Tokyo Woman's Christian University

Last updated
Tokyo Woman's Christian University
Tōkyō Joshi Daigaku
TWCU Gate 2023.jpg
The front gate of Tokyo Woman's Christian University
Quaecunque Sunt Vera
Motto in English
Whatsoever Things Are True
President Shoko Ono
35°42′40″N139°35′25″E / 35.71111°N 139.59028°E / 35.71111; 139.59028
Reischauer House on the campus of Tokyo Woman's Christian University in Suginami, Tokyo Tonjo0156.jpg
Reischauer House on the campus of Tokyo Woman's Christian University in Suginami, Tokyo
Administration building on the same campus Tonjo0159.jpg
Administration building on the same campus

Tokyo Woman's Christian University (東京女子大学, Tōkyō Joshi Daigaku), often abbreviated to TWCU or Tonjo (東女, Tonjo), is an independent Protestant university in Tokyo, Japan.



TWCU was established by Nitobe Inazō (1862–1933), an author, diplomat and educator, who was appointed as the first president in 1918. [1] [2] The first classes were held in Tsunohazu. [3] In the 1880s, while Nitobe was a student at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, he became a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The Quaker philosophy gave him a strong faith that Japanese women should be provided educational opportunities. Together with A.K. Reischauer (father of Edwin O. Reischauer) and Tetsu Yasui, he was dedicated to the foundation of Tokyo Woman's Christian University.


The original TWCU campus in Iogi-mura, Toyotama-gun, to which the university moved in 1924, [3] was built in the 1920s and is very significant architecturally. It was designed by Antonin Raymond who came to Tokyo with Frank Lloyd Wright to build the famous Imperial Hotel. The university includes seven registered tangible cultural properties, including the main building. In addition to TWCU's beautiful garden, the campus includes open spaces and a small forest behind the main building. In the forest, there are various plants such as plum trees, cherry trees, dogwood trees and tall pine trees, as well as raccoon dogs and many crows. Although the campus is in an urban area, it is unusually green and spacious.

The Nitobe Memorial Room is in the main building. It contains documents and photographs to explain the history and the philosophy of the university. The chapel has colorful stained glass and a pipe organ. In the morning, there is worship every day. The auditorium is used for the entrance ceremony, the university festival and the graduation ceremony. The Reischauer House, in which Dr. A.K. Reischauer lived with his family, is a registered tangible cultural property. It is built in western style architecture and has a romantic atmosphere. Building No. 23 is the most recent building and was completed in 2009. It is the tallest building in the campus. There is a wooden deck and terraces in the building and on a clear day, Mount Fuji and Tokyo Tower are visible from the top floor.


TWCU has one faculty divided into twelve departments in which undergraduates can major. The biggest department was the Department of Literature and Culture in English. This department enrolls approximately 640 students. The smallest is the Department of Philosophy which has about 160 students. In 2018, the departments of the university will undergo restructuring. [4]

Department of International English

  • Department of International English (the Department of Literature and Culture in English and the Department of Language Science will merge into the new Department of International English)

Department of Humanities

  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Japanese Literature
  • Department of History and Culture (formerly the Department of History)

Department of International Society

  • Department of International Relations
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Community Planning (newly established department)

Department of Psychology and Communication

  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Communication

Department of Mathematical Science

  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Information Sciences

TWCU provides a strong liberal arts education leading to a bachelor's degree. Students can make a curriculum from various fields, not only from their own major.

Master's degree programs and doctoral degree programs are offered in the Graduate School.

Notable Alumnae

TWCU is ranked as one of the top women's universities in Japan. Among the famous students and graduates of TWCU are

International exchanges

The university maintains connections and exchanges with other highly selective universities around the world.

English education

Tokyo Woman's Christian University provides a very high standard of English-language education. It offers a “Career English Program” where students take content courses conducted entirely in English and develop high-level critical thinking, debate, writing, speaking, and presentation skills.

In addition, weekly English conversation classes are offered at the Career English Island (CEI) with English instructors and students from other universities. Any university member is eligible to participate.

Tokyo Woman's Christian University is also one of the regular hosts of the International Theater Company London which comes from London to perform Shakespearean plays in English, directed by MBE Paul Stebbings and brought to Japan by Paula Berwanger. Past performances include A Midsummer Night's Dream, [5] Romeo and Juliet [6] and Twelfth Night. [7] The 2020 performance of Othello was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Campus festival

Every year the university festival, called "VERA Festival," is held on campus in November. "VERA" comes from the Latin "QUAECUNQUE SUNT VERA." This phrase is engraved on Tokyo Woman's Christian University's main building. It comes from Paul’s famous letter to the Philippians 4:8:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The VERA festival has a variety of performances by university clubs and many people visit.

University symbol

The university symbol was designed in 1918 by President Dr. Inazo Nitobe. The symbol has two linked “S's" which represent “service and sacrifice” and he took the initial letters of “service and sacrifice” and produced this mark expressing the Christian ethos. He taught that “service and sacrifice,” helping other people, is the best idea to represent the spirit of Christianity. This symbol appears on many kinds of things including stationery sold in the TWCU book store.

University song

During its history TWCU has had two university songs. The first song was composed by Kosaku Yamada. The second song for TWCU was composed by the English poet Edmund Blunden in 1950. The fourth president, Isao Saito, asked Blunden, who was a professor at TWCU and the University of Tokyo, to compose a new university song. This song is based on an old English hymn and is sung in Japanese at the graduation ceremony each year.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Takeo Arishima</span> Japanese novelist and essayist

Takeo Arishima was a Japanese novelist, short-story writer and essayist during the late Meiji and Taishō periods. His two younger brothers, Ikuma Arishima (有島生馬) and Ton Satomi (里美弴), were also authors. His son was the internationally known film and stage actor, Masayuki Mori.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edwin O. Reischauer</span> American diplomat, educator, and professor (1910–1990)

Edwin Oldfather Reischauer was an American diplomat, educator, and professor at Harvard University. Born in Tokyo to American educational missionaries, he became a leading scholar of the history and culture of Japan and East Asia. Together with George M. McCune, a scholar of Korea, in 1939 he developed the McCune–Reischauer romanization of the Korean language.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International Christian University</span> University in Tokyo

International Christian University is a non-denominational private university located in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan, commonly known as ICU. With the efforts of Prince Takamatsu, General Douglas MacArthur, and BOJ President Hisato Ichimada, ICU was established in 1949 as the first liberal arts college in Japan. Currently the university offers 31 undergraduate majors and a graduate school. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology selected ICU as one of the 37 schools for The Top Global University Project in 2014.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nishimachi International School</span> International School in Tokyo, Japan

Nishimachi International School (西町インターナショナルスクール), established in 1949, is an international school located in the Azabu area of Tokyo, Japan. Co-educational, non-sectarian, private K-9 day school. The main language of instruction is in English. Japanese is taught to all students every day from beginner to native speaker level.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rikkyo University</span> Private university in Tokyo, Japan

Rikkyo University, also known as Saint Paul's University, is a private university, in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan. Rikkyo is one of the five MARCH universities, the group of elite private universities in the Kanto region, together with Meiji, Aoyama Gakuin, Chuo, and Hosei.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nitobe Inazō</span> Japanese writer and diplomat (1862–1933)

Nitobe Inazō was a Japanese educator, diplomat, agronomist and political scientist. He studied at Sapporo Agricultural College under the influence of its first president William S. Clark and later went to the United States to study agricultural policy. After returning to Japan, he served as a professor at Sapporo Agricultural College, Kyoto Imperial University, and Tokyo Imperial University, and the deputy secretary general of the League of Nations. He also devoted himself to women's education, helping to found the Tsuda Eigaku Juku and serving as the first president of Tokyo Woman's Christian University and president of the Tokyo Women's College of Economics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American School in Japan</span> Private school in Japan

The American School in Japan is an international private day school located in the city of Chōfu, Tokyo, Japan. The school consists of an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school, all located on the Chōfu campus. There is also an early learning center (nursery-kindergarten) for children aged 3–5 located in the Roppongi Hills complex in downtown Tokyo. Instruction is in English and follows an American-style curriculum. About two thirds of the school's students are the children of citizens of a wide variety of countries who are on temporary assignment in Japan, and the remaining one third are Japanese students who speak English. The campus is fenced in, resulting from heightened security measures taken after the September 11 attacks, with campus surroundings including the Nogawa Park and the neighborhood of Tama. The Good Schools Guide International called ASIJ "an impressive school, not only for its size and facilities but also for its strong sense of where it is going."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duksung Women's University</span> Private university in Seoul, South Korea

Duksung Women's University is a private university in Seoul, South Korea founded in 1920.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokyo Medical and Dental University</span>

Tokyo Medical and Dental University is a Japanese national university located in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1928, it was the first national school of dentistry in Japan. TMDU is one of top 9 Designated National University and selected as a Top Type university of Top Global University Project by the Japanese government, and offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees in medicine, dentistry, and related fields. The university ranked 217th in the world and 7th in Japan in 2010.

<i>Bushido: The Soul of Japan</i> 1899 book by Inazo Nitobe

Bushido: The Soul of Japan is a book written by Inazō Nitobe exploring the way of the samurai. It was published in 1899.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokyo University of Foreign Studies</span> National university in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, often referred to as TUFS, is a specialist national research university in Fuchū, Tokyo, Japan.

Hokusei Gakuen University is a four-year private university in Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan. The university is run by Hokusei Gakuen School System, whose education philosophy is based on Christianity.

Mieko Kamiya was a Japanese psychiatrist who treated leprosy patients at Nagashima Aiseien Sanatorium. She was known for translating books on philosophy. She worked as a medical doctor in the Department of Psychiatry at Tokyo University following World War II. She was said to have greatly helped the Ministry of Education and the General Headquarters, where the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers stayed, in her role as an English-speaking secretary, and served as an adviser to Empress Michiko. She wrote many books as a highly educated, multi-lingual person; one of her books, titled On the Meaning of Life, based on her experiences with leprosy patients, attracted many readers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sapporo Independent Christian Church</span> Church in Sapporo, Japan

The Sapporo Independent Christian Church is a church located in Sapporo, Japan. It was founded in 1881 by students of William S. Clark at the Sapporo Agricultural College. These students became known as the "Sapporo band" of Christians. Although Clark had returned to the United States by the time the church was founded, he supported it financially and corresponded with its members through letters. Members of the church include Uchimura Kanzō, who went on to found the non-church movement, and Nitobe Inazō, who became president of the Tokyo Women's Christian College, an under-secretary at the League of Nations, and was the author of Bushido: The Soul of Japan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kawai Michi</span> Japanese educator

Kawai Michi was a Japanese educator, Christian activist, and proponent of Japanese-Western ties before, during, and after World War II. She served as the first Japanese National Secretary of the YWCA of Japan and founded Keisen University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Howes</span> Canadian academic

John Forman Howes was a Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC) for over three decades.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hokkaido University poplar avenue</span>

The Hokkaido University poplar avenue is a path lined with poplar trees, situated in the Hokkaido University campus in Sapporo, Japan. It extends from the back of the Psychology Department to the first of Hokkaido University's farms. The avenue is a well-known symbol of the university, and is introduced as one of the three most famous attractions in Sapporo on the Japan National Tourism Organization's website for visitors to Japan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tetsu Yasui</span> Japanese educator and writer

Tetsu Yasui was a Japanese educator and writer. She was the first dean of Tokyo Woman's Christian University and its second president.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Masako Nakata</span> One of Japans first women lawyers

Masako Nakata, née Masako Tanaka (田中正子) was one of Japan's first women lawyers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anna Cope Hartshorne</span> American educator

Anna Cope Hartshorne was an American educator and writer based in Japan. A member of a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family, she was a founder and faculty member of Tsuda University, with her close friend Tsuda Umeko.


  1. Sanada, Masako. "Caring for the Whole Person". President's Message. Tokyo Woman's Christian University. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  2. "Tokyo Woman's Christian University". Education. Infozed. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  3. 1 2 "Chronology". Tokyo Woman's Christian University. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  4. "現代教養学部(2018年度以降入学者用)". Tokyo Woman's Christian University. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  5. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" . Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  6. "Romeo and Juliet" . Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  7. "Twelfth Night" . Retrieved 2021-02-24.