In 1885, in the aftermath of the Meiji Restoration, the Chuo University was established and was then known as the Igirisu Horitsu Gakko, or the English Law School. It was founded by 18 young lawyers headed by Rokuichiro Masujima in the area of Kanda-Nishikicho, Tokyo.
These lawyers firmly believed in the cause of fostering the ability to apply knowledge to practice, and that studying the British and American laws, which are closely intertwined with the social reality, would be more useful in fostering legal professionals and other human resources that would be perfectly suitable to contemporary society. This led them to devote all their resources and energy into legal education.
In 1887, the number of students grew from 97 to over 600. Two years later, during the ratification of the Meiji Constitution, the school moved to a stylish new brick building from its old samurai residence. By October of the same year, the school was renamed Tokyo Hogakuin, or Tokyo College of Law, with the vision of giving broad legal education to the country.
It was also during these times that plans for merging with the Tokyo Igakuin (Tokyo College of Medicine) and Tokyo Bungakuin (Tokyo College of Literature) were being drafted. This was supposed to lead to the establishment of the country’s first ever private university. However, various disputes over problems related to the civil code derailed the plans and the merger never materialized.
In 1892, the school building was destroyed during the Great Kanda fire, and the school was razed to the ground, losing a lot of valuable assets. With support coming from its alumni and other schools, the school bounced back and sent its students to study abroad, and to develop a countrywide network of its alumni which strengthened the bonds between its graduates and their school.
In August of 1903, the school was once again renamed as Tokyo Hogakuin Daigaku (Tokyo University of Law). Two years later, the school’s name was changed and was know as the Chuo Daigaku, or Chuo University. During this time, the school’s Economics Department was established.
Four years later, the Commerce Department became the school’s third department after the Departments of Law and Economics. In 1918, its legal status became a foundation instead of a corporation in response to University Order. Two years later, it was accredited by the University Order and the Faculties of Law, Economics, and Commerce; a graduate school and college preparatory were established in order to constitute a university under the old and pre-war system of education.
In 1917, the school once again suffered from a fire and in 1923 it was seriously damaged during the great Kanto earthquake. It once again bounced back and was even rebuilt and expanded, moving to its new campus in Surugadai from its old home of 40 years in Kanda-Nishikicho. In 1978, the school started to move to the Tama campus where the university entered a new era.
Ushering them into the 21st century is their Department of Precisions Mechanics, inside the Faculty of Science and Systems Engineering, where the Osumi Laboratory has successfully developed advanced robot systems. Here, students are taught how to design kinematic compliance in order to achieve cooperative handlings based on position controllers, how to realize cooperation among humanoids, and also how to exploit redundancy included in robotic systems.
Among their research projects include a fast walking, four-legged robot and the development of a mobile manipulator which has 6 DOF and an omni-directional mobile platform.