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 the industrialist, Kaichiro Nezu Senior, to promote his belief that 'a nation's permanent prosperity is derived from its educational system,' and that 'profit obtained from society should be restored to society.'

In addition to his belief in the importance of civic and philanthropic activities, Kaichiro Nezu Senior was a pioneer in his promotion of globalism and individual self-determination. To embody this spirit, Musashi High School has, since its inception, based its teaching philosophy and practice on three ideals as set forth in Musashi’s Three Founding Principles.
 The first principle embodies our belief that it is important for people in the world to understand various cultures, seek ways to learn from each other, live together, and respect each other. To that end, Musashi students are exposed to a variety of viewpoints and perspectives in both the liberal arts and sciences; with lessons organized to offer an all-embracing and far-reaching panorama of knowledge and skills, whether it be in the social or natural sciences, modern languages or mathematics.
The aim of the second principle is to allow students to acquire the knowledge and abilities necessary to act globally. In today's world where no nation can be isolated and international engagement is de rigueur, this principle, in conjunction with the first principle, encourages Musashi students to explore the world beyond, not just the classroom and their own surroundings, but also beyond national borders. To provide opportunities to enter the world stage, students study both English and a second foreign language. In addition to developing core communicative ability, study-abroad programmes and student exchange programmes are organized in order to facilitate international understanding and cooperation. For students looking to pursue their post-secondary studies abroad, Musashi offers individual academic and financial counselling and support.
The third principle aims to allow students to become independent and face life’s questions and challenges as self-determining agents. From the very first day of classes, students are encouraged to think for themselves and “find their own engine”. Academically speaking, this is achieved by providing a liberal environment where curiosity and ingenuity are encouraged. Not only are students given ample opportunity to determine the course of their learning within the parameters of the nationally mandated curriculum, but at several junctures throughout their combined six years of junior and senior high school, students are able to take ownership of their studies and work with teachers to design courses to meet their needs and interests. 
Needless to say, acquiring independence and self-autonomy are not solely academic pursuits. Unlike a majority of Japanese schools, Musashi is characterized by a lack of codified rules; for example, there are no rules for clothing, hairstyles or personal effects. This policy, derived from the third principle, was devised to develop students’ self-awareness of moral and conventional constraints of the social world. Although it may have occasionally given rise to a misinterpretation that Musashi places no boundaries on student behavior or freedom, in practice, we believe the true education is derived from neither strict rules nor a laissez faire attitude. The aim of true education is to foster an ability to think and act in a constructive manner and according to a set of individual principles forged through careful consideration of cultural values, the world around us and our place in it. 
It is not only classroom studies that nurture students' mind; extracurricular activities, such as a sporting club and cultural activities, also play an important role is school life. In addition, student-initiated fieldwork and off-campus research is strongly supported by the school. Students undertaking independent research receive financial support and in return are asked to share their findings in the school's annual report. As with all student endeavors, it is hoped that these spontaneous activities, which do not fall within the scope of the regular curriculum, will promote resourcefulness, a thirst for knowledge, and also, in the Musashi tradition, a pioneering spirit of investigation to forge a unique and meaningful path. Since its inception, Musashi has seen over 10 000 graduates go on to make their way in the world and share in the school’s glorious heritage.
* In accordance with Japan’s educational reforms of 1948, the school was re-established as a six-year junior and senior high school.


Language Arts: Fostering a deeper understanding of literature through multi-faceted and in-depth textual analysis

 In the first two years of junior high school, student become familiar with and develop an appreciation of both contemporary and classical Japanese literature through the use of extensive source material.To consolidate reading comprehensions skills, third year junior high school students study grammar and classical Chinese writing, the precursor to modern Japanese. In the second year of senior high school, classes are divided and contemporary and classical literature are studied in smaller groups with a focus on student research and presentation. Final year classes are focussed on the needs of the university that students will attend.

Mathematics: Developing critical thinking skills and an appreciation of the beauty and joy of math

Through the use of original materials, students explore the principles of mathematics in a coherent and structured fashion while also developing an appreciation of the beauty of math. In junior high school, both algebra and geometry are studied. To allow for a more practical and hand-on approach, algebra class sizes are kept small. Study of the principles of geometry fosters critical thinking skills. As students advance in their studies, they hone their problem-solving skills and reasoning ability. From the second year of senior high school, students are divided into two streams: humanities and sciences. In the third year of senior high school, studies are more focused on practical application. Although arriving at the correct solution is important, an understanding of the process by which solutions are derived is equally valued. 

Social Sciences: Understanding the present through a comprehensive study of society

At Musashi, an emphasis is placed on understanding one’s individual role in relation to others through a detailed analysis of societal structures. The goal is to foster an understanding of how our present society is influenced by past collaboration and conflict as well as natural phenomena through the study of geography and history. In junior high school, both Japanese and world society are studied in a multidisciplinary fashion without strict adherence to the individual subjects of geography and history. In addition, in the third year of junior high school, students consolidate what they have learned through a graduation research project. In senior high school, world history, ethics, politics and economics are the core subjects and Japanese history and geography are electives. By combining these different lenses, students can develop their interest and deepen their understanding of the world in which they live. 

Natural Sciences: Fostering a sprit of experimentation, investigation and reasoning

By building on the knowledge acquired in elementary school, junior high school students start their individual journey of discovery on a path of careful and practical observation through varied and continuous experiments in the school’s ample facilities and laboratories. Using the scientific method of observation, students record data and develop arguments to interiorize the essence of scientific studies. In addition, students come into direct contact with the natural world through geological expeditions and astronomy training. During the first four years of their studies, the focus is on developing and broadening the base tenets in the natural sciences and cultivating an ability to ask questions and find answers on one’s own. From the second year of high school, students pursue their own interests and focus on developing their knowledge in one of four fields; physics, chemistry, biology, or geology. Needless to say, studies are not solely focused on university entrance exam preparation, but are designed to nurture an ability to succeed in various specialized fields.

English: Facilitating self-discovery, reflection and expression

Small class sizes facilitate the development of core communication skills. A steady and engaging focus on not simply drills, memorization and exercises, but more importantly on language as a stimulating subject matter equips students with English communication skills. The junior high school English curriculum is focused on speaking and incorporates original materials to teach phonics, as well as ICT technology and the incorporation of native English speaker lessons. In addition, students can participate in online speaking lessons and intensive reading programmes at their own pace. In high school, students consolidate their understanding of grammar and vocabulary through in-depth studies in translation and expression. Lessons by native English speakers focus on presentation skills, drama, and academic writing and allow students to refine their use of natural English and express themselves in both speech and writing.

Physical Education: Strengthening the body and mind through movement

Physical conditioning and cooperation with others to enjoy sport constitute the basis of the six- year physical education programme. In the first two years of junior high school, running, throwing and jumping form the basis of developing core strength, with endurance running and swimming allowing for further development. From the third year of junior high school to the second year of senior high school, in addition to the basics of sports, activities, such as football and basketball, allow students to develop their athletic competence and teamwork skills. With time, the goal is to allow students to develop and manage themselves independently. In their final year, students choose from four to five activities and focus on self-development by taking the lead in their organization. This ability to choose and enjoy one’s own athletic pursuits represents the culmination on this six-year programme.

The Arts: Developing the art of appreciation

Experience, and a sensitivity to the physical world are necessary in order to appreciate art, knowledge, and philosophy. This, in turn, is essential in appreciating life and cultivating the powers of observation which are the precursor to creativity. In music classes, students receive direct experience of musical education through body percussion. Students also research and develop their own ideas for presentations. In art lessons, whether it be through the use of water-based painting in junior high school or oil based painting in senior high school, students learn to observe and convey their interpretation of the world around them. In calligraphy, the basics of Chinese character writing and proper brush techniques are covered. In junior high school, students study the history and writing styles of the different forms of Japanese syllabary. 

Computer Science and Technology: Preparing for a future in an information-oriented society

In computer science, problem solving skills and logic form the basis of the approach to honing students’ creativity, imagination and originality in order to prepare them for life in an information-oriented society. In addition, to allow students to become leaders and promote their self-actualization, students learn specialized presentation skills which facilitate self-awareness and expression. Students also learn about the risks and responsibilities inherent in a computer-based society, including those related to copyright laws and SNS etiquette. A mathematical approach is used to allows students to understand both analogue and digital systems, in addition to encryption technology.

Home Economics: Acquiring self-sufficiency skills

In junior high school, students learn about nutrition and apparel. Initially, students learn about the importance of proper eating habits, nutrition and self-management. Students then explore the functions, origins, and culture of clothing. In high school, students study various matters related to everyday life, including food, shelter, family relationships, life planning, and traditional Japanese culture. A special emphasis is placed on self-reliance and communal co-existence. Importance is also attached to learning through practical training and experimentation, cultivating an understanding of one’s surroundings and recognizing one’s own challenges. Home Economics provides the tools to live a self-sufficient and rewarding life.

Second Foreign Languages: Forging a path above and beyond borders

The German language has been taught at Musashi since its inception and in 1973, the French and Chinese languages were incorporated into the curriculum. Finally, in 1990, Korean was added. From the third year of junior high school, each student chooses one second foreign language to study. In high school, students can elect to study from either the intermediate or advanced stream. Through direct interaction with native speaking teachers, students’ are able to develop both their communicative ability and cultural awareness. Advanced level students have the option of participating in study-abroad programmes with partner schools overseas. Other opportunities, such as international cooking classes, student exchange programmes and seminars, and foreign film viewing, are available.

Integrated Studies and Research: Fostering life skills through extra-curricular activities

Our unchanging wish has always been to allow each individual to acquire the skills necessary for his individual life path. To that end, integrated studies provides students with ample opportunities to transcend the boundaries of individual subjects and study from a variety of perspectives. In the first year of junior high school, students work together and plan their own mountain climbing expedition to Akagiyama. In the second year of junior high school, students participate in an agricultural training home-stay and collaborate with local farmers. Second foreign language activities from the third year of junior high allow students to broaden their cultural horizons. In the first year of high school, students are able to conduct in-depth and comprehensive research from a selection of about thirty practical and clinical training seminar themes. Courses are offered in accordance with student motivation and interest and allow students to enjoy an intensive exploration of a theme in small groups.

Supplementary Lessons: Creating opportunities for specialized formation outside the standard curriculum

Musashi provides a wide range of non-standardized classes tailored to the interests of students and teachers, regardless of the framework of the subject. This reflects our focus on developing self-awareness by fostering a desire to be flexible in curriculum needs and encourage students to follow their interests and delve deeper into new fields. Examples of topics that have been explored include among others, trade games, Japanese mythology, modern music, introduction to the game of Go, Kabuki workshops, international relations, and organic chemistry experiments. There are also overseas training and briefing sessions and lecturers' home visits which enable exchanges beyond the grade level. In addition, a variety of lectures and seminars is offered by visiting lecturers on such diverse topics as “modern medical treatment”, “the story of Antarctic observation”, and “the law”.

Organization Position Person in position
Musashi Academy of the Nezu Foundation Chairperson of the Board of Directors NEZU Koichi
Musashi Academy of the Nezu Foundation Chancellor IKEDA Yasuo
Musashi High School and Junior High School Principal SUGIYAMA Takeshi