About Otani Univ.
Otani University has its beginning in 1665, when it was established as a seminary by the Higashi Honganji denomination of Shin Buddhism. Subsequently, it was reorganized as a modern university in 1901. Kiyozawa Manshi, a major figure of the world of Japanese philosophy, served as its first president. During the address given on the occasion of the founding of the university, he enunciated the school's educational ideal with the words: "Our university is based on Buddhism, especially the spirit of Shinran. It is a center of learning founded upon the desire to nurture human beings who firmly establish themselves in faith, a matter of utmost importance for us, and achieve genuine autonomous existence."
Nearly 4,000 students attend Otani University, divided among the Graduate School, Faculty of Letters and the Junior College. The Korukan (Shin Buddhist Comprehensive Academic Center), completed in April 2002, serves as the new focal point of the university's teaching and research activities.
A number of internationally recognized scholars have taught at Otani. They include Nanjo Bunyu, the compiler of the Nanjo Catalogue (an English catalogue of the Chinese Buddhist canon); Sasaki Gessho, who worked tirelessly to make Otani into a center of the academic study of Buddhism without, however, neglecting the Buddhist spirit; D. T. Suzuki, the scholar of Zen who worked to spread Buddhism in the West; Nishida Kitaro and Nishitani Keiji, who created their distinctive philosophical systems deeply influenced by Buddhism; Soga Ryojin and Kaneko Daiei, who elucidated Shin Buddhism for the modern world from the perspective of their profound faith; Yamaguchi Susumu, a pioneer of the philological approach to the study of Buddhist texts in Japan; and the erudite Sinologist Kanda Kiichiro.
Following the footsteps of these scholars, Otani University has maintained a standard of excellence in teaching and research. To spread the result of our research, a museum was opened in the fall of 2003. It exhibits numerous artifacts and documents acquired by the university over the years.
The university always remains constantly attentive to the needs of working students and international students. Active academic exchange programs are maintained with foreign colleges and research institutions.