Ritsumeikan University

Not to be confused with Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.
Ritsumeikan University

Zonshinkan is a building on the Kinugasa Campus.
Former names
Kyoto Hosei School
Motto Beyond Borders
Type Private
Established 1900 (chartered 1922)
President Yoshida Mikio
Academic staff
Undergraduates 32,280
Postgraduates 2,089
Other students
1,194 (International)
Location Kyoto (Kyoto), Kusatsu (Shiga), Ibaraki (Osaka), Japan
35°01′57″N 135°43′27″E / 35.032579°N 135.724041°E / 35.032579; 135.724041Coordinates: 35°01′57″N 135°43′27″E / 35.032579°N 135.724041°E / 35.032579; 135.724041
Campus Kinugasa & Suzaku (Kyoto), Biwako-Kusatsu (Kusatsu, Shiga), OIC (Ibaraki, Osaka)
Colours           Crimson and White
Sports Ritsumeikan Panthers
Mascot Panthera pardus
Affiliations APSIA, INU, Global 30, Kansai Big 6
Website www.ritsumei.ac.jp
As of May 2013[1]

Ritsumeikan University (立命館大学 Ritsumeikan Daigaku, abbreviated to Rits and 立命 Ritsumei) is a private university in Kyoto, Japan, that traces its roots to 1869. With the Kinugasa Campus(KIC) in Kyoto, and Kyoto Prefecture. the university also has a satellite called Biwako-Kusatsu Campus (BKC) and Osaka-Ibaraki Campus(OIC).

Today, Ritsumeikan university is known as one of western Japan's four leading private universities. KAN-KAN-DO-RITS 関関同立 (Kwansei Gakuin University, Kansai University, Doshisha University, and Ritsumeikan University) is the abbreviation that many people refer to when talking about the four leading private universities in the region (of 20 million people). Ritsumeikan University is considered to be one of Japan's top universities, and is especially well known for its International Relations programme which has been ranked as first place in Japan. Moreover, in today’s newspaper, it is listed as the ‘top private university in Japan for policy science’. It has exchange programmes with schools throughout the world, including The University of British Columbia, The University of Melbourne, The University of Sydney, University of Hong Kong and King's College London. The school also offers a dual bachelor's degree program and dual master's degree programme in collaboration with American University, and offers a dual bachelor's degree in collaboration with The University of British Columbia. It has a relatively strong network of alumni in Kansai region and has produced a number of CEOs in Japanese companies as well as politicians.

Ritsumeikan University Panthers is a very strong collegiate football team in Japan and won three national champions, seven collegiate champions, and nine conference champions.


Ritsumeikan was first founded as a private academy in 1869 by Prince Saionji Kinmochi. In 1900, Kojuro Nakagawa (the former secretary of Prince Saionji) established the Kyoto Hosei School, a law school that eventually adopted the Ritsumeikan name (with the prince's permission) and was awarded full university status in 1922.[2] Historically, the school was seen as a liberal alternative to the state-run Kyoto University.

The name "Ritsumeikan" comes from a Mencius quotation:

Some die young, as some live long lives. This is decided by fate. Therefore, one's duty consists of cultivating one's mind during this mortal span and thereby "establishing one's destiny". (in Japanese, 立命, ritsumei)

The "kan" addition to "ritsumei" signifies a place.

Colleges and graduate schools (by campus)

Kinugasa Campus

The Ritsumeikan Charter
Nakagawa Kaikan building on the Suzaku Campus
Rohm Plaza of Biwako Kusatsu Campus
Saionji Memorial Hall (Kinugasa Campus, Kyoto, Japan)
Zonshinkan Hall (Kinugasa Campus, Kyoto, Japan)
Hirai Kaichiro Memorial Library

In Kita-ku, Kyoto, this liberal arts-oriented campus is a roughly five-minute walk from Ryōan-ji and Kinkaku-ji temples. The campus has eight graduate schools, 17,000 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students.[3]

Suzaku Campus

In Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto. This campus houses the School of Law, Graduate School of Management, and Graduate School of Public Policy, in addition to the Ritsumeikan Academy headquarters.

Biwako-Kusatsu Campus (BKC)

Biwako-Kusatsu Campus is in Kusatsu, Shiga. This technology-oriented campus is southeast of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, and is a 30-minute train ride from Kyōto Station. The campus has four undergraduate colleges, four graduate schools, 16,000 undergraduates and 1,600 graduate students.

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

The Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (立命館 アジア 太平洋 大学, Ritsumeikan Ajia Taiheiyō Daigaku) is a private institution inaugurated April 2000 in Beppu, Ōita Prefecture, Japan. Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University was made possible through the collaboration of three parties from the public and private sectors: Oita Prefecture, Beppu City and the Ritsumeikan University. APU has an enrollment of just under 6,000 students. Approximately half of the students and faculty members come from overseas.


Ritsumeikan Panthers athletics logo

American Football

The university has supported an American football rules team since 1953. The team has won three national championships, seven collegiate championships, and nine conference championship.


Art Research Center (Kinugasa Campus)

Research Center for Disaster Mitigation Systems

Established in April 2005 on the Biwako-Kusatsu Campus, work at this center focuses on disaster mitigation using sensor systems and computer networks.

Art Research Center

Located at Kinugasa Campus, this center houses the Digital Humanities Center for Japanese Arts and Cultures, which focuses on research on Japanese art and culture using digital archives, databases and geographical information systems.


The Kyoto Museum for World Peace seeks to critically examine Japan’s militaristic past, and includes numerous exhibits ranging from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5 to the Iraq War.

SR center

Located at BKC campus, this center is established for research using Synchrotron Radiation.[9]


As of 2006, Ritsumeikan University and the General Union were in dispute over a contract system that limited employment for some educators to three years.[10]

Notable people associated with Ritsumeikan

Famous people affiliated with Ritsumeikan University, including graduates, former students, and professors:

List of partner universities

A full list of partner institutions of Ritsumeikan University can be found on the website.[11]


Macquarie University
The University of Sydney
The University of Melbourne
The University of Queensland
The University of Western Australia


Peking University
Tsinghua University
Fudan University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
University of Science and Technology of China
Dongbei University of Finance and Economics


National University of Singapore (NUS)
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)


Gadjah Mada University
University of Indonesia
Padjajaran University
Institut Teknologi Bandung
Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta

South Korea

Seoul National University
KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology
Korea University
Inha University
Dongguk University
Yonsei University
Sangmyung University


Simon Fraser University
University of British Columbia
University of Alberta

United States

American University
University of Southern California
Georgetown University
Ohio Northern University (ONU)
Oklahoma City University
Rutgers University
University of Alabama
University of Washington
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
University of Minnesota
University of Oklahoma
Florida International University
University of Hawaii[12]

United Kingdom

SOAS, University of London
King's College London, University of London
University of Edinburgh
University of Warwick
The University of Manchester
Cardiff University

Czech Republic

Masaryk University


École Normale Supérieure
École Polytechnique
Strasbourg University
Aix-Marseille University
Paris Diderot University


University of Helsinki


Autonomous University of Barcelona

Saudi Arabia

King Abdulaziz University
Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University


Some staff at Ritsumeikan University are represented by the General Union, a member of the National Union of General Workers (NUGW), which is itself a member of the National Trade Union Council (Zenrokyo).[13]

See also


  1. "2013 General Data | Facts & Figures | About | Ritsumeikan University". Ritsumei.ac.jp. 2013-03-31. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  2. "Chronology of Ritsumeikan" (PDF). Ritsumeikan University.
  3. Archived December 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "Ritsumeikan University School of Law". Ritsumei.ac.jp. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  5. Archived October 10, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "経営学部 - 立命館大学". Ritsumei.ac.jp. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  7. "立命館大学 経済学研究科". Ritsumei.ac.jp. 2000-08-30. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  8. "Graduate School of Technology Management Ritsumeikan University" (in Japanese). Ritsumei.ac.jp. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  9. "立命館大学 SRセンター". Ritsumei.ac.jp. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  10. "Foreign teacher unionists face ax". The Japan Times. 2005-07-09. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  11. "Partner Institutions | About | Ritsumeikan University". Ritsumei.ac.jp. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  12. "Partner Institutions | About | Ritsumeikan University". Ritsumei.ac.jp. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  13. "General Union Ritsumeikan Branch 立命館大学支部". Generalunion.org. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
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