Osaka University

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Osaka University
Osaka University logo.svg
Motto in English
Live Locally, Grow Globally
Type Public (National)
Established Kaitokudo founded 1724; Osaka Imperial University established 1931
Budget186.718 billion yen (2023) [1] [2]
President Shojiro Nishio
Academic staff
3,357 [1]
Administrative staff
3,672 [1]
Students23,226 [1]
Undergraduates 15,075 [1]
Postgraduates 8,151 [1]
3,374 [1]
Other students
537 (research students and auditors) [3]
Location, ,
Campus Suburban, 1.58 km² [2]
Authorized Student Groups59 sports-related, 70 culture-related [4]
Colors   Sky blue
MascotDr. Wani [5]
Osaka University Logo.png

Osaka University (大阪大学, Ōsaka daigaku), abbreviated as OU or Handai (阪大), is a national research university in Osaka, Japan. The university traces its roots back to Edo-era institutions Tekijuku (1838) and Kaitokudo (1724), and was officially established in 1931 as the sixth of the Imperial Universities in Japan, with two faculties: science and medicine. Following the post-war educational reform, it merged with three pre-war higher schools, reorganizing as a comprehensive university with five faculties: science, medicine, letters, law and economics, and engineering. [6] After the merger with Osaka University of Foreign Studies in 2007, Osaka University became the largest national university in Japan by undergraduate enrollment.

Osaka University is one of the most productive research institutions in Japan. Numerous prominent scholars and scientists have attended or worked at Osaka University, such as Nobel Laureate in Physics Hideki Yukawa, manga artist Osamu Tezuka, Lasker Award winner Hidesaburō Hanafusa, author Ryōtarō Shiba, and discoverer of regulatory T cells Shimon Sakaguchi.


Osaka Imperial University Nakanoshima campus Osaka Imperial University.jpg
Osaka Imperial University Nakanoshima campus

The academic traditions of Osaka University reach back to the Kaitokudō (懐徳堂), an Edo-period school for local citizens founded in 1724, and the Tekijuku (適塾), a school of Rangaku for samurai founded by Ogata Kōan in 1838. The spirit of the university's humanities programmes is believed to be intimately rooted in the history of the Kaitokudō, whereas that of the natural and applied sciences is based upon the traditions of the Tekijuku. [6] Osaka University traces its modern origins back the founding of Osaka Prefectural Medical School in downtown Osaka City in 1869. The school was later designated the Osaka Prefectural Medical College with university status by the University Ordinance (Imperial Ordinance No. 388) in 1919. The Medical College merged with the newly founded College of Science to form Osaka Imperial University in 1931. Osaka Imperial University was the sixth imperial university in Japan. Osaka Technical College was incorporated to form the School of Engineering two years later. The entire university was renamed Osaka University in 1947.

After merging with Naniwa High School and Osaka High School as a result of the government's education system reform in 1949, Osaka University started its postwar era with five faculties: Science, Medicine, Engineering, Letters, and Law. Since that time new faculties and research institutes have been established, including the first Japanese School of Engineering Science and the School of Human Sciences which covers such cross-disciplinary research interests as broadly as psychology, sociology, and education. Built on the then-existing faculties, ten graduate schools were set up as part of the government's education system reform program in 1953. Two more graduate faculties were added in 1994.

In 1993, Osaka University Hospital was relocated from the Nakanoshima campus in downtown Osaka to the Suita campus, completing the implementation of the university's plan to integrate the scattered facilities into the Suita and Toyonaka campuses. In October 2007, a merger between Osaka University and the Osaka University of Foreign Studies in Minoh was completed. The merger made Osaka University one of two national universities in the country with a School of Foreign Studies, along with the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. The merger also made Osaka University the largest national university in Japan.


Osaka University Hall Osaka University toyonaka daigaku-hall.jpg
Osaka University Hall
Medical Building Osaka University Faculty of Medicine.jpg
Medical Building
Minoh Campus Osaka University Minoh Campus 2021-08 ac (2).jpg
Minoh Campus

Toyonaka campus

The Toyonaka campus is home to faculties of Humanities, Law, Economics, Science, and Engineering Science. It is also the academic base for Graduate Schools of International Public Policy, Language and Culture, a portion of Information Science, and the Center for the Practice of Legal and Political Expertise. All undergraduates attend classes on the Toyonaka campus during their first year of enrollment. Sports activities are primarily concentrated on the Toyonaka campus, with the exception of tennis, which is located in Suita.

Suita campus

The Suita campus houses faculties of Human Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Engineering. It contains the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences and a portion of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. The campus is also home to the Osaka University Hospital and the Nationwide Joint Institute of Cybermedia Center and Research Center for Nuclear Physics.

Minoh campus

The Minoh campus was incorporated following the merger with the Osaka University of Foreign Studies in October 2007. The Minoh campus is home to the School of Foreign Studies, the Research Institute for World Languages, and the Center for Japanese Language and Culture.

In addition to these three campuses, the former Nakanoshima campus, the university's earliest campus located in downtown Osaka, served as the hub for the faculty of medicine until the transfer to the Suita campus was completed in 1993. [7] In April 2004, the Nakanoshima campus became the university's Nakanoshima Center, serving as a venue for information exchange, adult education classes, and activities involving academic as well as non-academic communities.


Osaka University consists of 11 undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The undergraduate schools include Letters, Human Sciences, Foreign Studies, Law, Economics, Science, (Faculty of) Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering, and Engineering Science. At postgraduate level, the schools cover a range of disciplines: Humanities, Human Sciences, Law and Politics, Economics, Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering, Engineering Science, International Public Policy, Information Science and Technology, Frontier Biosciences, Law (Law School), and the United School of Child Development, which is a collaboration with Kanazawa University, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Chiba University, and the University of Fukui. [8]

Osaka University also has 21 research institutes, 4 libraries, and 2 university hospitals. [9]

Some staff at Osaka University are represented by the General Union, a member of the National Union of General Workers, which is itself a member of the National Trade Union Council. [10]

Osaka University maintains four overseas Centers for Education and Research, in San Francisco, Groningen, Bangkok, and Shanghai.

English-medium programs

Osaka University's School of Human Sciences on the Suita Campus hosts an English-medium four-year undergraduate degree program. [11] The program started in 2011 as a result of the national government's G30 (Global 30) Project. Although the government ended the G30 Project in 2014 [12] and replaced it with the Top Global University Project, the OU Human Sciences International Undergraduate Program continues. Areas of study include sociology, anthropology, philosophy, education, behavioral sciences, psychology, human development, and area studies. Focus is on the development of an interdisciplinary, international, and problem-solving orientation to research and education. The degree programme is based on international benchmarking standards, has competitive entry requirements and attracts students from all over the world. The current director of this programme is Beverley Yamamoto, who leads a UNESCO Chair in Global Health and Education.

Osaka University's Graduate School of Humanities hosts another English-medium program in Global Japanese Studies for graduate students, one of the Graduate Programs for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies. [13]

Academic alliances

Osaka University has academic exchange agreements with a large number of universities in other countries and regions. These academic exchange agreements have been concluded on the university-to-university level and also on the school-to-school level. Joint research as well as researcher and student exchanges take place between Osaka University and these universities and schools. At certain of these universities and schools, it is possible for undergraduate and graduate students to take classes and/or engage in research for up to one year without paying tuition to that university or school while retaining their enrollment status at their home university. Inter-university agreements number is 156, and inter-faculty agreements number is 651 as of May 1, 2024. [14]

Osaka University's academic alliances include Cornell University (1989), Harvard University (2008), Stanford University (2008), and the California Institute of Technology (2008) in the United States, McGill University (1996), the University of Toronto (1999) and the University of British Columbia (2019) in Canada, Seoul National University (2000) and Yonsei University (1998) in South Korea, Peking University (2001) and Tsinghua University (2004) in China, the National University of Singapore (2008), the National Taiwan University (2008), the University of Hong Kong, and Australian National University (1995). In Europe, alliances include the University of Groningen (2002), the University of Bologna (2006), the University of Geneva (2007), and the University of Cologne (1982). Allied institutions in the United Kingdom include the University of Oxford (1997) and the Imperial College London (2006).

Academic rankings

University rankings
THE National [15] General 3
QS Asia
(Asia version) [16]
General 24
THE Asia
(Asia version) [17]
General 28
THE World [18] General 175
QS World [19] General 86
ARWU World [20] Research 151–200


Osaka University is recognised as a prestigious university, evident in its consistent high rankings both domestically and internationally. In the 2024 QS World University Rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds, Osaka University was placed 80th globally and 3rd in Japan, after UTokyo and KyotoU. [21] In the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, it was ranked 175th globally. [22]

As a research institution, Osaka University ranks highly in Japan. According to Thomson Reuters, it is ranked 2nd for innovation in Japan and 22nd worldwide. [23]


Its notable research achievements include leading positions in immunology (first in Japan, fourth globally), material science (fourth in Japan, fifteenth globally), and chemistry (fifth in Japan, fourteenth globally). [24] It also ranks seventh for research funding per researcher in the Japanese COE Programme and third in Japan for the number of patents accepted in 2017. [25]

In the Nature index 2024 annual table, Osaka University was ranked 34th globally for its output in selected journals in the fields of natural sciences and Health Sciences research, among all leading research institutions in the world (3rd in Japan). [26]


Osaka University is one of the most selective universities in Japan. In most Japanese university selectivity tables, Osaka University comes after the top two universities, the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University.


Osaka University and Nagoya University hold regular Athletics Competition every year. Recent years Osaka also has a regular windsurfing competition relationship with Kyoto University, Kobe University, [30] and Taiwan's National Sun Yat-sen University. [31]

Notable people


Business and Arts


Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "大阪大学プロフィール" (PDF) (in Japanese). 大阪大学 企画部 広報課. 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 July 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  2. 1 2 "2023年版" . Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  3. "学生数(学部学生、大学院学生、非正規生)". 1 May 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021. 特別聴講学生を含まない。
  4. Introduction to Official Student Groups. Accessed on 2018-12-18.
  5. "大阪大学 ワニ博士". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  6. 1 2 "History of the University". Osaka University. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  7. History of Osaka University — Osaka University. Retrieved on 2011-06-26.
  8. "Osaka University - Schools & Centers". Osaka University. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  9. History of Osaka University — Osaka University. (2007-10-01). Retrieved on 2014-06-17.
  10. General Union website Osaka U: Massive cuts to come for part-timers Archived 2018-12-04 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on June 6, 2012
  11. "Human Science International Undergraduate Degree Program OSAKA UNIVERSITY". Human Science International Undergraduate Degree Program OSAKA UNIVERSITY. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  12. "DEGREE PROGRAMS in English at Kyushu University | Our Globalization Project : MEXT's "Global 30" Project |". (in Japanese). Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  13. "高度副プログラム「グローバル・ジャパン・スタディーズ」(Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Global Japanese Studies)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  14. "Osaka University - International Exchange Agreements". 1 May 2024. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  15. "Japan University Rankings 2023". Times Higher Education. 2023. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  16. "QS Asian University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2023. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  17. "Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2024. Retrieved 30 April 2024.
  18. "THE World University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2024. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  19. "QS World University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2025. Retrieved 4 June 2024.
  20. "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2023. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  21. "QS World University Rankings 2024: Top Global Universities". QS Top Universities. 13 May 2024. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  22. "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 25 September 2023. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  23. "Thomson Reuters 20 Top research institutions in Japan". Thomson Reuters. 2011. Archived from the original on 21 August 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011. This ranking includes 5 non-educational institutions.
  24. "Thomson Reuters 20 Top research institutions in Japan" (PDF). Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012. This ranking includes non-educational institutions.
  25. "特許行政年次報告書2018年版, Japanese patent office, accessed February 4, 2019" (PDF). (in Japanese). Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  26. "Nature Index Tables - Top 200 institutions". Nature Index Tables - Top 200 institutions. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  27. "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024". QS World University Rankings .
  28. "World University Rankings by subject". Times Higher Education World University Rankings .
  29. "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2023". Academic Ranking of World Universities .
  30. "京阪神戦". Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  31. "第一回 大阪大学・台湾中山大学ヨット定期戦 結果報告". Retrieved 1 March 2023.

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