In 1870, the Meiji government ordered various local governments to send "persons qualified for positions of authority in government" to developed nations as overseas observers or students. The swift absorption of Western academic practices and knowledge was necessary to further Japan's modernization.
The founders of Senshu University, Nagatane Soma, Inajiro Tajiri, Tanetaro Megata, and Shigetada Komai were among those sent to the US at the expense of the central or local governments. While studying overseas, Soma and Megata deepened their friendship with other Japanese students studying in similar circumstances, and together they formed a study group called "the Japan Law Company". Tajiri and Komai, on the other hand, studied economics and public finance, and together began translating academic papers on public finance into Japanese. Later Soma and his legal study group and Tajiri and his economical group met at Yale University and discussed the prospect of founding a college in Japan in which economics and law would be taught.
After returning home, they founded Senshu College in 1880, the first school in Japan comprising Economics and Law Departments to systematically offer a specialized educational curriculum in the Japanese language. The Economics department was the first institute of higher learning in Japan to offer training in economics. The Economics Department was independent of the Literary Department as well as the Law Department. Our system was one step ahead of the U.S. educational system at that time. That college was the forerunner of today's Senshu University.