Fulfilling the vision of the Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier, who visited Japan in 1549, Sophia University was founded in 1913 in Tokyo by three Jesuit priests, Joseph Dahlmann from Germany, Henri Boucher from France and James Rockliff from the U.K.

"Thanks to those founders and other priests who taught at Sophia University, we already had an international environment from the very beginning of the university," said Juro Otsuka, vice president for academic affairs at Sophia University.

Sophia's first English-taught program at the International Division started in 1949 in the postwar period to provide U.S. troops and their children with higher education in English. Based on the U.S. system, the division offered all of its courses in English, which later developed into the Faculty of Comparative Culture in 1987.