Hokkaido University

Hokkaido University (北海道大学, Hokkaidō daigaku), or Hokudai (北大), is a Japanese national university in Sapporo, Hokkaido.[2] It was the fifth Imperial University in Japan, which were established to be the nation's finest institutions of higher education or research. Hokkaido University is considered one of the top universities in Japan and was ranked 5th in THE Japan University Rankings. It was also selected as a "Top Type" university by the Japanese government's Top Global University Project. The main campus is located in downtown Sapporo, just north of Sapporo Station, and stretches approximately 2.4 kilometers northward.

Hokkaido University
Hokkaido University Seal.svg
Motto in English
Boys, Be Ambitious
TypePublic (National)
EstablishedFounded September 1876,
Chartered April 1, 1918
EndowmentJP¥92.297 billion (US$821 million)
PresidentKiyohiro Houkin
Administrative staff
Undergraduates11,935 (2017)[1]
Postgraduates6,336 (2017)[1]
Other students
89 research students (2017)[1]
Location, ,

43°04′29″N 141°20′27″E / 43.074687°N 141.340828°E / 43.074687; 141.340828
3.0 km²
NicknameHokkaido Big Green
Hokkaido University Logo with Namestyle.svg
Hokkaido University is located in Hokkaido
Hokkaido University
Location in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Hokkaido University, September 2009
Secretariat of Hokkaido University
Hokkaido University Furukawa Hall
The Hokkaido University Museum
Near the library at Sapporo Campus
Forest Elm at Sapporo Campus


The history of the university dates to the formal incorporation of Yezo as Hokkaido into the Japanese realm. Director of the Hokkaidō Development Commission Kuroda Kiyotaka, having traveled to America in 1870, looked to the American model of settling the new lands. Upon return he brought General Horace Capron, a commissioner of agriculture who pushed for the adoption of new agricultural practices and crops in Hokkaido's colder clime. To achieve this an agriculture college was proposed,[3] leading to the founding of Sapporo Agricultural College (札幌農學校, Sapporo nōgakkō) in 1876 by William S. Clark with the help of five faculty members and a first class size of 24 students. In September 1907, Tohoku Imperial University (東北帝國大學, Tōhoku teikoku daigaku) set up the faculty of Agriculture in Sapporo. Tohoku Imperial University ceded the Faculty of Agriculture to Hokkaido Imperial University (北海道帝國大學, Hokkaidō teikoku daigaku) on April 1, 1918. It was one of nine Imperial Universities. The School of Medicine was established in 1919, at which time the Agricultural College became the Faculty of Agriculture. This was followed by the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, and finally in 1947, the Faculty of Law and Literature. The current name of Hokkaido University also came into use in 1947. In 1953, the Graduate School was established.[4]

Since 2004 the university has been incorporated as a National University Corporation under a new law which applies to all national universities. Although the incorporation has led to increased financial independence and autonomy, Hokkaido University is still partially controlled by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

In 2014 the university was selected under the Super Global Universities program that began as an initiative of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe who stated its aim was to help more of Japan's universities rank in the top 100 worldwide.[5] Under the program, it is listed in the top university category or Type A—(Top Type) The Top Type is for world-class universities that have the potential to be ranked in the top 100 in world university rankings. Each Type A university will receive ¥420 million ($US 4.2 million) annually[6] until 2023.

In June 2020, Hokkaido University president Toyoharu Nawa was dismissed by Japanese education minister Koichi Hagiuda for abuse of power at the workplace, becoming the first national university president to be dismissed since national universities became independent in 2004.[7] He was succeeded by former neurosurgeon and director of Hokkaido University Hospital Kiyohiro Houkin.[8]

Faculties and graduate schoolsEdit


  • Letters
  • Education
  • Law
  • Economics
  • Medicine
  • Health Sciences (radiation technology, laboratory technology, physical therapy, occupational therapy)
  • Nursing
  • Dental medicine
  • Engineering
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Fisheries sciences
  • Agriculture
  • Pharmaceutical sciences
  • Science (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, biological chemistry, earth and planetary sciences)

Graduate schoolsEdit

  • Agriculture
  • Biomedical Science and Engineering
  • Chemical Sciences and Engineering
  • Dental Medicine
  • Economics and Business
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Fisheries Sciences
  • Global Food Resources
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Science and Technology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • International Media, Communication, and Tourism Studies
  • Law
  • Letters
  • Life Science
  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences   
  • Public Policy
  • Science
  • Veterinary Medicine

Postgraduate degree programs in EnglishEdit

The following departments offer postgraduate degrees taught entirely in English[9]

  • Agriculture
  • Chemical Sciences and Engineering
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Science
  • Veterinary Medicine

Both international and domestic students may apply for graduate programs taught in English. Competitive scholarships are available for all graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in English degree programs, which range in amount from tuition discounts to full funding.

Special degree programs for international studentsEdit

The university offers two programs aimed exclusively at international students: One, four-year undergraduate degree program, the Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP), and one, five-year degree program comprising both undergraduate- and graduate-level study, the Integrated Science Program (ISP). As with other English-based degree programs at the university, competitive scholarships are available for all graduate and undergraduate students, which range in amount from tuition discounts to full funding.

Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP)Edit

The Modern Japanese Studies Program is a bilingual, bachelor's degree program that aims to educate students about the history, culture, society, and political economy of modern Japan while raising them to fluency in the Japanese language. The program offers two majors, one in History and Culture and one in Society and Political Economy. The majors share coursework, so whichever of the previous specializations a student does not choose as their major becomes their minor.[10]

Integrated Science Program (ISP)Edit

The Integrated Science Program is a multifaceted degree program that aims to provide students with a bachelor's degree in either biology, chemistry, or physics followed by their immediate enrollment in one of Hokkaido University's graduate schools. Through the unique, accelerated methodology of the program, students are able to graduate with a master's degree in five years (made up of three-and-a-half years of undergraduate study and one-and-a-half years of graduate study and research). It also aims to strengthen students' knowledge of English due to its importance as a scientific language.[11]


The university's Institute of Seismology and Volcanology was founded in 1998 in collaboration with several seismological observatories around Hokkaido. The institute is represented on the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.[12]

In 2016, the university launched the Hokkaido Summer Institute, a three-month-long program from June to August which offers a variety of classes for both undergraduate and graduate students. Guest lecturers are invited from all over the world to share their expertise for the courses, which usually run for 1–2 weeks and grant students a small amount of academic credit. Both Japanese and foreign students participate in this unique program, which is conducted entirely in English.[13]


Sapporo campusEdit

Golden ginkgo trees line the street at Hokkaido University in fall.

The main Sapporo campus is located just north of Sapporo Station, in the heart of Sapporo City. The entirety of the campus measures approximately 180 hectares and houses academic and administrative buildings, research laboratories, student dormitories, and farmland. The main academic buildings are found along a 1.5 kilometer stretch of road that runs from the Main Gate to the Kita 18 Gate, roughly encompassing the distance between Kita-Juni-Jo and Kita 18-jo subway stations on the Namboku Subway Line. A campus-wide bus service runs regular routes between the southern and northern end of the university, although access is restricted to university staff only.[14]

The abundance of accessible green space has continued to be popular not only among students, but also the general public, who can often be seen using the campus area in a similar way to a public park. Walking tours of the campus for interested foreign and domestic tourists are provided by several businesses in Sapporo, although no tour is needed to visit the campus.[15] Fall is an especially popular time for campus visits, with tourists and Sapporo residents flocking to get a view of the golden ginkgo trees that line Ginkgo Avenue.[16]

Hakodate campusEdit

The campus is located in Hakodate, a city located in the southern part of Hokkaidō. The Faculty and Graduate School of Fisheries Science are located there. However, students of Fisheries Science start their education at the Sapporo campus in order to complete three semesters of compulsory liberal arts education courses and move to the Hakodate campus from the second semester of their sophomore year. As the minimum requirement to study at the Hakodate campus is only one year of a four-year bachelor's program, the turn-over rate of students entering and leaving the Hakodate campus is fairly high. To provide students in the Faculty and Graduate School of Fisheries Science with practical hands-on experience, the university has two fully operational research vessels, the Oshoru Maru and the Ushio Maru, based in nearby Hakodate harbor. Graduate students and professors also use these vessels to carry out their research. [17]

Overseas satellite officesEdit

In order to raise awareness of the university internationally, as of June 2018 Hokkaido University was operating eight satellite offices worldwide. After opening its first overseas satellite office in Seoul, South Korea, Hokkaido University has also established satellite offices in Helsinki (Finland), Beijing (China), Lusaka (Zambia), Bandung (Indonesia), Quezon City (Philippines), Kamphaeng Saen (Thailand), and a special China Office in Beijing. Interested parties can not only obtain information regarding the university at these offices, but prospective students can also take university entrance exams there, a procedure which previously was only offered in Japan.[18]

Educational philosophyEdit

  • Frontier Spirit (フロンティア精神, Furontia Seishin)[19]
  • Global Perspectives (国際性の涵養, Kokusaisei no Kan-yō)
  • All-round Education (全人教育, Zenjin Kyōiku)
  • Practical Learning (実学の重視, Jitsugaku no Jūshi)

Academic rankingsEdit

University rankings
T. Reuters National[20] Research 7
WE [ja] National[21] Employment 49
Shimano National[22] Selectivity SA
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version)[23]
General 20
ARWU Asia[24] Research 19–26
QS World[25] General 122 (2018)
ARWU World[24] Research 151–200
Program rankings
Social Sciences & Humanities


Natural Sciences & Technology


Kawaijuku [ja] National[26]General 6
QS World[27]General 135


T.Reuters National[28]Research 7
T.Reuters World[28]Research 86


T.Reuters National[28]Research 8
T.Reuters World[28]Research 52


T.Reuters National[28]Research 6
T.Reuters World[28]Research 104
* T. Reuters World rankings include non-educational institutions

General rankingsEdit

In 2017, the CWTS Leiden Ranking ranked them at 120th in the world and 6th in Japan.[29] In 2018, QS World University Rankings ranked Hokkaido University at 122nd in the world (7th in Japan).

In 2019, the Times Higher Education(THE) Japan ranked them 5th in Japan.[30] Also in that year, they ranked as 6th or 7th in Japan according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), and between 151st and 200th in the world.

In 2013, their highest score in QS Ranking was for Faculty Student Score (88 out of 100). Their lowest was for International Faculty Score (13.5 out of 100).[31] In an effort to boost their International Faculty Score, Hokkaido has recently been selected to be part of Japan's Super Global Universities Program. This program provides special funding to hire international faculty.[32]

Research performanceEdit

According to Thomson Reuters, Hokkaido is the 6th best research university in Japan.[20] Its research standard is especially high in Materials Science (7th in Japan, 86th in the world), Chemistry (8th in Japan, 52nd in the world), and Biology & Biochemistry (6th in Japan, 104th in the world).[33]

Weekly Diamond reported that Hokkaido has the 10th highest research standard in Japan in terms of research funding per researchers in the COE Program.[34]

According to the QS World university rankings in September 2012, Hokkaido University was placed 135th (worldwide) and 6th (in Japan) for general standards in engineering and technology.[35]

It also has a good research standard in Economics, as RePec ranked Hokkaido as the 16th best Economics research university in Jan 2011.[36]

The Nobel PrizeEdit

As of 2021, two alumni and faculty members have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The university received attention in 2010 when Professor Akira Suzuki won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry jointly with Richard F. Heck and Ei-ichi Negishi.[37] Benjamin List, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, is the principal investigator at the Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery of the Hokkaido University. Also, Ei-ichi Negishi, special invited professor at the Institute for Catalysis (ICAT) of the Hokkaido University, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry as well.

In addition, the Hokkaido Imperial University alumni Kōichi Ichikawa (市川 厚一) completed the first artificial induction of cancer in history in 1915 and discovered the cause of cancer, but in 1926 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Johannes Fibiger. A few years later, everyone discovered that Fibiger's research was completely wrong. Until the middle of the 20th century, Japanese scientists missed the Nobel Prize many times because of racial discrimination.[38][39]

Alumni rankingsEdit

The university ranking of the ratio of "president and chief executive officer of listed company" in Japan
all universities in Japan 17th[40] out of all the 744[41] universities which existed as of 2006
Source 2006 Survey[40] by Weekly Diamond 〈ja〉 on the ranking of the universities which produced the high ratio of the graduates who hold the position of "president and chief executive officer of listed company" to all the graduates of each university
The university ranking according to the ratio of the number of the officers & managers produced by each university to the number of graduates
all universities in Japan 28th[42] out of all the 778[43] universities which existed as of 2010
Source 2010 Survey[42] by Weekly Economist 〈ja〉 on the ranking of universities according to the ratio of the number of the officers & managers produced by each university to the number of graduates
The university ranking according to the order of the evaluation by Personnel Departments of Leading Companies in Japan
Japan 1st[44] (out of 781[45] universities in Japan as of 2020)
Source 2020 Nikkei Survey[46] to all listed (3,714[47]) and leading unlisted (1,100), totally 4,814 companies[46]

Graduate school rankingsEdit

Hokkaido Law School was ranked 6th in 2010 (8th in 2009) in the passing rate of Japanese Bar Examination.[48]

Eduniversal ranked Hokkaido as 2nd in the rankings of "Excellent Business Schools nationally strong and/or with continental links " in Japan.[49]

Popularity and selectivityEdit

Hokkaido is one of the most selective universities in Japan. Its entrance difficulty is usually considered one of the top in Japan.[50][51]

Notable alumniEdit

Points of interestEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Number of Students". Hokkaido University. Retrieved 2018-12-25.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Hokkaido Daigaku" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 343, p. 343, at Google Books.
  3. ^ Horace & Emily Foght. Unfathomed Japan. New York, 1928. pp 141-2
  4. ^ "Hokkaido University". Archived from the original on 2012-08-06. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  5. ^ "QS Intelligence Unit | Prime Minister Abe to Accelerate Internationalisation of Japanese Universities". www.iu.qs.com. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  6. ^ Maruko, Mami (2014-10-22). "Universities aim to boost their global ranking". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  7. ^ "Hokkaido Univ. President Nawa Sacked". Nippon.com. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Inaugural Message from the new President of Hokkaido University". Hokkaido University. October 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Study in English (Postgraduate Level) | Hokkaido University". global.hokudai.ac.jp.
  10. ^ "About MJSP ≫ MJSP: Modern Japanese Studies Program | Hokkaido University". www.oia.hokudai.ac.jp. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  12. ^ Organizations with ties to CCEP CCEP, accessed 2011-03-19
  13. ^ "Hokkaido Summer Institute". Hokkaido Summer Institute.
  14. ^ "構内循環バス – 北海道大学施設部" [Circulation bus in the premises – Hokkaido University Facilities Department] (in Japanese).
  15. ^ "「北海道大学キャンパスウォーキングツアー」が実施されています! – 北海道宝島トラベル". 北海道宝島トラベル.
  16. ^ "北大イチョウ並木アクセス・営業時間・料金情報 – じゃらんnet" [Hokkaido University Ginkgo bunko Access · Hours · Price Information – Jalan net] (in Japanese).
  17. ^ "Training Vessels". Hokkaido University. 28 November 2012.
  18. ^ "Overseas Satellite Offices". Hokkaido University. 24 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Hokkaido University". Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Thomson Reuters 20 Top research institutions in Japan". Thomson Reuters. 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2022. (this raking includes 5 non-educational institutions)
  21. ^ "Employment rate in 400 major companies rankings" (in Japanese). Weekly Economist. 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  22. ^ "GBUDU University Rankings" (in Japanese). YELL books. 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  23. ^ "QS Asian University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  24. ^ a b "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  25. ^ "QS World University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  26. ^ "Kawaijuku japanese universities rankings in Engineering field" (in Japanese). Kawaijuku. 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  27. ^ "QS topuniversities world rankings in Engineering field". Topuniversities. 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  28. ^ a b c d e f "Thomson Reuters 10 Top research institutions by subject in Japan" (in Japanese). Thomson Reuters. 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  29. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017".
  30. ^ "Times Higher Education Japan 2019". 14 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Top 200 QS World University Rankings 2013". The Guardian. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Universities aim to boost their global ranking". The Japan Times. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  33. ^ "Thomson Reuters 20 Top research institutions in Japan" (in Japanese). Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2011-04-29. (this ranking includes non-educational institutions)
  34. ^ "週刊ダイヤモンド" ダイヤモンド社 2010/2/27 http://web.sapmed.ac.jp/kikaku/infomation/0227daiyamondokiji.pdf
  35. ^ "QS world university ranking(2012)". topuniversities.com. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  36. ^ "Top 25% Institutions and Economists in Japan, as of January 2011". REPEC. 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  37. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2010 – Press Release". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  38. ^ 「『ガンの山極博士』たたえる」読売新聞1966年10月25日15頁。
  39. ^ Guide to Nobel Prize. Britannica.com. Retrieved on 2010-09-25.
  40. ^ a b Weekly Diamond The ranking of the universities which produced the high ratio of the graduates who hold the position of "president and chief executive officer of listed company" to all the graduates of each university(in Japanese)
  41. ^ The number of universities and students|National Universities Association(in Japanese)
  42. ^ a b Is it a story of the past that graduates from famous universities can easily move up the career ladder? / RECRUIT AGENT(in Japanese)
  43. ^ University reform reference materials / Cabinet Secretariat(in Japanese)
  44. ^ Survey on the image seen from human resources personnel:Ranking of the ability to get jobs|Nikkei HR 2020.06.03 release
  45. ^ The number of universities in Japan is 781 as of April 1, 2020. About 80% are private universities.|Ōbun Sha
  46. ^ a b Image held by human resources personnel of companies of Japan / Yokohama National University ranked 1st in Kantō & Kōshin'etsu region / Valuation from the ex-students already employed / The Nikkei・Nikkei HR Survey 2020-06-04 17:27
  47. ^ Number of listed companies & listed shares of stock|JPX
  48. ^ "2010年(平成22年)新司法試験法科大学院別合格率ランキング -法科大学院seek-". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  49. ^ "University and business school ranking in Japan". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  50. ^ e.g. Yoyogi seminar published Hensachi (the indication showing the entrance difficulties by prep schools) rankings "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2016-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ Japanese journalist Kiyoshi Shimano ranks Hokkaido's entrance difficulty as SA (most selective/out of 11 scales) in Japan. 危ない大学・消える大学 2012年版 (in Japanese). YELL books. 2011. ASIN 4753930181.
  52. ^ "大橋純子Official site". junko-ohashi.com. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  53. ^ "三浦雄一郎先生 エベレスト登頂成功、おめでとうございます。". Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  54. ^ "BURROUGHS WELCOME FUND EXCELLENCE AWARDS". Society for Research on Biological Rhythms. Society for Research on Biological Rhythms. June 2020.


External linksEdit