About Keio University

Keio University enjoys a proud history as Japan’s first private institution of higher learning. Yukichi Fukuzawa established the university in 1858, in Edo (now Tokyo), as a school for Dutch studies. He believed that the only way Japan could catch up to Western technology and social organization was to “always strive for progress and enlightenment, and provide the academic and moral education needed to create a generation of wise and capable leaders.” Keio University has since grown far beyond its beginnings, but remains dedicated to Fukuzawa’s philosophy by providing intellectual leadership for issues facing both Japanese society and the world stage.

In today’s internationally interdependent world, Keio University places great emphasis upon maintaining the finest teaching faculty and facilities. Building upon that tradition, graduates of the university have risen to the forefront of innovation in every academic field, emerging as social and economic leaders. This combination has made Keio University one of the most prestigious universities in Japan and the world.

Keio University celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008. As the challenges of the 21st century and beyond approach, Keio University will continue to uphold the pioneer spirit of Fukuzawa by carrying on his pursuit of peace, prosperity and progress.


Keio University founder Yukichi Fukuzawa is regarded as one of the architects of modern Japan for his contribution to the spread of Western institutions and learning. After Japan ended its policy of isolationism in 1853, Fukuzawa learned Dutch and English, and traveled to the United States and Europe. His studies of Western culture convinced him that only a system of practical and scientific education for everyone could make Japan a strong, independent nation. Fukuzawa’s writings on education, civilization and political theory were among the most influential in Japan as it evolved into a world power in the Meiji Era. Today the 10,000-yen note bears a portrait of this visionary.