In Japan, national and public institutions of higher education are under the direct control of government but private institutions are governed by boards of trustees. In this paper, the composition of boards of trustees of private four-year universities and colleges are analyzed.
1. The average number of trustees in 1976 was 14.4.
2. The proportion of the total membership of the board provided by faculty members (including the president of the university and the deans) was 31.2% in 1976. This figure contrasts with that for universities in the United States of America where members of the faculty serve less frequently as members of the board. The higher proportion in Japan arises from legislation which emphasizes mutual cooperation between the board and the faculty.
3. The second largest proportion of members, 24,4%, was provided by executives of private firms; the third largest by internal administrative staff; and the fourth largest by members of the professions. Diversity in occupational composition between institutions is quite large.
4. The proportion of presidents of boards of trustees who previously had experience as members of an academic faculty is larger in universities with longer histories than those of newer origin, in accord with the concept of the "Academic Revolution" (so-called by D. Riesman and C. Jencks).
5. Nevertheless, the proportion of presidents of the boards who are either the founder of the university or relatives of them was 31.0% in 1987. Even in some universities with long histories, relatives of the founder remain presidents of the boards.