Toyo University was founded in 1887 as "Tetsugakukan" (“Philosophy Academy” in English) by Enryo Inoue. Shortly after the construction of its new buildings in 1889, the school itself had to relocate due to a fire. In 1903, the Philosophy Academy was approved as a "Shiritsu Tetsugakukan" ("Private Institution Tetsugakukan College in English) under the Professional School Ordinance. After Inoue’s retirement, the academy became an incorporated foundation. In 1906, the institution changed its name to Toyo University. In 1928, Toyo University was approved as a university with the faculty of letters under the University Ordinance. In 1945, however, Japan’s school system was restructured following her defeat in the war. In 1949, Toyo University made a new start as a university comprising the faculty of letters. Today, Toyo University has grown into a comprehensive university with 13 faculties, namely the Faculty of Letters, the Faculty of Economics, the Faculty of Business Administration, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Sociology, the Faculty of Life Sciences, the Faculty of Food and Nutritional Sciences, the Faculty of Human Life Design, the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Faculty of Information Sciences and Arts, the Faculty of Global and Regional Studies, the Faculty of International Tourism Management, and the Faculty of Information Networking for Innovation and Design, as well as 15 graduate schools. To accommodate all these faculties and graduate schools, Toyo University now has five campuses—Hakusan, Kawagoe, Asaka, Itakura, and Akabanedai. In line with its philosophy, Toyo University will continue its commitment to implementing reforms in education, research, and social contribution.
In 1887, after studying philosophy at Tokyo University, Enryo Inoue founded "Tetsugakukan", predecessor of the present Toyo University. The educational goal of Tetsugakukan was to help people with no extra money and time learn philosophy, thereby developing educators, religious thinkers, and philosophers who would assume new roles in modernizing Japan. After his return from his first world tour, Inoue initiated the construction of new school buildings with the aim of establishing a university based on his vision. However, his endeavors were stymied by various disasters—storms, fires, and even a man-made disaster. Despite these difficulties, Inoue continued managing the school with the assistance of distinguished individuals such as Katsu Kaishu and other supporters from all over the country—a unique way in those days for a school to survive. In 1903, the school was approved as a private institution Tetsugakukan College under the Professional School Ordinance.
In 1906, two years after his school was reorganized into Tetsugakukan College, Enryo Inoue retired from the college for health reasons. At the time of his retirement, Inoue donated all his assets to form a foundation and renamed the school Toyo University. Thereafter, Toyo University continued to steadily progress as a college specializing in humanities, striving for promotion to the position of a university under the University Ordinance promulgated in 1919, which was the same year that Enryo Inoue passed. In 1928, after many years of effort to fulfill various requirements in terms of personnel, facilities and finances, Toyo University finally obtained approval under the University Ordinance to be promoted to the position of a college with the Faculty of Letters. Following the war defeat in 1945, the university system was changed, and in 1949, Toyo University became a new university with the faculty of letters. In the years that followed, Toyo University endeavored to grow into a more comprehensive university featuring various faculties.
Following Japan’s defeat in the war in 1945, its educational system was revised, enabling more people to receive higher education.
Toyo University, in line with its founding spirit of contributing to society through education and research, also attempted to renew its educational system to respond to people’s increasing desire to attend college. However, it was a truly exacting challenge in a society still struggling in the post-war turmoil. Toyo University made a restart in 1949 with its faculty of letters. The university then added the Faculty of Economics (1950), the Junior College Department (1950), graduate schools (1952), the Faculty of Law (1956), and the Faculty of Sociology (1959), and founded the Faculty of Engineering at the Kawagoe Campus, Saitama (1961). Through these steps, Toyo University grew into a comprehensive university with diverse faculties. It has continued efforts to enhance its educational infrastructure by reorganizing the Junior College Department into a junior college (1966), founding affiliated high schools in Hyogo and Ibaraki (1963-1964), establishing the Faculty of Business Administration (1966), and increasing the number of students to over 10,000. In 1977, to accommodate an increasing number of students, the university founded the Asaka Campus in Saitama.
Having grown into a large university comprising many faculties, Toyo University experienced what is known as “campus strife.” After that, the university began to look for a new image as a university so that it would be better able to respond to the needs of Japan and the world that were becoming increasingly internationalized and information-oriented. Toyo University experienced a turning point in 1987 when celebrating its 100th anniversary. We took this special opportunity to reconfirm Enryo Inoue’s educational philosophy—the foundation of Toyo University—based on which we promoted activities to explore our new school philosophy. As we proceed from the Showa era through the Heisei era, our new image as a university is beginning to take shape.
A new series of educational reforms have also been underway, including establishment of the International Exchange Center (1987), redevelopment of the Hakusan Campus so that it can be revitalized as an urban-centered university (1990), founding of the Inoue Enryo Memorial Center (1990), opening of evening graduate courses (1994), establishment of the Faculty of Global and Regional Studies and the Faculty of Life Sciences at the Itakura Campus, Gunma (1997), founding of the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Center (1997), and introduction of the information network system “Toyo Net” (1998). These events were followed by the founding of the Law School (2004), the concentration of all courses offered by the five humanities faculties for the four year undergraduate program to the Hakusan Campus, establishment of the Faculty of Human Life Design at the Asaka Campus, opening of the Inoue Enryo Memorial Museum (2005), establishment of the Hakusan 2nd Campus and relocation of the Law School there, and opening of the Otemachi Satellite (2006). In October 2008, Toyo University held a memorial lecture in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of its founder Enryo Inoue, which served as an opportunity to enable many more people know about the history and current status of Toyo University. In 2009, the university established the Faculty of Science and Engineering (reorganized from the Faculty of Engineering) and the Faculty of Information Sciences and Arts at the Kawagoe Campus, and relocated the Faculty of Regional Development Studies to the Hakusan 2nd Campus.
In 2012, in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of its founding, the 125th Anniversary Memorial Building (Building No. 8) was completed at the Hakusan Campus. The Faculty of Regional Development Studies and the Law School were relocated to the Hakusan Campus. In 2013, the Faculty of Food and Nutritional Sciences was established at the Itakura Campus and the Department of Eastern Philosophy and Culture was established in the Faculty of Letters by integrating and reorganizing the Department of Indian Philosophy and the Department of Chinese Philosophy and Literature. Through these efforts, Toyo University has opened up even more diverse learning opportunities as a comprehensive university.
In 2014, Toyo University was selected as a Type B university under the Top Global University Project carried out by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), accelerating its drive to “global talent” who are expected to play active roles and create new values in the international arena. In 2017, Toyo University established three faculties and four departments, namely, the Faculty of Global and Regional Studies (the Department of Global Innovation Studies and the Department of Regional Development Studies), the Faculty of International Tourism Management (Department of International Tourism Management), and the Faculty of Information Networking for Innovation and Design (Department of Information Networking for Innovation and Design). Also, the university founded the Department of International Culture and Communication Studies in the Faculty of Letters. Additionally, the Akabanedai Campus was opened in Kita-ku, Tokyo, as a campus for students of the Faculty of Information Networking for Innovation and Design.