The forerunner of Nihon University, Nihon Law School, was founded in 1889 by Count Akiyoshi Yamada, who served as the first Minister of Justice during the Meiji Period of Japan. While he highly valued Japanese tradition and ethics, Count Yamada also embraced the concepts of the various legal systems of European countries. The school was established with the educational philosophy that sought to develop outstanding, independent, and creative scholars and professionals capable of conducting academic research in the global arena.
Today, Nihon University has grown into Japan's largest university, consisting of 16 colleges and schools covering all academic fields, 20 graduate schools, 4 correspondence division programs, and 1 junior college. A large number of graduates have been sent out to the world: approximately 1,000,000 students have graduated from Nihon University while 14,764 students have earned their doctorate degrees (as of March 31, 2015), which is a record that stands out among private universities in Japan.