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University Philosophy & Brief History


Tokyo Zokei University of Arts and Design is the first university in Japan to take up the ideals and title of Hochschule für Gestultung Ulm (a university affiliated with the BAUHAUS School of Design), and incorporate the term “gestultung” (its Japanese translation being zokei ) into its university name. The term “gestultung”, according to its origin, does not merely signify a visual figuration, nor a means of expression, but rather refers to the primordial act of creation in design and arts in general. The university’s principles holds the following two “ideals of design” at its core: 1) to capture design and art as a synthesis, and 2) to pursue scholarly research and artistic practices which are founded on the social representation of creative acts. The Graduate School of Tokyo Zokei University of Arts and Design was established in 2005 as an institution that will succeed and uphold these “ideals of design”, and contribute to the progress of culture through further pursuit higher education.

Fostering Students’ Artistic and Personal Development

The graduate school offers students opportunities to expand the depth and complexity of their studio practice and acquire the ability to think critically.

In today’s society that faces many complex problems, what is demanded is the means to think beyond the realm of the individual. A more comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach is necessary, of which the realm of design is no exception. Throughout the university’s varied research courses, students will acquire high-leveled knowledge, not to mention comprehensive and flexible research skills. The university aims to train students to become practitioners of art and design, designers and consultants who will contribute much to the industrial world and social communities, and furthermore, educators and supervisors who will contribute in strengthening art, social, and life-long education. These we hope will function as the foundation for the succession and further dissemination of the cultures of design.

Brief History

Tokyo ZOKEI University (Previous Hachioji Campus)

Utsunuki Campus Opens

Graduate School of Fine Arts and Design
(Master’s Degree) established.

1954 April Yoko Kuwasawa establishes Kuwasawa Design School.
Walter Gropius (First President of BAUHAUS) and his wife visit the school.
1957 December Kuwasawa Gakuen Educational Foundation established.
1966 Jan. Tokyo Zokei University of Arts and Design approved under the Ministry of Education. (Founder: Kuwasawa Gakuen Educational Foundation.
April Tokyo Zokei University of Arts and Design Campus opens in Hachioji, Tokyo. (President: Yoko Kuwasawa)
1993 April Campus moves to Utsunuki-machi. University opens.
2005 April Graduate School of Fine Arts and Design (Master’s Program) established.
2007 June Becomes member of CUMULUS Association (The International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media)
2010 July CS PLAZA Building established.
Nov. “SO+ZO” exhibition held commemorating Centennial of Yoko Kuwasawa.
2011 Jan. “SO+ZO Film Festival” held commemorating Centennial of Yoko Kuwasawa.
2012 April Graduate School, Fine Arts nad Design (M.A. degree) has changed its no. of admittance to 50.
July “SO+ZO MOVEMENT” exhibition is held at the Hachioji Yume Art Museum as part of the centennial commemoration for Yoko Kuwasawa.
Sep. Founded student exchange agreeemnt with Ecole Boule (France.)
2014 Oct. The “ZOKEI Education” exhibition and the “International Symposium: Education of Design and Arts” held to celebrate the 50th anniversary
2015 Oct. The “International Symposium 2015: Design Research for Integrating Meaningful Systems”and other workshops held.
2016 April The Tokyo Zokei University 50th Anniversary.
Doctoral (Ph.D.) program newly established in Major in Design Education and Research.
Major in Design Education and Research newly established for M.A. degree in the Graduate School of Fine Art and Design.