History

Public Relations Office        September 5, 2017

Founded by an American missionary, Kwansei Gakuin aims to train missionaries and educate young people based on the principles of Christianity

Inaugural faculty and students

Kwansei Gakuin was founded in 1889 in Kobe, Japan by Dr. Walter Russell Lambuth (later Bishop), a missionary of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. It was intended to be a small private institution with two departments, a theological school and a middle school. In 1910 the Canadian Methodist Church and the Japanese Methodist Church joined its operation, and Kwansei Gakuin was able to open a college with literary and commercial courses in 1912.

In 1929 a growing Kwansei Gakuin moved to the rural farmland which is the site of the present campus in Nishinomiya-Uegahara. Three years later, it acquired the status of a full degree-granting university and continued as one of 54 such institutions in Japan until the end of World War II. In 1948, the university embraced the new 6-3-3-4 school system (six years in elementary school, three in junior high, three in senior high, and 4 in college), based upon the American educational framework.

Throughout its history, Kwansei Gakuin has strongly emphasized its international character. A variety of programs aim to develop globally-minded people who understand other cultures and countries of the world, and inspire them to help others, in the spirit of the school’s motto,“Mastery for Service.

Kwansei Gakuin University is now an independent co-educational institution offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in almost 40 different disciplines to around 20,000 students. There are 11 undergraduate and 13 graduate schools as well as an attached Kindergarten, Elementary School, Junior and Senior High School, Seiwa College and Seiwa Junior College. The university consistently achieves the highest academic standards among Japanese private universities and colleges.