History of Kansai University
The bronze relief of the founders and the earliest teaching staff of Kansai University
Kansai University was founded as Kansai Law School in November 1886, in the large commercial city of Osaka. Its founders consisted of a dozen people who were judicial officers and businesspersons.
In the early 1870's, the Ministry of Justice established its own law school. Western legal concepts, including that of human rights, were introduced into Japan by distinguished foreign scholars engaged by the Ministry. The founders of Kansai Law School had studied at this law school, under the French jurist Boissonade de Fontarabie*1.The idea of individual rights and legal processes independent of central governmental control were new to Japan. Long after the conclusion of their study with Dr. Boissonade, the founders continued to feel that these concepts were vital to the new Japan. They saw it as their duty to popularize jurisprudence in order to spread throughout the nation two notions: that of an independent judiciary, and that of human rights.
From this sense of mission sprang the idea of founding a law school. They then sought and received the assistance and cooperation of Kojima Korekata*2, their superior (and later Chief Justice of Japan's Supreme Court), and Doi Michio, President of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Thus Kansai Law School made its start as the first law school located in the Kansai area. The founders taught that the law belongs to all citizens, and that, by means of the law, they can and should defend their own rights. This became the origin of the university's academic tradition of nurturing a love of justice and a concern for the protection of the freedom of the individual. Thanks to the support and trust it has won from the general public, our institution has since then steadily developed and diversified.
In 1905 the institution was granted the title ‘Kansai University,’ and subsequently, in 1922, its main campus was removed to its present more extensive site in Suita (a suburb of Osaka), thus paving the way for later growth.
In consequence of the educational reforms carried out soon after the end of the Second World War, Kansai University was able to avail itself of the new system in order to expand its scope for tuition so as to comprise four faculties: those of Law, Letters, Economics and Commerce.
Its first Graduate School was established in 1950. Subsequent to this, its Faculty of Engineering was founded in 1958, followed in 1967 by the founding of its Faculty of Sociology. In 1994, in response to the requirements of a global community united by access to information made available by electronic processing, a seventh faculty - that of Informatics - was instituted on a further campus, created just outside the dormitory-town of Takatsuki. In 2007, Faculty of Engineering was reorganized as Faculty of Engineering Science, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Engineering, and Faculty of Chemistry, Materials and Bioengineering. Also, in 2007, Faculty of Policy Studies was founded, in the aim of developing students who can identify problems by themselves, and to find appropriate solutions within given conditions. In 2009, for the purpose of developing "foreign language professional" graduates, who can serve as a bridge between different cultures, Faculty of Foreign Language Studies was founded. In 2010, two new Faculties were founded, which are the Faculty of Health and Well-being, instituted in Sakai Campus, and Faculty of Societal Safety Sciences, settled up in a new campus, Takatsuki Muse Campus. Finally, in 2012, in a newly built center, the Kansai University Minami-Senri International Plaza, Japanese Language and Culture Program Preparatory Course (Bekka) was established for foreign students to improve their ability to develop Japanese language and critical thinking skills needed for studying at undergraduate and graduate school levels.
For many decades the Evening Courses were taught on a separate campus, located in the Tenroku area of Osaka, these originally constituting a Night School for students - many of them adults - already in employ. In 1994 the Evening Course was moved to the Senriyama Campus; and, in 2003, the University instituted an innovative 12 hour curriculum, one integrating both day and night courses. In 2007, the night course stopped applicating students to reflect the times.
The University, with its attached senior and junior high schools, elementary school, and kindergarten, has a total student body of about thirty-five thousand. In 2016, Kansai University celebrated the 130th anniversary of its foundation.
Currently Kansai University has 13 faculties, 12 graduate schools and 3 professional graduate schools, and Japanese Language and Culture Program Preparatory Course (Bekka).
*1 Gustave Emile Boissonade de Fontarabie (1825-1910) was, from 1873 to 1895, a legal adviser to the Ministry of Justice of the Meiji Government.
*2 Kojima Korekata (1837-1908) is best remembered for his efforts to maintain the independence of the judiciary after the Otsu Incident had taken place, in 1891. This was an attempt on the life of the then Crown Prince of Russia (later Tsar Nikolai II) made, when he was traveling through Otsu (a small town near Kyoto) by Tsuda Sanzo, one of the policemen ordered to guard his safety. In its consternation, and in hopes of averting retaliation by Russia, the Japanese government wanted the accused sentenced to death for acts against the emperor, empress or crown prince of Japan (lese majesty). In spite, however, of strong pressure from both government and public opinion, Kojima Korekata tried the case as an ordinary crime of attempted murder, and sentenced Tsuda to life imprisonment.
Note: Japanese names are given with family-name first.