Hokusei Gakuen University


Hokusei Gakuen University, as part of the Hokusei Gakuen School System, from its foundation has been dedicated to the spirit and tradition of Christian education.

The history of Hokusei Gakuen dates back to the time of Sarah C. Smith, an American missionary of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. She established a school for girls in 1887.

Smith Girls’ School continued to flourish thanks to the energy and dedication of S. C. Smith and the cooperation of young scholars who had studied with Dr. W. S. Clark of Sapporo Agricultural School.

The school was later renamed Hokusei Girls’ School. Hokusei Gakuen has remained dedicated to the education of women in Hokkaido over the long course of its history, valuing its rich tradition and unique identity. Hokusei Gakuen Women’s Junior College was founded in 1951, and Hokusei Gakuen University was established in 1962 as a four-year coeducational university to help meet the educational needs of the surrounding society. In 2002, the Junior College became coeducational.

The lilac trees found on the campus of Hokusei Gakuen University were introduced to Sapporo in 1890 by Hokusei’s founder, Miss Smith. The trees she brought from her hometown in the USA were cut down during the Pacific War. After peace returned, lilacs again took root, grew, and blossomed.  The lilac has once again become the flower symbolizing Hokusei and now is the official tree of the City of Sapporo.

Hokusei’s motto is “Shine like stars in a dark world.” The phrase is taken from Philippians 2:15 in the New Testament and reflects the meaning of Hokusei (“North Star”), as well.

Founding Spirit

The Hokusei Gakuen School System, including Hokusei Gakuen University, was founded on the Protestant faith. Essential in its formation has been intellectual integrity. This is an attitude of humbly learning while constantly acknowledging how oneself and one’s country stand in relation to God. “To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7).

The University’s activities are based on Christian values, which recognize the dignity of each person and do not consider people as things to be manipulated. It strives to educate independent people who have informed opinions and a sense of responsibility, and who contribute to society. Possessing broad academic perspectives free from oppression and prejudice, these people will be open-minded, consider all people at home or abroad as their neighbors, and value the natural differences between people. This is the academic freedom for which the university is striving. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).


Message from President DAIBO Ikuo

This year Hokusei Gakuen University is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding. Established in April 1962 as a small institution with only a School of Humanities, it consisted of a Department of English and a Department of Social Welfare, each with an enrollment capacity of 50 students. Despite its initial size, over the past six decades Hokusei has developed into an academic community with a student body of more than 4,000. 

The expectations and trust invested in the University’s education by countless students have led to its development and solid achievements by its many graduates. The learning experience offered at Hokusei is based on character building according to Christian principles. Thanks to its focus on fostering the development of fully-fledged members of society who have a well-rounded education and broad international perspectives, the University has produced thousands of competent graduates, many of whom have excelled in various fields.


President: Professor DAIBO Ikuo
Vice-president: Professor NAKAMURA Kazuhiko

Academic Programs

School of Humanities
            Department of English
            Department of Psychology and Applied Communication

School of Economics
            Department of Economics
            Department of Management Information
            Department of Law and Economics

School of Social Welfare
           Department of Social Policy
           Department of Social Work
           Department of Psychology for Well-being

Hokusei Gakuen University Junior College
           Department of English
            Department of Life and Creative Sciences

Graduate School of Social Welfare
            Doctoral Program in Social Welfare
            Master’s Program in Social Welfare
            Master’s Program in Clinical Psychology

Graduate School of Literature
            Master’s Program in Language, Culture, and Communication

Graduate School of Economics
            Master’s Program in Economics


Student population (as of May 2022)

Undergraduate: 4,022

Graduate: 28 


Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan



Introduction to University (Japanese language video)


Smith Mission Center

At this university, students are encouraged to develop a sense of values in addition to acquiring practical knowledge and skills. The Smith Mission Center works throughout the academic year to help each member of the Hokusei Gakuen University community in developing life values and spiritual awareness. Consisting of its director, committee members, and chaplain as the core, it conducts activities that emphasize (1) understanding Christianity, (2) volunteer activities, (3) realization of peace, and (4) collaboration with local communities.

The following are held regularly:
*Daily Chapel Service
*Smith Mission Week
*Annual Lecture on the Reformation
*Christmas Service
*Graduation Service

Other activities and events include the Smith Mission Center Training-camp Tour and activities organized by Smith Mission Center student groups (among them the Chapel Choir, Handbell Choir, English Daberiba conversation group, and Pole Star event coordinators). Examples are gospel music lessons and volunteer activities.

International Education Programs

Since its founding, Hokusei Gakuen University has continuously tried to promote international exchange and understanding as one of its educational principles. Efforts to foster students’ international perspectives include partner school relationships with a number of universities and colleges abroad. Hokusei has exchange programs with

partner schools in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Spain, Switzerland, and Indonesia. The University annually sends approximately 30 Hokusei students overseas to partner schools, and it hosts roughly 60 students from them. The Department of English of Hokusei Gakuen University Junior College conducts a four-month-long overseas education program in which approximately 20 Hokusei students study at universities in the United States, the

United      Kingdom,      Canada,     New     Zealand,      and     Australia     every       year. 

In addition to these various arrangements for sending and receiving students internationally, Hokusei coordinates with partner institutions such as Maranatha Christian University in Bandung, Indonesia, in linking students and faculty members online.  These special activities, held inside and outside classes in the standard curriculum, provide opportunities for language learning, deepening cultural awareness, friendship-making, dialogue on academic and social issues, and more.