The School of Political Science and Economics (SPSE) started as early as Meiji 15 (1882), as a pioneering department of the Tokyo Senmon Gakko, the school that went on to become Waseda University, founded by Shigenobu Okuma.
The lofty ideals which led Shigenobu Okuma to found the University were shared by the eminent scholars Azusa Ono, Sanae Takata, and Tameyuki Amano. Azusa Ono had studied political science in England, while Sanae Takata was a political scientist well versed in English and American politics and culture. For his part, Tameyuki Amano was an outstanding economist, greatly influenced by English and American ideas. It is no wonder that the School of Political Science and Economics, pioneered by such outstanding scholars, has occupied a central position at Waseda University ever since its establishment.
In those early days, education in Japan was under the strong influence of the German education system, regarded by the Japanese as a role model. However, the SPSE distinguished itself from its competitors by adopting a different approach to education, one in which the study of political science and the study of economics were united in a single school, with students in each of the two Departments encouraged to study the other discipline also. This insightful decision was remarkable because German universities generally placed political science with law and not economics. The innovation thrived and has continued to this day: SPSE students select a variety of subjects from both political science and economics. Moreover, in 2004, the School created a third department: the Department of Global Political Economy, integrating political science, economics, and public administration, to provide students with a thorough grounding in a truly interdisciplinary and internationally oriented academic program.
To keep its edge in education and research under the current trend towards globalization, the SPSE has placed ever greater emphasis on its foreign language education program, with many language classes in the SPSE being taught in the target language by native speakers. The School has also pioneered an innovative English textbook, developed by a team of English, political science, and economics teachers working together. In addition, the curricula for foreign languages besides English have been upgraded and standardized for effective teaching that produces results.
Thanks to the efforts made by those who followed in the footsteps of the illustrious founders of the SPSE, the School continues to enjoy a most prestigious position in higher education in Japan, proudly symbolizing the very essence of Waseda University. Graduates of the SPSE have long played a leading role in every area of significance, politics, business, the mass media, and academia, to name just a few. They actively serve the needs of society today, and will continue to do so well into the future.