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The Founding Spirit of Kokugakuin

The history of the Japanese Meiji period (1868-1912) began with a new era in relations between
Japan and overseas countries. All aspects of Japanese society during the period - from the composition of legal systems to modifi cations in lifestyle and standards of living - were the result of stimulation received from Japan’s foreign relations.
Freed from its long period of self-imposed isolation during the Tokugawa period, which ended with the Meiji Restoration, Japan opened itself to the reception of Western culture, and many people were caught up in that wave. But the move to accept Western culture was frequently accompanied by a simultaneous tendency toward belittling traits long nurtured by Japan. A sense of crisis and concern was provoked among many that Japanese culture and the Japanese mind would be irrevocably lost if such trends were not restrained, and Kokugakuin University was established in response to that spirit of urgency.

The spirit of Kokugakuin University was implicit in the Official Proclamation issued by the school’s first president, Prince Takahito, Arisugawa no Miya. President Haga Yaichi later expressed the lofty purpose of those high ideals in his composition of the Kokugakuin University School Anthem:

Our prospect broad, pure and refreshed,
On Shibuya Hill, our school stands firm.
Exploring the writings of long ago and now,
Uphold the foundations of our land.

In a world where the best of other nations,
Makes up for shortcomings in our own,
Forget not the fundamental teaching,
As we polish the fundamental mind.

And after all our study,
We will acclaim Kokugakuin,
Through the byways of the world
Our ancestors’ Way is here, with us today.
Our children’s way is here, with us today.

In summary, Kokugakuin University is an institution of learning and education, founded with the dual mission of exploring and passing on Japan’s traditional culture and the Japanese mind at its base, while simultaneously adopting creatively the development of the learning of other countries.