Kyoto University (京都大学, Kyōto daigaku), or KyotoU (京大, Kyōdai), is a public research university located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1897, it is the second oldest university in Japan, one of the former Imperial Universities, the first three Designated National University and selected as a Top Type university of Top Global University Project by the Japanese government. KyotoU is usually ranked amongst the top two in Japan, the top ten in Asia, and the world's top thirty institutions of higher education.
Founded on the principles of its motto, “freedom of academic culture”, KyotoU is currently composed of three campuses with ten Faculties, eighteen Graduate Schools, thirteen Research Institutes, and twenty-two Research and Educational Centers. In addition, the university is the birthplace of the Kyoto School of philosophy.
Kyoto University has generated 5 prime ministers of Japan to date, and is famed for producing world-class researchers. As of October 2019, 19 Nobel Prize laureates, 2 Fields medalists, and 1 Gauss Prize winner have been affiliated with Kyoto University, giving it the most Nobel laureates of all universities in Asia. Apart from distinguished politicians and scholars, the university also counts in its alumni esteemed medical and legal professionals, writers, artists, and business leaders.
Kyoto University's forerunner was the Chemistry School (舎密局, Seimi-kyoku) founded in Osaka in 1869, which, despite its name, taught physics as well (舎密 is a transcription of a Dutch word chemie). Later, the Third Higher School (第三髙等學校, Daisan-kōtō-gakkō), was established in the place of Seimi-kyoku in 1886, it then transferred to the university's present main campus in the same year.
Kyoto Imperial University (京都帝國大學, Kyōto-teikoku-daigaku) as a part of the Imperial University system was established on June 18, 1897, using the Third Higher School's buildings. The higher school moved to a patch of land across the street, where the Yoshida South Campus stands today, and was integrated into Kyoto University in May 1949 and became the College of Liberal Arts in September 1949. In the same year of the university's establishment, the College of Science and Technology was founded. The College of Law and the College of Medicine were founded in 1899, the College of Letters in 1906, expanding the university's activities to areas outside natural science.
After World War II, the current Kyoto University was established by merging the imperial university and the Third Level School, which assumed the duty of teaching liberal arts as the Faculty of Liberal Arts (教養部, Kyōyō-bu). The faculty was dissolved with the foundation of the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies (総合人間学部, Sōgō-ningen-gakubu) in 1992.
Kyoto University has since 2004 been incorporated as a national university corporation under a new law which applies to all national universities.
Yoshida Campus is the main campus, with some laboratories located in Uji. The Graduate School of Engineering is currently under process of moving to the newly built Katsura Campus.
The university has about 22,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs.
Kyoto University promotes itself as an academic institution fostering a "spirit of freedom". The university claims eleven Nobel Laureates and two Fields Medalists among its faculty and alumni. The university is also known as the starting point for the Kyoto School philosophical movement.
Kyoto University is considered one of the most prestigious universities in Japan, and is consistently ranked second in Japan and in the top ten in Asia by Academic Ranking of World Universities, Times Higher Education, QS World University Rankings.[note 1]
The university was ranked 3rd in 2008 and 2010 in the ranking "Truly Strong Universities" by Toyo Keizai. In another ranking, Japanese prep school Kawaijuku ranked Kyodai as the 2nd best university in Japan.
Kyodai is usually considered one of the top research institution in Japan. In fact, it has the second largest number of investment from Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, which is the national grants program for research institutions.
This financial support from the Japanese government has a direct effect on Kyodai's research outcomes. According to Thomson Reuters, Kyodai is the No.1 research university in Japan. Its research excellence is especially distinctive in Chemistry (1st in Japan, 4th in the world), Biology & Biochemistry (2nd in Japan, 23rd in the world), Pharmacology & Toxicology (2nd in Japan, 30th in the world), Immunology (3rd in Japan, 25th in the world), Material Science (4th in Japan, 22nd in the world), and Physics (4th in Japan, 25th in the world).
In another ranking, Nikkei Shimbun on 2004/2/16 surveyed about the research standards in Engineering studies based on Thomson Reuters, Grants in Aid for Scientific Research and questionnaires to the heads of 93 leading Japanese Research Centers. Kyodai was placed in the 10th position (research planning ability 6th) in this ranking.
Kyodai also has a high research standard in Social Sciences & Humanities. Repec in January 2011 ranked Kyodai's Institute of Economic Research as Japan's 3rd best economic research institution. Kyodai has provided 6 presidents of the Japanese Economic Association in its 42-year history, which is the 3rd largest number.
Kyodai Law School is considered one of the top law schools in Japan. From 2007 to 2017, it was ranked 2nd out of the 74 law schools in Japan for bar examination pass ratio, at 79.93%. In 2019, Kyodai Law School became 1st out of the 72 law schools in Japan, with a pass ratio of 62.69%.
Kyodai alumni are distinctively successful in Japanese industries such as shown below.
According to the Weekly Economist's 2010 rankings, graduates from Kyodai have the 10th best employment rate in 400 major companies in Japan. However, it has to be noted that this lower ranking position is because of the large number of alumni who become government bureaucrats, which is 2nd largest among Japanese universities. In fact, alumni of Kyodai's average salary is the 5th best in Japan, according to the PRESIDENT.
ranks Kyodai as 5th in the world in 2011 in terms of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.
Kyoto University competes in 48 sports. The university is a member of the Kansai Big Six Baseball League.
Members of the university's American football team, the Kyoto University Gangsters, were arrested in 2006 for gang rape, which had been recently added to the Penal Code in January 2005 following the Super Free rape controversy. The three students had forced a female university student to drink liquor to the point of unconsciousness, at which point they gang-raped her. They were all convicted.
Notable people from academic are eleven Nobel Prize winners, Fields Medal winners Heisuke Hironaka (1970) and Shigefumi Mori (1990) and one Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize winner Kiyosi Itô. In addition, the lecturer against vaccine conspiracies received the John Maddox Prize: Riko Muranaka, winner in 2017 for her combat of anti-HPV vaccination.