Sophia School Corporation
Message from the Chancellor
Fr. Tsutomu Sakuma, S.J.
Chancellor of Sophia School Corporation
When Saint Francis Xavier came to spread Christianity in Japan in 1549, he encountered rationally curious Japanese people with a powerful thirst for knowledge and recognized the importance of contributing to Japanese society through learning and education. He was one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), a Catholic male religious order, and his vision of “creating a university in Japanʼs capital” was passed on to Jesuit priests who eventually established institutes of secondary and tertiary education called seminario and collegio. After a long interval, Xavierʼs vision finally bloomed with the opening of Sophia University in 1913 and Rokko Junior/Senior High School in 1937, followed by the tertiary educational institutes Sophia School of Social Welfare (founded in 1963, closed in 2022) and Sophia University Junior College Division (founded as Sophia Junior College in 1973). Further, secondary educational institutes were also established: Eiko Gakuen Junior and Senior High School (1947), Hiroshima Gakuin Junior and Senior High School (1956), and Sophia Fukuoka Junior-Senior High School (opened in 1932 as Fukuoka Diocese Seminary and transferred to Jesuit management in 1983). In April 2016
schools sharing the Jesuit educational philosophy were integrated into a single corporation to form todayʼs Sophia School Corporation.
Guided by the philosophy “Sophia—Bringing the World Together,” the corporation has developed a vision for the period 2014-2023 entitled “Grand Layout 2.0” and is undertaking various reforms in response to a turbulent world.
Inspired by the shared motto “For Others, with Others,” which encapsulates our founding spirit and educational ideals, the corporationʼs schools conduct education, research, and social contribution initiatives grounded in Christian humanism.
In pursuing these endeavors, we forge links to educate leaders who will work in the service of others, especially through networking and collaboration with institutes throughout the world that share our mission and spirit.
Fr. Sakuma earned a bachelor’s degree from Kyoto University, Kyoto in 1975. In 1980, he earned master’s degree in Philosophy from Sophia University. He also received Diplom Theologie Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt am Main in 1984 and Licentia in re Biblica Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Roma in 1988. He received a doctorate in Theology Pontifical Gregorian University, Roma in 1995.
He became an associate professor of Faculty of Theology in 1997 and was promoted to full professor in 2001. From 2011 to June 2014, he served as the President of Seibo College. He also served as the Director of Sophia School of Social Welfare from 2011 to March 2012. From October 2016 to March 2018, he served as the Trustee for General Affairs.
Society of Jesus and its Educational Initiatives
Foundation of the Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola from the Basque region in Northern Spain and a group of six like-minded students at the University of Paris, including Saint Francis Xavier. Its
foundation was formally approved by Pope Paul III in 1540.
Inspired by the order’s charism of departing to all corners of the world to help others when sent by the Pope, Jesuits voyaged to North and South America, Africa, India, and beyond. Those missionaries were also commissioned to the
Council of Trent, convened for the reform of the Catholic Church.
Right from the founding of the order, Jesuits recognized that school-based education made a tremendous contribution to shaping individuals and enhancing social and spiritual values.
Beginning with a Jesuit College opened in Messina, Sicily in 1548, 31 schools and universities were established in major European cities over the eight years until the death of Ignatius in 1556, and Jesuit educational institutes spread around the world. Their educational methods shape character guided by the “Spiritual Exercises” written by Ignatius based on his own spiritual experiences. These focus on “magis”, the concept of gaining deeper human understanding and educating people to live “for others and with others.” As of 2021 more than 1.63
million young people are studying in a network of some 2,500 various educational institutes grounded in this educational philosophy that spans 78 countries and includes 2,300 secondary educational institutes and 200 higher-level educational institutions including 90 universities.