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Meiji Gakuin University: Institution Main



About Meiji Gakuin University:

Meiji Gakuin University (明治学院大学 Meiji gakuin daigaku) is a Christian university, established through the merger of 3 educational institutions: the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, a school rooted in the theological teachings of the missionary Samuel Robbins Brown; the United Japanese-English Union School; and the Japanese English Preparatory School, both of which were the successors to the Hepburn Academy.  The Hepburn Academy was called the Ballagh School after it moved to the Tsukiji area of Tokyo in 1880.

At their first meeting in 1886, the board of directors drew up a proposal for the establishment of Meiji Gakuin. The Tokyo Union Theological Seminary had its name changed to the Meiji Gakuin Department of Japanese-Language Theological Studies, the United Japanese-English Union School changed to the Meiji Gakuin Department of Regular Studies, and the Japanese English Preparatory School to the Meiji Gakuin Regular Preparatory Department. The school was established at its current Shirokane location. 

James Curtis Hepburn, a founder and the first president of Meiji Gakuin University, was a Christian Missionary sent to Japan.  He was also a great contributor to Japan's Westernization.  He is most known for compiling the system of Japanese and English Romanization, known as Waei Gorin Shūsei (和英語林集成). The Romanization he used has since come to be know as the Hepburn System, a system still used today.  Another his accomplishment was producing a Japanese translation of the Bible.

Under the most influential educator like Hepburn and Brown, many students were introduced to the Western style academic world.  In June of 1891, the first graduation from Meiji Gakuin was held; there were 20 members of the graduating class, including Tōson Shimazaki, one of the most influential Meiji period poets, Kōchō Baba, and Shukotsu Togawa, who later became professors at Keio University. Tōson Shimazaki went on to write about his time at Meiji Gakuin in his autobiography “Sakura no Mi no Jukusuru Toki” (When the Cherries Ripen).  The character named Sutekichi in the text is Shimazaki himself.

Today, Meiji Gakuin University has 6 faculties and 6 graduate programs.  The University has 2 campuses: Shirogane and Yokohama.  Students study on the Yokohama campus in the first and second year before moving to the Shirogane campus to complete their bachelor's degree.


Institution: Meiji Gakuin University  
Founded: 1863  
Type: Private University
Minato-ku, Tokyo
Yokohama, Kanagawa


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