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The History and Principle of Musashi's Education

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Musashi High School's Three Founding Principles

  1. To produce individuals dedicated to our nation's ideal of incorporating the cultural values of East and West.
  2. To produce individuals equal to the challenge of acting on the world stage.
  3. To produce individuals capable of independent thought and research.

Musashi High School was founded in 1922 as Japan's first seven-year secondary boys' school under the private patronage of an industrialist, the late Kaichiro Nezu Senior, to illustrate his two beliefs: 'A nation's permanent prosperity is derived from its educational system,' and 'The profit gained from a society should be restored to that society.' In 1918, senior-year secondary schools were newly permitted by law (the usual eight-year secondary system being composed of five years of junior high school and three years of senior high school.)

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During its first 23 years Musashi produced no more than 2,000 graduates, which shows that the school's aim was to produce really important persons for the society and that the number of the students was not so important.

After the Second World War the school had to be changed in accordance with the new educational laws. In 1948 Musashi High School was re-established and in the following year Musashi Junior High School and Musashi University were made to "sandwich" the high school. Still now Musashi Junior High School and High School are operated as one unit in one building, and the university is rather separated from the other two on the school campus. Under the postwar changes to Japanese educational structure, the other prewar "high schools" evolved into universities. Musashi, however, has retained the collegial structure, educational approach and traditions of its origins, and so it thought to be a unique and special high school in Japan.
Since the beginning of its school the Three Founding Principles have been its perpetual school spirit. Although at the time of its inception, the first principle may have reflected the nationalism which led the world to catastrophe, it has come to embody our belief that it is more and more important for people in the world to understand various cultures and seek the way to live together, respecting each other. The aim of the second principle is to make students acquire the knowledge and power necessary to act on the world stage. In today's world where no nation can be isolated and international thinking is needed, this principle, supported by the first principle, shows the target for which young people should seek. The third principle shows our education from a different point of view, that is, to teach students how to live and think in our daily life. To produce independent and fully matured persons, our teachers endeavor to make each student think and act by himself. Today in every stage of our education we encourage students to face questions and difficulties by their own power. As is shown here, the school believes these three principles have permanent validity.

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A further unique Musashi distinction is the lack of rules found in many Japanese schools; for example, there are no rules for clothes, hairstyles or personal effects. That does not mean students can wear any clothes they like or they can bring anything to the school; the point is to make them judge these matters by themselves. This idea is derived from the third principle and, though sometimes students may misunderstand the situation, leading to an unsuitable conclusion, what they have to do first is think and judge by themselves. This school tradition may have given rise to a misinterpretation that Musashi places no boundaries on student behavior on freedom. In practice it is often quite difficult to tell the difference between respect for freedom and permission for selfishness, but we believe the true education is derived from neither strict rules nor laissez faire.
Academically, the combined six years of junior and senior high school allow for a time span of steady educational growth and development. In their lower grades students learn how to approach their studies, which does not mean that they are forced to learn ways of solving the questions or to memorize the answers, but which means that they should find their own questions in their studies and try to find the answers by themselves. This attitude towards study will nurture their way of thinking and help them find their lifework or life study. As they grow older, they learn each subject more systematically and the daily work deepens their studies and helps prepare them for university entrance examinations. Our hope for students in their six years at Musashi is not only their mastering of the necessary information for success in examinations, but also the development of ways of thinking that will be beneficial for a lifetime.

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It is not only classroom studies that nurture students' mind; extracurricular activities, such as a sporting club and cultural activities, are also necessary to build up their body and mind. In addition, student-initiated fieldwork, that is, off-campus research planned and set up by a student and carried out by his own efforts, is strongly supported by the school. Students undertaking independent research will have financial help and be asked to write a report which will be inserted in the school's annual report. These spontaneous activities may be inefficient or sometimes lead to failure compared with research led by teachers, but the students are expected to learn from the experiences and make good use of them in the future activities. It is not the student who makes no mistakes, but the student who is unafraid to make many attempts and learn from his mistakes that is our ideal Musashi student. We truly hope that such boys will apply for Musashi and strengthen this tradition.

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