ABOUTCommitments and History

The Three Commitments of ICU

International Christian University holds as its mission the establishment of an academic tradition of freedom and reverence based on Christian ideals as well as the cultivation of internationally minded citizens who perform service to God and humankind and make contributions to lasting peace. As a university founded through international cooperation, ICU pursues three commitments expressed in the university's name: International, Christian and Academic Commitments.

Our Academic Commitment

ICU was founded with a mission to pursue truth, defend academic freedom and enrich inner freedom. In order to attain the best results in the pursuit and conveyance of truth, it is essential to maintain the highest academic standards and the highest levels of academic freedom. We have that responsibility to defend our academic community from external constraint and coercion so that we can reach our lofty goal.

The communication of knowledge is of special concern to all institutions of higher education. We are committed to educating and nurturing individuals who will integrate knowledge.

We expect our students to acquire the ability to think, critique and make reasonable judgments as individuals serving truth and freedom, against any external restraint and coercion. It is our mission to send forth graduates who will fulfill their responsibilities based upon their newfound knowledge and skills.

Our Christian Commitment

ICU's commitment to a Christian philosophy enables us to explore and develop all dimensions of the human existence, including the religious.

We believe a Christian institution of higher learning has a distinct contribution to make to the world. Although differences may arise in explanation, interpretation, or proposed solutions to certain human conditions, our scientific and descriptive tools are the same as those used by scholars at other institutions. Knowledge that is discovered and taught is not an end in itself but carries with it certain implications, such as the responsibility for improving society. We believe in responsible scholarship.

Winning adherents to the Christian faith is not ICU's primary goal. But we encourage our students to open their eyes to the presence and power of God in their lives and in society. Through this environment, students learn that acquiring knowledge is not an end in itself: we believe in the essential unity of knowledge, faith and action.

Our International Commitment

ICU was established shortly after World War II, its founding philosophy embracing a supranational perspective based on deep reflection about the war. On the Mitaka campus, people from different nations and cultures live, study and work together, to form an international community. Our academic program reflects a variety of educational visions, with each individual encountering others from different backgrounds. This multi-cultural environment provides students the groundwork for future problems in the world by handling tensions in a group, accommodating other's needs and adapting common goals.

To promote mutual understanding and exchange in the international community, language ability is vital. ICU provides a bilingual education in English and Japanese. The university provides students with a variety of programs that connect them with the world outside Japan, including ample opportunities to study at universities overseas through our educational exchange programs.

ICU sees itself as a bridge both to and from Japan.

ICU and Christianity

The University seeks to provide a means for moral and religious development by offering various opportunities for inquiry, discussion, instruction and worship, organized by the Religious Center, the Faculty Religious Affairs Committee and student groups. Participation in these activities is optional.

Chapel Hour

A Chapel Hour is conducted for students, faculty and staff every Wednesday during the lunch period, with university ministers, faculty and staff members, students and guests from outside the campus as speakers.

Christianity Week

In May a full week of daily programs, including addresses by outstanding speakers and group discussions in faculty homes and elsewhere, are held under the title of Christianity Week.

The Religious Center also sponsors work camps and a variety of other activities and projects in Japan and other parts of Asia.

The Christian Ideals of ICU

Learn more about the Christian clause of our university.

The Christian Ideals of ICU(Digital book)

ICU Church

The ICU Church, an ecumenical fellowship independent from the university, acts as the heart of the community's religious life. The Church sponsors bilingual worship services and a full program of activities, including a choir, a church school and Bible classes.

ICU Church

Student Pledge

Our first students matriculating on April 29, 1953 each signed a pledge to support the university philosophy and spend their ICU days abiding by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. This has been the custom at every matriculation ceremony.

In order to realize the purposes and ideals of International Christian University, I hereby solemnly pledge that as a student I will uphold the pinciples of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, respct law, and abide by University regulations and instructions.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


In the fall of 1945, just weeks after the end of World War II, a group of Japanese Christian educators initiated a move to establish a university based on Christian principles. The Foreign Missions Conference of North America and the U.S. Education Mission, both visiting Japan at the time, gave their wholehearted support, conveying this plan to people in the U.S. Amidst the post-war yearning for reconciliation and world peace, Americans supported this project with great enthusiasm. In 1948, the Japan International Christian University Foundation (JICUF) was established in New York to coordinate fund-raising efforts in the U.S. People in Japan also found hope in a cause dedicated toworld peace. Organizations, firms, and individuals made donations to this ambitious undertaking, regardless of their religious orientation anddespite the often destitute circumstances in the immediate post-war years. Bank of Japan Governor Hisato Ichimada headed the supporting organization to lead the national fund-raising drive. ICU has been unique from its inception, with its endowment procured through good will transcending national borders.

On June 15, 1949, Japanese and North American Christian leaders convened at the Gotemba YMCA Camp to establish International Christian University. With the inauguration of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Councillors, the founding principles and a fundamental educational plan were laid down. Establishing an interdenominational Christian university had been a dream of Japanese and American Christians for half a century: the Gotemba Conference had finally realized their aspirations.

In 1950, ICU purchased a spacious site in Mitaka City on the outskirts of Tokyo with the donations it received within Japan. The campus was dedicated on April 29, 1952, with the language institute set up in the first year. In March 1953, the Japanese Ministry of Education authorized ICU as an incorporated educational institution, the College of Liberal Arts opening on April 1 as the first four-year liberal arts college in Japan.

The university celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999, with diverse events and projects during the commemorative five-year period leading to March 2004. In 2003, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology selected ICU's "Research and Education for Peace, Security and Conviviality" for the 21st Century Center of Excellence Program and its "Liberal Arts to Nurture Responsible Global Citizens" for the Distinctive University Education Support Program (Good Practice).

In 2008, an academic reform was enforced in the College of Liberal Arts, which replaced the system of six divisions with a new organization of the "Division of Arts and Sciences" and a system of academic majors. As of April 2008, all new students simply start as College of Liberal Arts students, making their choice of major from 31 areas by the end of their sophomore year. Students now have more time to make a decision while they study diverse subjects through general education and foundation courses. MEXT chose ICU for its fiscal year 2007 Distinctive University Education Support Program, "Educational Support for Liberal Arts to Nurture International Learning: From Academic Advising to Academic Planning" in acknowledgement of the university's efforts for educational improvement. In 2010, the Graduate School also conducted a reform and integrated the four divisions into a new "School of Arts and Sciences."

ICU is continually working to reconfirm its responsibilities and fulfill its mission for the changing times.

Gotemba Conference of 1949


June 15 1949 International Christian University founded at Gotemba Conference
April 1 1952 ICU Language Institute established
April 29 1952 ICU Campus Dedication Ceremony
March 23 1953 ICU authorized as a school juridical person
April 1 1953 ICU College of Liberal Arts founded
April 1 1957 ICU Graduate School founded
April 1 1978 ICU High School established
June 15 1984 35th Anniversary Ceremony
May 26 1999 50th Anniversary Ceremony
September 11 2002 Ichimada Memorial Peace Bell Installed in the ICU Chapel
April 1 2008 6 Division system of the College of Liberal Arts replaced with a new organization of the "Division of Arts and Sciences" and the system of academic majors
April 1 2010 4 Divisions of the Graduate School integrated into "School of Arts and Sciences"
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