※Information for 2025 will be released in late July 2024.

About the University

Seian University of Art and Design, founded in 1993 and located in the city of Otsu in Shiga Prefecture, offers 19 four-year courses in the art and design field, provided through 6 departments focusing on a particular area or areas.
As illustrated by our small class sizes, we do our utmost to get to know all our students and treat them as individuals, and the atmosphere on the campus is very comfortable and friendly. Our three motivating concepts are "individual guidance," "learning that guarantees expertise," and "career support". Keeping these concepts in mind at all times, we attempt to help our students realize their individual objectives, thus enabling them to contribute to society through their art—all in a beautiful learning environment in the heart of Japanese nature.
We are also dedicated to bettering the regional cultural scene. This we do in various ways, such as cooperating with local governments, companies and all kinds of groups to give students opportunities to participate in society-wide projects. We also better the regional cultural scene through the Seian Art Center, known as "Campus ga Bijutsukan" (literally, Campus as an Art Museum), where art exhibitions are shown in our nine on-campus galleries, and through the Omi Multicultural Institute, which researches and communicates information about the history and culture of the surrounding region of Shiga Prefecture.

Chairman, Board of Trustees: YAMADA Takashi
President: OZAKI Yoshiyuki

Seian University of Art and Design - The philosophy of education

“Contributing to society through art”

6 Departments | 16 Courses

Integrated Studies Department Comprehensive Design
Illustration Department Media Illustration / Character Creation / 3DCG and Animation / Illustration Art
Fine Arts Department Japanese-style Painting Course / Painting Course / Contemporary Art Course
Media Design Department Graphic Design Course / Media Design Course / Photography Course / Video and Film Course
Spatial Design Department Costume Design Course / Product Design Course / Living Space Design Course
Creative Community Department Creative Studies Course

Integrated Studies Department

Learning how to employ design thinking to solve problems

Knowing how to employ design thinking is essential in order to discover new concepts, make proposals, and find solutions for issues that affect society. The Integrated Studies Department teaches students how to employ design thinking by providing them with opportunities to learn firsthand about the design process. Students become proficient at investigating issues, identifying problems, and coming up with ingenious answers, then turning those answers into concrete, workable solutions, and trying them out. The Integrated Studies Department teaches a good balance of areas covering knowledge, hands-on skills, and data proficiency, and hones students’ plan proposal, production, and direction skills through the use of their design expertise. It nurtures individuals with highly creative, well-rounded capabilities.

Comprehensive Design Course

Develop a broad perspective and acquire a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary education with an emphasis on design in general instead of focusing on specific specialized fields. Learn production and direction skills.

Illustration Department

Create and develop your own unique style of illustration and gain specialized knowledge through a curriculum that offers four different courses with a wide array of electives.

An illustration is a drawing or figure—usually intended to be reproduced—designed for explaining something or conveying information. Vital for print media, websites, advertisements, manga, animation, merchandise, and many other products and services, illustration is used in a broad range of areas today. As pop culture, it reaches deep into every corner of our lives.

Seian University of Art and Design has a long history of illustration education and has established its own unique curriculum. While building expertise through your own specialist course, you can also take classes from the other courses and choose from a wide variety of electives to create a personalized curriculum.

Media Illustration

Illustrations have historically been pictures or diagrams that functioned as design elements, printed in combination with text on pages. In this course you will learn to create artwork for stories that will bring them to life, eye-catching illustrations for striking cover pages and advertisements, as well as practical illustrations that supplement explanations and convey information effectively.

Character Creation

Characters were originally no more than a part of the stories in manga or anime, but today they have gained additional functions, such as advertising characters and virtual idols, becoming a familiar presence in many areas of everyday life. Through this course, you can learn to create your own world, along with the characters that inhabit it and the stories that take place in it.

3DCG and Animation

Animation and computer games now have vast numbers of fans around the globe, promising a bright future for the next generation of creators. In this course you will learn the techniques of both hand-drawn animation and three-dimensional computer graphics, and cultivate your skills to become a creator ready to shine in areas such as movies, TV, and games.

Illustration Art

This course provides ample opportunities to work with diverse themes, interpret and re-interpret them, and express them on your drawing surface, enabling you to gradually build your own unique creative concepts and establish your own style, with the aim of achieving artistic independence. In addition, you will have the chance to consider and experience various ways of getting your artwork known to the world, such as holding an actual exhibition of your work, publishing in print, and making use of digital space.

Fine Arts Department

Becoming expressive individuals who can contribute to society and foster diversity through art

Creating art involves developing a deep understanding of your topic, conceiving a new idea, trying out many different materials and techniques, and, finally, sharing with the world original work that leaves people moved. Painters and other artists aren’t the only ones expected to have these skills that are fostered by this process of creating art. They are important skills required in various situations in modern society, which demands that all people be able to express themselves The Fine Arts Department nurtures expressive individuals who can interact with people with diverse values and work in creative ways in society while possessing their own views.

Japanese-style Painting Course

Take a look at a variety of natural phenomena such as plants, animals, people and landscapes and, after acquiring the rudimentary skills, explore Japanese-style painting (Nihonga) more thoroughly through investigations into its history, materials and techniques. Find your own unique style of expression to take with you into the world.

Painting Course

After mastering basic techniques, learn about the specialist processes, techniques and materials used in Western-style painting, and widen your toolset of expressive techniques. With the help of thorough one-to-one guidance, decide on a research theme to pursue through both theory and practice, and develop the means to get your works out into the world.

Contemporary Art Course

As well as imparting the fundamental skills needed, this course will also allow you to experiment with a wide variety of materials, techniques, and media. Through projects encouraging interpersonal communication and involvement with the public, you will learn to arrive at a way of producing your own unique style of art, unconstrained by the traditions of conventional painting and sculpture.

Media Design Department

Viewing information from a design perspective and exploring forms of artistic communication that open up a new generation

Today, when everyone and everything is connected to networks, and the relationship between people, society, and information has become more important than ever, society’s design needs have undergone major changes. At the Media Design Department, students acquire expert knowledge and skills in four courses, and also have the opportunity to engage in cross-disciplinary studies in other courses. In this way they develop the flexibility to come up with ideas, to create, and to propose solutions in order to be able to adapt to changing information environments. After graduating, paths towards positions in a wide range of occupations in creative industries—including jobs as photographers, video artists, and art educators—open up for students, starting with design jobs working in planning, development, design, and advertising for corporate products and services.

Graphic Design Course

Learn about all aspects of the graphic design industry, and discover the forms of design that appeal to you. This course also offers many opportunities to learn firsthand about design as it takes place in the real world, such as participating in collaborative projects involving businesses and the public sector, and entering competitions within and outside the university.

Media Design Course

Study both visual expression and information systems, and explore new relationships between the individual and society. Master design skills and technologies for interactive media involving smartphone apps, digital signage, audiovisual, Virtual Reality (VR), and Internet of Things (IoT).

Photography Course

In addition to learning those skills directly related to photography, such as techniques for analogue and digital cameras, lighting techniques and so on students will also acquire a broader skill set including knowing how to come up with ideas for their photographs, and planning and holding photography exhibitions.

Video and Film Course

Master the basics such as filming, editing and sound design, as well as planning, scenario creation and animation techniques. Discover and explore the topics that really interest you, and learn the skills necessary to get these out to society.

Spatial Design Department

Turning proposals into reality through the study of spatial design from the perspective of clothing, objects, and living spaces

The study of spatial design relates to a broad range of things in our everyday lives, including clothing, everyday items, textiles, furniture, interior design, and homes. Students proceed through specialist courses in costume design, product design and living space design, which influence each other and give students a variety of different perspectives. By studying about the world and obtaining the ability to turn ideas into reality, students gain the ability to create designs in fields related to everyday life.

Costume Design Course

Students of this course will learn the techniques and theories that form the basis of costume design, as well as how to create artistic pieces using wood and resin. Acquire skills useful across the fashion industry, and pursue an artistic approach to costume design.

Product Design Course

Learn about the design of objects such as everyday items, furniture, cars, appliances and public sector systems that make our lives easier and shape our future. Students hone their abilities to identify gaps in the market from their own personal experience or social observation, and create design solutions.

Living Space Design Course

Acquire the technical skills to accurately depict spaces and forms. Students will develop the imaginative and expressive abilities necessary to design attractive spaces that take into consideration the surrounding environment; learn about architecture, interior design, and landscape gardening; and formulate designs for living spaces that produce a feeling of well-being.

Creative Community Department

Acquiring the ability to produce creative proposals as key members of the community

As Japan’s population decreases, revitalization of regional areas is the most important factor that comes to mind when trying to envision a sustainable society. The purpose of the Creative Community Department is to foster individuals who contribute to the enhancement of creativity in the local community, reinterpreting art from a local perspective. The department offers a four-year curriculum, using as a base Omi Studies and the Regional Collaboration Program developed by the university. Leveraging the special characteristics of Seian University of Art and Design’s approach to art education, the system allows students to learn by assimilating into the local community in a more concrete way, with active members of the community acting as instructors.

Creative Studies Course

Experience Seian University of Art and Design’s unique education system, which takes advantage of the wonderful environment and qualities of Shiga Prefecture. Through practical education in the field, consider the shape of future society, and acquire the ability to conduct research, come up with ideas, and discover and resolve problems, while developing the creativity needed to open up a new future.


Interview with Seian graduate Jinn Swatthanakoon from Ratcha Anachak Thailand
(Class of 2015 Spatial Design Department) [4:33]

* This interview is in Thai

Interview with Seian graduate Triandhika Anjani from the Republic of Indonesia
(Class of 2015 Illustration Department) [3:09]

* This interview is in Indonesian

Interview with Seian graduate Shaye Schumaker from the USA
(Class of 2015 Media Design Department) [3:24]

* This interview is in English


Admission Policy

Seian University of Art and Design seeks students who respect the legacy of the school's guiding principles and philosophy of education, and who possess the following scholastic ability and qualities required to live up to the school’s Diploma Policy.

  • 1. Scholastic ability
    Has acquired an education in high school or the equivalent that fostered in the applicant the three elements of scholastic ability—a) knowledge and skills, b) the ability to think, exercise good judgment, and express oneself, and c) an attitude that enables him/her to learn while acting independently, but also while collaborating with people from a broad range of backgrounds and experience.
  • 2. Practical competence
    Is motivated to take advantage of his/her specialist field and make practical use of it in society.
  • 3. Creativity
    Is motivated to develop his/her creativity.
  • 4. Ability to solve problems
    Those who strive to make the most of the university’s unique education system, Seian Personal Program (SPP), throughout their studies
  • 5. Ability to collaborate
    Is motivated to collaborate with others in order to follow through on issues.
  • 6. Ability to act independently
    Is motivated to formulate goals and act independently.
  • Diploma Policy

    Grounded in a foundation of guiding principles and philosophy of education that are the legacy of this institution, Seian University of Art and Design nurtures individuals who excel in expertise and creativity in their artistic fields, and who are capable of thinking and acting independently in contributing to a better society. With this objective in mind, the university confers degrees upon students who have completed the designated courses and fulfilled 124 academic credits and other requirements, and who have acquired the following qualities and abilities.

  • 1. Practical competence
    Is able to make the most of his/her specialist field and make practical use of it in society.
  • 2. Creativity
    Applies the knowledge, skills, and proper attitude acquired through the creation of works in his/her specialist field in presenting his/her results.
  • 3. Ability to solve problems
    Is able to properly understand issues, formulate solutions, and carry them out.
  • 4. Ability to collaborate
    Is able to deepen his/her understanding of diversity, work with others, and contribute to the group and society.
  • 5. Ability to act independently
    Has clear goals and strives towards achieving them while demonstrating sincerity, passion, and self-control.
  • Curriculum Policy

    In order to achieve the goals outlined in the Diploma Policy, the curriculum is organized based on the following policies.

    1. 1. A curriculum with a clear progression is established to help students develop practical competence, creativity, and the ability to solve problems, collaborate, and act independently in the field of art.
    3. 2. The curriculum is divided into three stages as follows: Introduction to Specialty, covered in the first year; Core Specialty, covered in the second and third years; and Specialist Research, covered in the fourth year. A student’s four-year course of study is made up of two kinds of curricula: Specialist Curriculum and Common Studies Curriculum.
    5. 3. Scholastic achievement is evaluated fairly based on the extent to which students achieve the curriculum objectives set out in each subject. Students are screened before progressing to the Specialist Research stage to determine whether they have the ability to conduct research independently.
    7. 4. The curriculum is carefully designed and used to provide subjects that develop the general, basic skills (the ability to collaborate and act independently) and problem-solving skills necessary to pursue future studies, and that establish creativity and practical competence that is integrally linked to knowledge of the specialist area studied.     
      1. a. The Specialist Curriculum is studied in three stages: Introduction to Specialty, Core Specialty, and Specialist Research. In the Introduction to Specialty stage, students acquire the key knowledge and techniques necessary to pursue the Specialist Curriculum through a series of practical training classes and lectures. In the Core Specialty section, students acquire the techniques and knowledge that will form the cornerstone of expert knowledge, and take practical training classes and lectures needed in order to acquire a deep and profound grasp of their chosen specialty. In the Specialist Research stage, students will broaden and refine their knowledge and techniques relating to their own specialty. Through seminars and electives, they will improve their ability to express themselves and think autonomously, learn to independently conduct autonomous research, deepen their grasp of their chosen specialty, and complete their graduation research.
      3. b. The Common Studies Curriculum, which provides a broad-ranging education that supports students’ Specialist Curriculum studies as well as the course of their future careers, consists of four main pillars: Core Subjects, the Practical Subjects Group, the General Studies Group, and the Social Contribution Group. The Core Subjects Group includes 1) the Starter Programs designed to give students the basic skills required to ensure that they can progress through their four years at university smoothly and independently; 2) the Introduction to Art Subjects that cover fundamental art theory, thereby supporting a wide range of artistic creation; and 3) the Foundation Subjects that provide students with a broad base of artistic capacities.
        The Practical Subjects Group offers students theoretical and practical support in a wide range of different artistic activities, helping instill the expert knowledge and techniques considered necessary for the Core Specialty Curriculum and Specialist Research Curriculum.
        The General Studies Group includes cultural subjects that encourage students to interpret works of art from various perspectives and foreign language subjects that give students the skills to communicate with those from other cultures. It is also possible to take subjects offered in other universities and colleges that have agreed to a credit exchange system with Seian University of Art and Design.
        The Social Contribution Subjects Group offers students the chance to learn about themselves through interaction with and contribution to society, and thus to improve their ability to achieve their goals after graduation. The local contribution projects develop problem-solving skills through practical education in local communities. The Career Design Curriculum helps students design their career, and formulate the career path that is best suited to them through step-by-step learning.


    Special Comprehensive Selection Entrance Examination (First exam, second exam, third exam) for international students, returnees, and working adults

    Steps to Admission
    Submit pre-application (no charge) → Take exam → Notification of approval/disapproval of pre-application (Notification of result ) → Submit formal application (with fee of \35,000) → Formal acceptance → Complete enrollment procedures

    Entrance examination
    Number of students accepted
    Pre-Application period
    (No late applications)
    Examination date
    Application approval/disapproval notification date (Notification of result)
    Application period
    (No late applications)
    Announcement of exam results
    Registration deadlines
    (enrollment fee only)
    (other fees and expenses)
    First exam Limited number Aug. 28-31
    (Applications must arrive)
    Sept. 10 Sept. 15 Sept. 19-29
    (Applications must arrive)
    Nov. 1 Nov. 10 Dec. 7
    Second exam Sept. 11-21
    (Applications must arrive)
    Oct. 1 Oct. 6 Oct. 10-17
    (Applications must arrive)
    Nov. 1 Nov. 10 Dec. 7
    Third exam Nov. 10-20
    (Applications must arrive)
    Dec. 2
    ※ Alternative date:Dec. 3
    Dec. 11 Dec. 12-14
    (Applications must arrive)
    Dec. 21 Jan. 9,2024 Jan. 25,2024

    Application Requirements

    Applicants must be non-Japanese citizens (excluding those who have permanent or long-term residence status in Japan), and must fulfill all of the following four criteria (1)–(4).

    A. Have completed at least 12 years of education outside Japan, or expect to have done so by March 2024.
    B. Have been recognized by the university as having academic ability equivalent to A above.
    C. Have graduated from a Japanese high school or secondary school, or expect to have done so by March 2024.
    D. (Pre-Applicants within Japan). Have a status of residence of "Student" at the time of pre-application, or are able to obtain a status of residence of "Student" by the time of enrollment.
    E. (Pre-Applicants outside Japan). Are able to obtain a status of residence of "Student" by the time of enrollment.
    (3) Have passed level N2 or above of a Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) taken since 2015 or have obtained a combined score of at least 220 on the reading comprehension and listening and listening-reading comprehension sections of the Japanese as a Foreign Language portion of the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) by the time of the examination date. Alternative qualifications may be accepted in special circumstances.
    (4) Have sufficient Japanese ability to participate in classes held in Japanese upon enrollment.

    The pre-application (and exam) are free of charge.
    Note that for the first and second exams, once you submit your formal application, you must agree to apply to this school only (the “sengan” system). Before submitting your formal application, you may apply to multiple schools.

    Application fee Examination venue Examination subjects/time/grading system
    (Other than Creative Community Department)
    Examination subjects/time/grading system
    (Creative Community Department Only)
    Regarding test results
    First time applicants: ?35,000
    Repeat applicants: no charge
    Seian University of Art and Design Examination:
    Original works and/or portfolio review and individual interview (Interviews last roughly 20 minutes per person)
    Examination (Select from below.):
    1. Original works and/or portfolio review and individual interview (Interviews last roughly 20 minutes per person)
    - - - - - 
    2. Introduce three things about your hometown + individual interview (Interviews last roughly 20 minutes per person)
    Results will be determined based on both the interview and the application documents.
    Examination time:
    Commences at 10:00am.
    Total points possible: 100 points

    Tuition Fee

    Department Period Enrollment Fee Tuition Fee Education enhancement fee Other Expenses Total
    Integrated Studies Department Full year ?200,000 ?980,000 ?182,500 ※ ?41,660 ?1,404,160
    Payable upon admission (first semester fees, etc.) ?200,000 ?490,000 ?91,250 ?41,660 ?822,910
    ※182,500 yen should be paid every year as the Education Enhancement Fee.

    Department Period Enrollment Fee Tuition Fee Education enhancement fee Other Expenses Total
    Creative Community Department Full year ?200,000 ?900,000 ?62,500 ※ ?41,660 ?1,204,160
    Payable upon admission (first semester fees, etc.) ?200,000 ?450,000 ?31,250 ?41,660 ?722,910
    ※62,500 yen should be paid every year as the Education Enhancement Fee.

    Department Period Enrollment Fee Tuition Fee Education Enhancement Fee Other Expenses Total
    Illustration Department, Fine Arts Department, Media Design Department, Spatial Design Department Full year ?200,000 ?1,540,000 ?62,500 ※ ?41,660 ?1,844,160
    Payable upon admission (first semester fees, etc.) ?200,000 ?770,400 ?31,250 ?41,660 ?1,042,910
    ※62,500 yen should be paid every year as the Education Enhancement Fee.

    Breakdown of Other Expenses

    Insurance for injuries from accidents / Insurance for accidents involving third parties or their property Once Only, at time of enrollment ?4,660
    Educational Support Association Enrollment Fee Once Only, at time of enrollment ?5,000
    Educational Support Association Membership Fee Annual fee ?20,000
    Students’ Association Membership Fee Annual fee ?10,000
    Department Orientation Activities Fee Once Only, at time of enrollment ?2,000
    Total ?41,660

    * For further details, consult the PDF 2025 Enrollment Guide (12.1MB, Japanese language only)

    Access & Contact Information

    4-3-1 Oginosato-higashi Otsu Shiga 520-0248 Japan

    Admissions Office

    From Kansai International Airport to Seian University of Art and Design

    • From Kansai International Airport(KIX) to Kyoto Station

      Approx. 75 minutes by JR Airport Express HARUKA
      Approx. 85 minutes by limousine bus
    • From Kyoto Station to Seian University of Art and Design

      Approx. 20minutes by local train on the JR Kosei Line from Kyoto Station
      Approx. 3 minutes on the school bus from Ogoto-Onsen Station

    School Bus

    A free shuttle bus runs between the JR Ogoto-Onsen Station and the university. Go out of the station and go east toward ticket gate and go toward Lake Biwa (Biwako). The bus leaves from in front of Shiga Bank (Shiga Ginko = 滋賀銀行) and takes approximately three minutes to reach the university.

  • Timetable of the bus is here.

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