were established, as was the Institute of the Japanese Language, offering Japanese language instruction for international students, and the Division of Correspondence Education, offering broader access to the university’s education programs. In 1985, Soka Women’s College was established on the campus of Soka University with a vision of contributing to the development women’s leadership.

In 1987, Soka University of Los Angeles was established in the U.S.A. The university was developed into a locally incorporated liberal arts college and opened as Soka University of America in Orange County, California, in 2001.

In 1991, Soka University’s sixth faculty, the Faculty of Engineering, was established. Currently there are nine departments in six faculties in the undergraduate program, as well as four graduate schools.

Soka University Law School and Soka University Teachers College were established in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

The present student enrollment in the university is over 8,000.

The university has also seen the ongoing development of new facilities, including the Ikeda Auditorium (in 1991), with a seating capacity of 4,000, the Central Tower (in 1999), the main administrative and classroom building containing the World Language Center and International Conference Hall, and a new gymnasium(in 2009), and construction of additional buildings for classrooms is being planned for the near future.

Concurrent with this development of the educational environment, Soka University has been actively developing academic and educational exchanges with various overseas universities. Currently, Soka University’s international exchange program is one of the most vigorous in Japan. The university has established exchange agreements with 105 universities in 44 countries and regions of the world as of April 2009. In 2006, the Soka University Beijing Center opened, bringing a further dimension to Soka University’s efforts to strengthen exchange with China.

As a university committed to student-centered education, considerable enthusiasm and ingenuity are expended on developing educational content. One telling result has been that many of the university’s educational models have been cited and recognized by the Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as unique and innovative approaches in contemporary education. The Ministry has also paid recognition to advanced research conducted in the university’s Faculty of Engineering. The university’s academic achievements are further evidenced in the comparatively high proportion of successful candidates it has produced for the national bar examination, the examination for certified public accountants, the teacher employment examination and other state and municipal examinations—which are among the most difficult qualifications to secure in Japan.

More than 50,000 students have graduated from Soka University since its founding and are now making their own contributions to Japanese and international society based on the founding principles of their alma mater.

A second phase of development of the university has now begun, toward the 50th anniversary of the founding in 2021. A comprehensive vision of development is being mapped, covering all aspects of the university: (1) education, (2) research, (3) student support, (4) internationalization, (5) public information, (6) administration, and (7) finance. With a firm commitment to our policy of “students first” and by responding to our rapidly changing society, Soka University will continue to grow and develop in line with its founding spirit of serving people and serving society.

Founding Principles and Mission Statement
Soka means value creation. In 1930, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), the founding president of Soka Gakkai, published the first volume of The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy, describing the education theory he had developed over the previous 40 years as an educator. In essence, to create value means to enhance life. To strive for good, toward peace; to uphold and protect human dignity; to be undaunted by hardship—the essential ideals of Soka education exist in the effort to nurture such creative humanity.

Makiguchi’s value-creation philosophy was inherited by Josei Toda (1900-1958), the second president of Soka Gakkai and, in turn, by Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai’s third president. In 1971, Ikeda founded Soka University, actualizing the ideals of Soka education. He put forth the following founding principles:

Be the highest seat of learning for humanistic education.
Be the cradle of a new culture.
Be a fortress for the peace of humankind.
Be the highest seat of learning for humanistic education.
The primary mission of Soka University is value-creating education, to nurture the creative, life-enhancing potential of each student and to inspire students to employ that potential for the greater benefit of humanity. This is the founder’s call.

University education should not be limited to the teaching and acquisition of specialized knowledge. The lack of distinction between knowledge and wisdom is a prime source of the crisis of modern society. What society requires is individuals who are able to freely employ knowledge in order to bring forth the wisdom to creatively confront the challenges of our ever-changing global society. Soka University strives to provide humanistic education that will foster individuals who, exercising wisdom rooted in a rich humanity, can fulfill that requirement .

Be the cradle of a new culture.
First established during medieval times in Europe, universities played a significant role in the development of scholastic philosophy based on Christianity that facilitated the birth of Renaissance. Today, in our increasingly interdependent world, an integrating philosophy that embraces and brings order to the diversity of human culture and learning is once again required. Such a philosophy, firmly grounded in a recognition of our shared humanity, can provide the basis for the development of a global culture. Toward this end, the emergence of global-minded individuals enriched by learning is crucial.

A global citizen could be defined essentially as an individual of wisdom, courage and compassion—courage to respect and appreciate differences such as race, culture and ethnicity and to make such differences a source of nourishment for one’s own growth; compassion to feel empathy and a sense of identification with people in other parts of the world. Such courage and compassion are themselves a limitless font of wisdom. Soka University aims to be a cradle for the creation of a global culture based on the solidarity of global citizens—a solidarity of creative humanity.

Be a fortress for the peace of humankind.
Because of their uncompromising opposition to the militarist government of Japan during World War II, both Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda were harshly persecuted and imprisoned. Makiguchi died in prison. Toda inherited Makiguchi's ideals, leaving prison with a fierce resolve to create a peaceful society. This resolve was encapsulated in an historic public declaration, in 1957, calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In order to actualize his predecessors' vision for peace, Daisaku Ikeda has engaged in wide-ranging dialogues with intellectuals and leading figures of the world and has been active in developing grassroots exchanges for peace among people of different nationalities and cultures. The pursuit of peace is the soul of Soka Education.

Makiguchi advocated a concept of humanitarian competition, as the ideal form of competition between nation-states. He saw this form of competition—whereby states compete in terms of their humanitarian contributions to global society—as a progression from the military and economic competition that have dominated human history. Individuals motivated by a sense of humanitarian competition—competition to increase humanity's state of happiness and peace—are what our world sorely needs. Soka University's principle of being a fortress for the peace humankind, a nexus of open dialogue between diverse peoples, encapsulates these ideals.

"For what purpose should one cultivate wisdom? May you always ask yourself this question!"

"Only labor and devotion to one's mission gives life its worth."

On the day of the university's dedication, the founder offered the above thoughts as guidelines for students then, now and in the future.

Soka University will continue to foster value-creating individuals through rigorous academia supported by a sense of mission of serving peace of the world and happiness of people.

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