News Detail
Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan
"Since its foundation in 1913, Sophia University has emphasized an international focus and has placed priorities on relations with universities from all over the world linked by a Catholic network."
—Sophia University President Tadashi Takizawa
Japan’s First Jesuit University, Sophia University, Celebrates 100 Years

October 8, 2013 — Sophia University, Japan’s first Jesuit university, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Pope Francis appointed Italian Cardinal Raffaele Farina as his special representative to the university’s celebration, scheduled for November 1.

German Jesuit Father Joseph Dahlmann, who visited Japan in 1903, was a catalyst for the founding of Sophia University, a private research university located in Tokyo. Fr. Dahlmann would later become one of Sophia University’s three founding Jesuits.

While in Japan, Fr. Dahlmann heard the requests of Catholics who wanted the construction of a Catholic university to serve as a cultural base for the Catholic Church there. He reported this request to the offices of the pope, and two years later, in 1905, Fr. Dahlmann received a private audience with Pope Pius X. That same year, the pope appointed Bishop (later Cardinal) O'Connell of Portland, Maine, as a special ambassador of the Vatican to Japan.

Bishop O'Connell had an audience with Japanese Emperor Meiji, learned about the educational policy directions of the Educational Ministry in Japan and reported to the officials of the Holy See that the prospect of starting a Catholic university would be well-received. Finally, Pope Pius X issued a formal written command to the Society of Jesus to launch Japan’s first Catholic university.

Preparations for the actual establishment of the university began in 1908. Five years later, in 1913, the Jesuits officially opened the first Catholic university in Japan, with Jesuit Father Hermann Hoffmann as its first president. The new university included departments of philosophy, German literature and commerce.

Last month, students, faculty and leaders from Georgetown and Sophia Universities participated in a two-day conference on U.S.-Japan relations held in honor of the Japanese school’s anniversary. The relationship between the two schools dates back to the mid-1930s, when students from Sophia visited Georgetown for the first time. In 1987, the two schools established a formal exchange agreement that has since resulted in 90 Sophia students studying at Georgetown and 240 Georgetown students studying in Tokyo.

"Since its foundation in 1913, Sophia University has emphasized an international focus and has placed priorities on relations with universities from all over the world linked by a Catholic network," said Sophia University President Tadashi Takizawa, who was accompanied by his university’s chancellor, Jesuit Father Toshiaki Koso at the Georgetown conference. [Georgetown University, Vatican Radio, Sophia University]


Recent News

April 17, 2015 — The College of the Holy Cross' new website shows how Catholics around the world live out their faith.

April 15, 2015 — Golfer Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters Golf Tournament on April 12, is a recent grad of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.

April 14, 2015 — Fr. William Muller, SJ, was named executive director of the newly-established organization.

April 14, 2015 — The Jesuits at Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas, have been serving those on the border for over a hundred years.

April 10, 2015 — The Northeast Province Jesuits presented the award to Cardinal O’Malley on April 7.

April 8, 2015 — The schools named new presidents in late March.

April 6, 2015 — A summer academy at Wheeling Jesuit University will help high-achieving, low-income students from Cristo Rey high schools make an easier transition to college.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 4/13/15

America - 4/06/15

America - 3/30/15



Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.