Teaching Module

Educational Reform in Japan (19th c.)

Kaichi and Mitsuke Schools [Architecture]


While most pre-Meiji commoner schools were held either in temples or in the homes of the teachers, most teachers and officials associated with the Meiji education reforms emphasized the importance of having schools in new buildings created specifically for the purpose of education. While this goal took around three decades to accomplish, there were some early, ambitious efforts to erect school buildings modeled—albeit partially—on examples from contemporary European and American school architecture. Here are two such examples. The first is Kaichi Elementary School, built in 1873, and the second is Mitsuke Elementary School, built in 1875. In both cases, builders used existing construction techniques and materials to fashion buildings modeled closely on the designs of European and American schools. These new buildings were of great symbolic importance within their communities—for some, embodying the enlightenment ideals of the era, and for all, representing in concrete form the dramatic era of transformation that was unfolding during the Meiji era.


Wikimedia Commons. S.v. "Image: Former Kaichi School01 1024." http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Former_Kaichi_School01_1024.jpg (accessed September 22, 2008). "Shiseki Kyu Mitsuke School." Discover Japan! Sightseeing Database. http://www.kanko-otakara.jp/webapps/Contribute/Parser.do?codes=22%7C0998000092%7C222119&l_code=02 (accessed September 22, 2008).

How to Cite This Source

Brian Platt, "Educational Reform in Japan (19th c.)," in Children and Youth in History, Item #125, https://cyh.rrchnm.org/items/show/125 (accessed August 10, 2021).