A Message from the President

A Message from the President

Looking Into "Issues of Living"

学長 日比谷潤子

Junko Hibiya, President

International Christian University is Japan's first liberal arts college. It was founded in 1953 based on Christian principles, with the aim of "cultivating capable individuals, educated as internationally minded citizens, who will serve both God and people and who will contribute to lasting peace." At the first matriculation ceremony, held on April 29th of the same year, each student was introduced and, in order to realize the aim and philosophy of the university, students vowed to lead lives that adhered to the principles of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

A cornerstone that sets ICU apart from other universities is the respect paid to each person as a unique individual. This is epitomized by the fact that all students are called individually, by name, at the April and September matriculation ceremonies and at the March and June commencement ceremonies. This tradition has been faithfully upheld since the founding of the university.

ICU offers a fully bilingual education in Japanese and English. The liberal arts education, provided by its undergraduate college, allows students to pursue an in-depth study in any of approximately 30 majors. At the same time, this education highlights the dynamic possibilities that can emerge as students experience areas that transcend and connect academic disciplines. Powered by a commitment to liberal arts education, ICU also offers graduate programs designed to deepen scholarly research. Students work independently, and the role of faculty and staff is to support a process by which students discover their own potential. How this is achieved is through a system of classes with a low student-teacher ratio, classes that prioritize participation and, finally, through the faculty advisory system, office hours and tutorials.

The ICU campus is a place where students, faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds can study and work, in unison and, in such an ambience, there is greater perception and understanding of individual difference. This leads to enhanced self-awareness and the possibility of interpersonal relations.

Another unique aspect of ICU is its tradition of emphasizing interaction throughout the campus community. In addition to the main building where lectures are held, the science building, the library and gymnasium, this verdant 620,000-square-meter campus is also home to student dormitories and faculty and staff residences. Unmistakably, this makes for an environment where students can interact fluently with faculty and staff outside the classroom. This campus, without parallel, was provided to ICU in the wake of the destruction from World War II, through the generous donations of a great many people who supported the university's founding principles.

Hachiro Yuasa (1890-1981), who served as the frst president of ICU, believed Proverbs 29:18 from the King James Bible, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" to be "an important expression in considering our reason for existence and in the realization of an organization's philosophy." President Yuasa asked, "We each of us are given only one opportunity in life. Therefore, with what vision are we going to live that life? Is that not the foremost question with which we proceed through life?" (pp. 34-35, "Visions to the Young," ICU Alumni Association, 1981).

We confront the work of each living day, with a sincere heart, responding to the prayers of the countless people who have sown the seeds of their commitment to ICU over the past 60 years.


Junko Hibiya, President of International Christian University

22 October 1957
1980 Sophia University, B.A., French Studies, 1980
1982 Sophia University, M.A., Linguistics, 1982
1988 University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., Linguistics, 1988
Teaching Positions Held
1987-1992 Keio University, Assistant Professor, International Center
1992-2002 Keio University, Associate Professor, International Center
1994 Dartmouth College, Visiting Associate Professor, Program in Asian Studies
2002-2004 International Christian University, Associate Professor, Division of Languages
2004-2005 Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Visiting Professor, East Asia Languages and Cultures
2005-2007 International Christian University, Professor, Division of Languages
2008-present International Christian University, Professor, Division of Arts and Sciences
Administrative Offices Held at International Christian University
2002-2004 Director, Summer Courses in Japanese
2004-2005 Director, Japanese Language Programs
2005-2006 Chair, Division of Languages
2006-2012 Director, Office of Academic Reform
2008-2012 Vice President for Academic Affairs
2012-present President
Membership with Academic Societies
Linguistic Society of Japan, Japanese Association of Sociolinguistic Sciences, Phonetic Society of Japan, Phonological Society of Japan, Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language
Other Positions Held
2012-present Councilor of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
2014-present Member of the Science Council of Japan (Linguistics/Literature)
2015-present Member of the Central Council for Education