Gakushuin’s school name, official emblems, school emblems and school song
In March 1847, Gakushuin was established as a peers’ educational institution in Kyoto and was originally called “Gakushusho,” which in English literally means “Place to study.” However, in April 1849, Gakushuin became the official name after Emperor Kōmei granted the imperial plaque “Gakushuin.”
This official name obviously comes from Confucius’ statement at the beginning of his Analects: “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?”
After Gakushuin stopped giving lectures in March 1868, the old Gakushuin in Kyoto was closed in July 1870 after several name changes and restructuring.
On October 17, 1877, the Peers’ School held its opening ceremony in Kanda Nishiki-chō. Emperor Meiji granted the school name “Gakushuin” and again gave the imperial plaque: “Gakushuin.” Gakushuin recognizes this day as the anniversary of the school’s establishment.
Cherry blossom has been used as Gakushuin’s official emblem since its establishment in 1877. It reportedly comes from Norinaga Motoori’s poem: “If someone should ask me, ‘What is the essence of Japan?’ I will answer that it is the fragrant mountain cherry blossoms glowing in the morning light.”
By contrast, the Peeresses’ School, which was established in 1885, is said to have used the double cherry blossom as its school emblem. The Gakushuin Girls’ School officially adopted it as school emblem in 1933. Currently, it is used as the school emblem for the Girls’ Junior and Senior High School. The Boys’ Junior and Senior High Schools use the cherry blossom emblem, while the coeducational Primary School and Kindergarten use both the cherry blossom and double cherry blossoms in parallel as their school emblem.
Gakushuin University created its own emblem upon foundation in 1949, and has been using it as its university emblem ever since. The Women’s Junior College Division (renamed Gakushuin Women’s Junior College in 1953) amended its emblem design to the current style when it underwent restructuring to become the four-year Gakushuin Women’s College in 1998.