Oxford is the oldest university within the English-speaking world. Being a collegiate institution, it consists of the central university (composed of academic departments, research centres, administrative departments, libraries and museums) and several colleges (self-governing and financially independent institutions, which are related to the central University in a federal system).
There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 already, and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. During the 13th century, rioting between townspeople and students hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence, which were then succeeded by the first of Oxford's colleges (i.e. 'halls of residence' or endowed houses under the supervision of a Master).
In the following centuries Oxford had achieved eminence above every other seat of learning and assumed a leading role in the Victorian era. From 1878, academic halls were established for women and they were admitted to full membership of the University in 1920. Five all-male colleges first admitted women in 1974 and, since then, all colleges have changed their statutes to admit both women and men.
During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Oxford added to its humanistic core a major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, enhancing its traditional role as an international focus for learning and a forum for intellectual debate.
Japanese has been taught as a degree subject at Oxford since 1963. The course started with only one lecturer, but the field has shown a dramatic expansion in both staff and student numbers since then. Oxford is today a major national and international centre for the study of Japan. The University currently has sixteen senior faculty members and three full-time language instructors engaged in research and teaching in fields related to Japan.
There are two centres for the teaching programme: The Oriental Institute and the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies. Undergraduates reading for the degree of B.A. Honours in Oriental Studies (Japanese) number about sixty, and there are usually ten or so graduate students in Japanese in Faculty of Oriental Studies at any one time.