A BRIEF HISTORY
A CENTURY OF TRADITION
The institution that later took the name Ritsumeikan University was foundedin 1900 by Prince Saionji Kinmochi, a leading international statesman ofmodern Japan. Known as Shiritsu Kyoto Hosei Gakko (Kyoto Private School ofLaw and Politics), the school started off by offering evening classes inthe large rooms of a traditional Japanese restaurant. There, professorsfrom Kyoto Imperial University delivered lectures to working class studentseager to study law and politics. The University has undergone many changesin the almost 100 years that have passed since then, but research andeducation in the law have always been one of its mainstays, while theFaculty of Law has continued to see itself as the leading upholder of itsspirit and tradition.
RESPECTED AS ONE OF THE FINEST SCHOOLS IN THE KANSAI AREA
During its long history, the Ritsumeikan University law school has earned areputation as one of the best institutions in the area near Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.
The main reason for its solid reputation is that it has continued tomaintain the qualities of freshness and freedom instilled by its founder,Prince Saionji, as well as the spirit of peace and democracy. In the yearsleading up to World War II, when fascism reared its ugly head in Japan, alarge number of professors of Kyoto Imperial University resigned because ofgovernment pressure to restrict academic freedom in the infamous "TakigawaIncident". The Faculty of Law at Ritsumeikan, however, accepted 17 of themin a show of support for their efforts to protect academic freedom and theright of a university to govern itself. Then after the war, the Facultylead the way in the University's efforts to make itself more democracticunder the direction of law scholar and Honorary President Suekawa Hiroshi.
A second reason why the Faculty of Law stands in such good repute is itslarge contribution to legal circles. Since the end of the War over 300 ofits graduates have passed the difficult Japanese bar examination, and manyof its alumni are working in the forefront of the legal profession. Tomaintain this fine track record, the Faculty has made the cultivation offine legal minds one of its main goals, giving full support to studentstrying to pass the bar examination. The Faculty also maintains strong tieswith alumni working in legal circles and actively seeks their support invarious ways, including help with lectures, giving special talks, andadvising students preparing for the bar examination.
DEVELOPING WITH THE CHANGING TIMES
As the times change, and society with it, the role of law also continuallydevelops. The law has become increasingly involved in a number of newfields, including heightened consciousness of human rights, protection ofintellectual property, and protection of the environment. The law providesthe basic rules needed to lead our daily lives. We therefore strive toinstill in our students a philosophy and power of thought based on lawsthat can withstand the tests of time; in other words, we try to cultivatetrue "legal minds".