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30 Top Japanese Universities
1University of Tokyo
2Kyoto University
3Osaka University
4Tokyo Institute of Technology
5Tohoku University
6Keio University
7Kyushu University
8Nagoya University
9Hokkaido University
10Tsukuba University
11Kobe University
12Chiba University
13Waseda University
14Hiroshima University
15Kanazawa University
16Okayama University
17Tokyo University of Science
18Tokyo Metropolitan University
19Tokyo Medical and Dental University
20Osaka City University
21Niigata University
22Kumamoto University
23Tokushima University
24Osaka Prefectural University
25Gifu University
26Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
27Yokohama National University
28Yamaguchi University
29Nagoya City University
30Kagoshima University

Background: In 2001 the Ministry of Education proposed to change the funding model to strengthen the "Top 30" universities. Among the various "Top 30" lists floated at the time, this one, attributed to the prep school Kawaijuku, is probably the most useful.

It was based on four factors: research funding (Kaken only), citations of research publications, entrance exam difficulty, and a reputation survey.

Weaknesses: This ranking was done to identify "world class research universities" as seen in strengths in science and engineering. For public universities this gives a reasonable approximation to an overall quality ranking, because Japanese public universities have fairly similar profiles, and so strength in one area tends to be matched by strength across the board, including in recruiting good students and in educating them well. Private universities, however, tend to have different profiles, including strengths in education and in the humanities which are not reflected in this ranking. Thus in a list of the truly best, Waseda and Keio would probably belong near the top, and other private universities, including Sophia, International Christian University, Meiji, and Nihon, would probably also be mentioned. Some smaller, specialized universities, such as The Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, The University of Electro-Communications, The Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and Hitotsubashi University would probably also deserve a place.

Purpose: My reason for hosting this list was the lack of good information on Japanese Universities on the web. Probably this list will be most useful to graduate school admissions committees considering applicants from Japan. It may also be useful for those considering study in Japan.

Links: Lists of top Japanese Universities are also provided by World Education Services and by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Other resources with coverage of Japan include Webometrics Top Asia Universities. Two other well-known sources are the Times Higher Education ranking and that by Quacquarelli Symonds. A good starting place for finding rankings for universities in various countries is the University of Illinois' College and University Rankings Page.

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