The history of Ritsumeikan dates back to 1869 when Prince Kinmochi Saionji, an eminent international statesman of modern Japan, founded "Ritsumeikan" as a private academy on the site of the Kyoto Imperial Place.
Today, Ritsumeikan University offers a wide range of courses in advanced studies at its Kinugasa Campus in Kyoto and Biwako-Kusatsu Campus (BKC) in Shiga. The year 2000 marked the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Ritsumeikan private school and the 100th year of the establishment of Ritsumeikan University. In April 2000, the 100th anniversary of its establishment, Ritsumeikan opened an international educational institution, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Oita prefecture. The addition of APU has given new momentum to Ritsumeikan as it continues to adhere to its founding spirit into the 21st century. Over the century, the Ritsumeikan Trust has evolved into a comprehensive educational institution consisting of two universities, three senior high schools and three junior high schools.