From the establishment of Tokyo Senmon Gakko in 1882, the Kocho (Principal) served as the representative of the school. When the school evolved into Waseda University, its leadership system was changed to a Socho-Gakucho (President and Principal). In 1923, a year after the death of founder Shigenobu Okuma, the current Presidential system was instituted.
Today Japanese private universities are governed by the Basic Law on Education, School Education Law, Private School Law and other applicable rules. Under these regulations, private universities have two identities: one is that of an educational corporation, and the other is that of an academic institution established by the corporation. The former is headed by a Rijicho (Chair of the Executive Board), and the latter by a Gakucho (Principal). Waseda’s president fills both positions. Elected through voting by faculty members, staff, alumni and students, the President is considered a true representative of the whole Waseda University community.