University of Tokyo takes top spot
Higher Education (THE) recently published its first ranking of 150 Japanese universities.
The University of Tokyo takes first place in the inaugural THE Japan University Rankings, followed by Tohoku University (2nd place), Kyoto University (3rd) and Nagoya University and Tokyo Institute of Technology, which share joint fourth place. In addition to the 150 institutions ranked, data are published for a further 142, providing analysis of 292 institutions overall.
The new ranking is modelled on the highly successful Wall
Higher Education College Ranking of more than 1,000 US institutions, launched in September last year, which placed teaching and student outcomes ahead of research performance.
The rankings are based on a new methodology using 11 indicators of the student experience — including finance per student, student ability development and employer reputation.
Times Higher Education World University Rankings Phil Baty editor said: “Our first ranking of 150 Japanese universities, with data covering almost 300, is a radical new take on the Japanese university system and marks an exciting expansion by Times Higher Education of our portfolio of rankings that emphasise the quality of teaching and student outcomes.
“Our data team has developed an entirely new methodology following an extensive consultation with MEXT — the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology — and our partners at Benesse.
“The results offer a deeper, richer way of looking at Japanese university performance, revealing strengths that are not fully exposed by traditional rankings, with their greater emphasis on research productivity.
“Academics, policy makers and, particularly, students, will find in these rankings a better reflection of the true qualities of Japanese universities in a Japanese context.”
Clustered near the top of the new ranking are the National Seven Universities, a group of institutions founded by the Empire of Japan between 1886 and 1939 and considered the Japanese equivalent of the Ivy League in the US. This select group comprises seven of the top eight places, with the only non-member in the top eight being the Tokyo Institute of Technology, founded in 1929. The top private institutions in the ranking are Waseda and Keio universities, both located in Tokyo.
The THE Japan University Rankings are based on four “pillars”, each comprising a number of metrics, with 11 individual performance indicators being used in the ranking overall. The four pillars measure resources, engagement, outcomes and environment. Some of Japan’s less prestigious universities perform well in specific areas of the new rankings. For example, the engagement pillar, which reflects how well universities develop their students’ abilities and whether students are taught to global standards, is based on a survey of careers advisors from almost 2,400 Japanese high schools and places Akita International University (20th overall) top on this basket of measures.