History of Gakushuin

History of Gakushuin


Few institutions are blessed with a history and heritage like that of Gakushuin. Composed of the University, Women's College, Boys' Junior and Senior High School, Girls' Junior and Senior High School, Elementary School, and Kindergarten, Gakushuin has long been respected as the institution where members of the imperial family, including the present Emperor and Crown Prince, have pursued their studies.

The history of Gakushuin dates back to March 1847, when Emperor Komei established an institution named Gakushuin in Kyoto, in order to educate the children of the nobility. Gakushuin remained in Kyoto through the Meiji Restoration when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo, formerly Edo. Following the relocation of the national capital, in October 1877, a ceremony inaugurating a new Gakushuin was held in Tokyo, attended by the Emperor Meiji and his Empress.

Gakushuin's dedication to the education of women may be traced back to September 1885, and the founding of the Peeress' School, which would later become the Girls' Division of Gakushuin. This Girls' Division became an independent institution, Joshi Gakushuin (Gakushuin Girls' School), in September 1918. After the end of World War II, in April 1947, Gakushuin and Joshi Gakushuin merged to become a private educational institution no longer under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Imperial Household, and Gakushuin University was founded. In April 1950, the predecessor of Gakushuin Women's College, Gakushuin Women's Junior College Division, was established as a part of Gakushuin University. Gakushuin Women's Junior College Division was renamed Gakushuin Women's Junior College in April 1953, and continued to play a prominent role in women's higher education until the founding of the present tertiary, four-year Gakushuin Women's College in April 1998. In April 2004, the Women's College Graduate School MA program in cultural exchange and international organizations accepted its first students.

A 'New' Look

a new look

Our cast-iron Main Gate, erected at the school's Kanda location in 1877, was moved to its current site in 1950, and designated an Important National Cultural Property in 1973.

Although age had given the gate an elegant patina, it needed attention to prevent deterioration of its structure. In 2007, after nearly two years of expert restoration, the scaffolding was removed to reveal a glowing vermilion finish, the gate as it had looked 130 years ago.

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