Friday, September 22, 2006

Ranking Keio

The Sept. 27 issue of the Japanese edition of Newsweek is out, and features a list of the top 100 universities in the world. I'll post a longer discussion of the list sometime (as soon as I figure out how to criticize it without annoying people :-), but I'm disappointed to report that Keio University, my alma mater for my Ph.D., didn't make the list. Five other Japanese universities (U. Tokyo, Kyoto U., Osaka U., Nagoya U., and Tohoku U.) did.

There are a lot of reasons why it's difficult to rank Japanese universities using an America-centric rating system, but ranking the universities is a big sport here, too, and in most of those lists, Keio comes in third, after Todai (Tokyo) and Kyodai (Kyoto), which by general agreement usually do come in number one and two. Waseda University, Japan's other most famous private university, also usually ranks near the top.

Wikipedia's article on Keio has a short list of some of the prominent Keio alumni. Probably the most famous at the moment is Junichiro Koizumi, the outgoing prime minister (2001-2005), but he's not the only prominent politician. Ryutaro Hashimoto, who was prime minister 1996-1998, recently passed away. Dozens of other alumni have been cabinet members and governors in the post-war period.

Two astronauts, Chiaki Mukai, who has already been into space, and Akihiko Hoshide, who is working on it, are grads. In business, the owners of the Yomiuri and Asahi newspapers, the president of Nippon TV, president of TBS, chairman of All Nippon Airways, and more are grads. Yoshio Taniguchi, architect of the redesigned MoMA in New York, is a Keio (and Harvard) grad, with a B.S. in M.E. (His father, Yoshiro Taniguchi, was also an architect; I'm not sure if he was a Keio grad or not.) Ted Nelson, who coined the term hypertext in 1963, was awarded a Ph.D. in 2002.

Enough rambling. Suffice it to say that Keio is one of Japan's best and most important universities, and, in my opinion, should have made Newsweek's list.


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Agung said...

Dear Mr. Rod,

Actually, my father was graduated in 1967 from Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kyoto University. He gave me a lot of books about Japan (most of them are written in Japanese so that I cannot read them; my father passed away in 1987 when I was 10 years old). One of his book has a title "TELL ME ABOUT JAPAN".

In that book, it is stated that Keio University was the best university in Japan when the book was published (about 1967).

"Question: What is the oldest university in Japan?"

"Answer: Keio University in Tokyo, which was founded in 1858 by Yukichi Fukuzawa (1834-1901). Among the other old famous schools are Tokyo University founded in 1877 and Waseda University established in 1882."

[Page 138, No.447]

So, I think Keio is the best university in that period, which was above Tokyo University and Kyoto University, but maybe the Japanese government has made a priority to develop state universities rather than private universities. That is why Keio rank has declined after 40 years.

But, however, Keio University still exists on the top among world universities now, even not the best as Todai and Kyodai are. Some surveys, like webometrics and THES, put Keio on the world top universities. Webometrics usually puts Keio on the top five Asia universities and THES put Keio rank on 120 in 2006, above Aachen, Tufts, etc.

I think, it is time for Keio to seriously develop its academic achievement so that Keio will be back on very high level among top world universities, which is equal with Harvard, MIT, etc. I believe it can be done if people like you want to join with Keio University.


Agung Trisetyarso

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Agung said...

Dear Rod.,

After THES and WEBOMETRICS, you will be very proud to see this survey:

Keio is above todai etc.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Agung said...

Dear Rod,

I have read another article at

I already know that Einstein has visited Keio in 1922.

It was happened before Sin-Itiro Tomanaga received Nobel price winner in 1965 (

It means Keio University was a leader in science and technology in that period, in front of Todai and Kyoto University about 40 years.


Agung Trisetyarso


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