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Historical Buildings at Gakushuin

Historical Buildings at Gakushuin (Translation of the Museum Letter of Gakushuin University Museum of History, October 2012 Edition)

Cast-iron Main Gate(Former Main Gate)

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Central Lecture Room (Pyramid School Building) Our cast-iron Main Gate, erected at the school's Kanda location in 1877, was moved to its current site in 1950, and designated an Important National Cultural Property in 1973.
 Although age had given the gate an elegant patina, it needed attention to prevent deterioration of its structure. In 2007, after nearly two years of expert restoration, the scaffolding was removed to reveal a glowing vermilion finish: the gate as it had looked 130 years ago.


Main Gate

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Main Gate The Main Gate was built in 1908, when Gakushuin was relocated -- for the fifth time -- to its present site in Mejiro. The school name “Gakushuin” dates back to March 1849, when Emperor Komei granted the school the imperial inscriptions (chokugaku) which read “Gakushuin” (written in kanji characters). Whereas many buildings on campus have been either demolished or remodelled over the years, the Main Gate has been preserved in its original state. The gate consists of four brick gateposts and wooden doors. Today, the tall gatepost on the left bears a plaque with the inscription 学習院大学, “Gakushuin Daigaku” [Gakushuin University], which was a gift from the alumni in 1960. The inscription on the plaque was written by Yoshishige Abe, the first President of Gakushuin University. The Main Gate was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

East Building Annex (Old Dormitory for Imperial Family)

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East Annex (Former Dormitory for Imperial Family) The East Building Annex was built as a dormitory for the Imperial family in 1913, when Gakushuin was still a boarding school. Among the members of the Imperial family who lived in this dormitory are Prince Yamashina Takehiko and Imperial Prince Chichibu Yasuhito. At the main entrance, there is a carriage porch. Under its roof, the cherry blossom motif of the school emblem is furnished as a decoration. It was paired with another cherry blossom emblem on the Chancellor’s official residence which was built opposite the East Building Annex. (The Chancellor’s official residence has since been relocated and reconstructed at the Museum Meiji-mura in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture.) The East Building Annex was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This is a wooden two-storey building with a kirizuma-zukuri (gable roof) and a yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof) with sangawara-buki (clay Sangawara tile roofing). It was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of the Imperial Household Ministry and completed in 1913. The roof covering the carriage porch was created at this height for the members of the Imperial family members who used carriages to come to school. The Gakushuin school emblem with cherry blossom motif embellishes the covered roof and the supporting posts. The dormitory rooms were remodelled and converted into classrooms, which are now used by the University. Despite the remodelling, the layout of the house has not changed considerably, and the stairs, corridors and restroom have all retained their charm of bygone days. This building is of special interest since only a few dormitories which were built during the Meiji period and the Taisho period have been preserved.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

North Building Annex (Old Library)

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North Annex (Old Library) The North Building Annex was built as a library in 1909. It is the work of architect Masamichi Kuru, famous for designing the Concert Hall of Tokyo Music School (currently the old Concert Hall of Tokyo University of Arts) and the Imperial Library (currently the International Library of Children’s Literature). This library originally had two wings of stack rooms made of brick. However, one of the wings was separated when the Faculty of Letters building was constructed in 1979; the original building became L-shaped and was relocated to the present site. Today, it houses the University Museum of History. It was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This is a wooden single-storey building with a kirizuma-zukuri (gable roof) and sangawara-buki (clay Sangawara tile roofing). It was designed by Masamichi Kuru and was completed in 1909. There is a skylight window in the main part of the building. Some of the windows still have yugami garasu (distorted glass) which was handmade during the Meiji period. The vent holes under the floor are furnished with an iron lattice decorated with cherry blossoms, the Gakushuin school emblem. The cherry blossom emblem is also found on corbels and hinges. In addition, there are waist-high partition walls with tate-hameita-bari (vertical clapped-wood lining), wooden fittings, board ceiling, window locks decorated with penguin and anchor motifs, among others, which bear testimony to the age and tradition of this building.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

West Building No. 1 (Old Junior High School Building)

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West Building No. 1 (Old Junior High School Building) The Junior High School Building was built in 1930. After the establishment of the University, this construction became the main building of the Faculty of Letters and Politics, and the faculty’s offices were situated on the north side on the second and the third floors. With the main entrance (on the east side) in the middle, the building is built horizontally symmetrical, making an H shape. There were classrooms on the east, south and north sides of the building. The west side contained staircases at two locations, and the restrooms. Today, the rooms of the building are used as classrooms, but many fixtures -- including the wooden bulletin board placed at the entrance hall, the waist-high partition walls with the tate-hameita-bari (vertical clapped-wood lining) and stairs -- still retain the appearance and the atmosphere of the old days. The West Building No.1 was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This building is made of reinforced concrete and consists of three storeys above ground and two below (there was only one below when it was initially built). It was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of Imperial Household Ministry and completed in 1930. Yokichi Gondo, an engineer of the Bureau of Skilled Artisans, was responsible for the basic design. Gondo also designed the residence of Prince Asaka, which currently houses the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. In addition to the Neo-Gothic style exterior, the building also incorporates Art Deco features such as the square windows of the second and third floors and the round windows at the stairways. In the English conversation classroom (currently Room 214), there are stained glass windows and a faux fireplace made of marble into which a stove can be installed. The windows have been renovated, but the faux fireplace still remains.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

South Building No. 1 (Old Science Building)

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South Building No. 1 (Old Science Building) The building was originally for junior and senior high school science classes and was completed in 1927. Since it was originally designed for science classes, the building became the Research Annex of the Faculty of Science when the faculty was established at the University in 1949. The Neo-Gothic style is evident in the main entrance and in the first floor windows with their pointed arches, the long windows placed on the second and third floors, and the corner posts of the outer walls. The banisters and window frames are also adorned with elegant designs. The South Building No.1 was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This building is made of reinforced concrete and consists of three storeys above ground and one below. It was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of Imperial Household Ministry and completed in 1927. The exterior of the building is in the Neo-Gothic style. The main building with an entrance porch is situated between two annex buildings making an H shape. The outer walls are covered with scratch tiles. The corner posts have buttresses, a buttress being an architectural structure built against a wall in a right angle to reinforce the wall, which is a feature of the Gothic architectural style. At the main stairways, three sets of three long-arched windows are fitted into the wall in tiers from the first floor to the third floor. The banisters and window frames are examples of Art Deco design.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

Nogi Kan (Old Residence Office)

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Nogi Kan (Residence Office) The Old Residence Office, including its six dormitories, dining building and infirmary, was built when Gakushuin was relocated to Mejiro in 1908. Instead of living in the official residence of the Chancellor of Gakushuin, Maresuke Nogi, who was the 10th Chancellor, lived in the Residence Office under the same roof as the students. When the Old Residence Office was demolished in 1944, Chancellor Nogi’s room was preserved as “Nogi Kan” and moved to the present location. This building is currently used for students’ club activities. Nogi Kan was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This is a wooden single-storey building with a yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof) and sangawara-buki (clay Sangawara tile roofing). It was designed by Masamichi Kuru and completed in 1908. When it was built, the Old Residence Office was L-shaped and consisted of the Chancellor’s room, a conference room, an office room, a school store, a storage room and so on. The Japanese style interior features wooden floors, walls with nageshi (horizontal pieces of timber and pillars), and a ceiling with saobuchi, a batten nailed horizontally to a ceiling board. The floor has been changed to a tatami floor. The main entrance, the restroom and the sink were added to the northeast side of the building in 1978, and this entrance is used today as the main entrance.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

Stables

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Stables In 1908, when Gakushuin was relocated to Mejiro, the stables were located on the other side of the Main Gate across Mejiro Street (currently the grounds of the Mejiro Primary School). The stables and the harness room were relocated to their current site in 1927.  The stables were unusual due to their size and the fact that there were stalls on both sides of the passage. Previously the stables had 20 stalls. On the west side of the barn, a harness room was connected by a corridor.The stables were designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This is a single-storey, slate-roofed wooden building with a yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof). It was designed by Masamichi Kuru and completed in 1908. There are entrances on all four sides of the stables. There is a ventilator in the centre of the roof. It is said that the structure, whereby the stalls were located on the right and the left sides of the passage, was actually derived from the floor plan used by the military. At the Old Gakushuin, horsemanship was taught in the martial arts classes, which made it necessary to have enough horses to cater for an entire class. In all, there were 20 horses kept in 20 stalls, ten on each side of the passageway. Today the stables have only 14 stalls.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

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Historical Buildings at Gakushuin

Historical Buildings at Gakushuin (Translation of the Museum Letter of Gakushuin University Museum of History, October 2012 Edition)

Cast-iron Main Gate(Former Main Gate)

Page Top

Central Lecture Room (Pyramid School Building) Our cast-iron Main Gate, erected at the school's Kanda location in 1877, was moved to its current site in 1950, and designated an Important National Cultural Property in 1973.
 Although age had given the gate an elegant patina, it needed attention to prevent deterioration of its structure. In 2007, after nearly two years of expert restoration, the scaffolding was removed to reveal a glowing vermilion finish: the gate as it had looked 130 years ago.


Main Gate

Page Top

Main Gate The Main Gate was built in 1908, when Gakushuin was relocated -- for the fifth time -- to its present site in Mejiro. The school name “Gakushuin” dates back to March 1847, when Emperor Komei granted the school the imperial inscriptions (chokugaku) which read “Gakushuin” (written in kanji characters). Whereas many buildings on campus have been either demolished or remodelled over the years, the Main Gate has been preserved in its original state. This photograph was taken upon completion of the Main Gate. The gate itself consists of four brick gateposts and wooden doors. The tall gatepost on the left bears a plaque with the inscription 学習院大学, “Gakushuin Daigaku” [Gakushuin University], which was a gift from the alumni in 1960. The inscription on the plaque was written by Yoshishige Abe, the first President of Gakushuin University. The Main Gate was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

East Annex (Former Dormitory for Imperial Family)

Page Top

East Annex (Former Dormitory for Imperial Family) The East Annex was built as a dormitory for the Imperial family in 1913, when Gakushuin was still a boarding school. Among the members of the Imperial family who lived in this dormitory are Prince Yamashinanomiya Takehiko and Chichibunomiya Imperial Prince Yasuhito. At the main entrance, there is a carriage porch. Under its roof, the cherry blossom motif of the school emblem is furnished as a decoration. It was paired with another cherry blossom emblem on the Chancellor’s official residence which was built opposite the East Annex. (The Chancellor’s official residence has since been relocated and reconstructed at the Museum Meiji-mura in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture.) The photograph shows Chihibunomiya Imperial Prince Yasuhito going to school by carriage. The East Annex was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This is a wooden two-story building with a kirizuma-zukuri (gable roof) and a yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof) with sangawara-buki (clay Sangawara tile roofing). It was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of the Imperial Household Ministry and completed in 1913. The roof covering the carriage porch was created at this height for the members of the Imperial family members who used carriages to come to school. The Gakushuin school emblem with cherry blossom motif embellishes the covered roof and the supporting posts. The dormitory rooms were remodelled and converted into classrooms, which are now used by the University. Despite the remodelling, the layout of the house has not changed considerably, and the stairs, corridors and restroom have all retained their charm of bygone days. This building is of special interest since only a few dormitories which were built during the Meiji period and the Taisho period have been preserved.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

North Annex (Old Library)

Page Top

North Annex (Old Library) The North Annex was built as a library in 1909. It is the work of architect Masamichi Kuru, famous for designing the Concert Hall of Tokyo Music School (currently the old Concert Hall of Tokyo University of Arts) and the Imperial Library (currently the International Library of Children’s Literature). This library originally had two wings of stack rooms made of brick. However, one of the wings was separated when the Faculty of Letters building was constructed in 1979; the original building became L-shaped and was relocated to the present site. Today, it houses the University Museum of History. It was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This is a wooden single-story building with a kirizuma-zukuri (gable roof) and sangawara-buki (clay Sangawara tile roofing). It was designed by Masamichi Kuru and was completed in 1909. There is a skylight window in the main part of the building. Some of the windows still have yugami garasu (distorted glass) which was handmade during the Meiji period. The vent holes under the floor are furnished with an iron lattice decorated with cherry blossoms, the Gakushuin school emblem. The cherry blossom emblem is also found on corbels and hinges. In addition, there are waist-high partition walls with tate-hameita-bari (vertical clapped-wood lining), wooden fittings, board ceiling, window locks decorated with penguin and anchor motifs, among others, which bear testimony to the age and tradition of this building.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

West Building No. 1 (Old Junior High School Building)

Page Top

West Building No. 1 (Old Junior High School Building) The Junior High School Building was built in 1930. After the establishment of the University, this construction became the main building of the Faculty of Letters and Politics, and the faculty’s offices were situated on the north side on the second and the third floors. With the main entrance (on the east side) in the middle, the building is built horizontally symmetrical, making an H shape. There were classrooms on the east, south and north sides of the building. The west side contained staircases at two locations, and the restrooms. Today, the rooms of the building are used as classrooms, but many fixtures -- including the wooden bulletin board placed at the entrance hall, the waist-high partition walls with the tate-hameita-bari (vertical clapped-wood lining) and stairs -- still retain the appearance and the atmosphere of the old days. The West Building No.1 was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This building is made of reinforced concrete and consists of three storeys above ground and two below (there was only one below when it was initially built). It was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of Imperial Household Ministry and completed in 1930. Yokichi Gondo, an engineer of the Bureau of Skilled Artisans, was responsible for the basic design. Gondo also designed the residence of Asakanomiya, which currently houses the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. In addition to the Neo-Gothic style exterior, the building also incorporates Art Deco features such as the square windows of the second and third floors and the round windows at the stairways. In the English conversation classroom (currently Room 214), there are stained glass windows and a faux fireplace made of marble into which a stove can be installed. The windows have been renovated, but the faux fireplace still remains.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

South Building No. 1 (Old Science Building)

Page Top

South Building No. 1 (Old Science Building) The building was originally for junior and senior high school science classes and was completed in 1927. Since it was originally designed for science classes, the building became the Research Annex of the Faculty of Science when the faculty was established at the University in 1949. The Neo-Gothic style is evident in the main entrance and in the first floor windows with their pointed arches, the long windows placed on the second and third floors, and the corner posts of the outer walls. The banisters and window frames are also adorned with elegant designs. The photograph shows Emperor Showa attending the University graduation ceremony in 1927. The South Building No.1 was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This building is made of reinforced concrete and consists of three storeys above ground and one below. It was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of Imperial Household Ministry and completed in 1927. The exterior of the building is in the Neo-Gothic style. The main building with an entrance porch is situated between two annex buildings making an H shape. The outer walls are covered with scratch tiles. The corner posts have buttresses, a buttress being an architectural structure built against a wall in a right angle to reinforce the wall, which is a feature of the Gothic architectural style. At the main stairways, three sets of three long-arched windows are fitted into the wall in tiers from the first floor to the third floor. The banisters and window frames are examples of Art Deco design.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

Nogi Kan (Residence Office)

Page Top

Nogi Kan (Residence Office) The Residence Office, including its six dormitories, dining building and infirmary, was built when Gakushuin was relocated to Mejiro in 1908. Instead of living in the official residence of the Chancellor of Gakushuin, Maresuke Nogi, who was the 10th Chancellor, lived in the Residence Office under the same roof as the students. When the Residence Office was demolished in 1944, Chancellor Nogi’s room was preserved as “Nogi Kan” and moved to the present location. This building is currently used for students’ club activities. Nogi Kan was designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This building is a wooden single-storey building with a yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof) and sangawara-buki (clay Sangawara tile roofing). It was designed by Masamichi Kuru and completed in 1908. When it was built, the Residence Office was L-shaped and consisted of the Chancellor’s room, a conference room, an office room, a school store, a storage room and so on. The Japanese style interior features wooden floors, walls with nageshi (horizontal pieces of timber and pillars), and a ceiling with saobuchi, a batten nailed horizontally to a ceiling board. The floor has been changed to a tatami floor. The main entrance, the restroom and the sink were added to the northeast side of the building in 1978, and this entrance is used today as the main entrance.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

Stables

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Stables In 1908, when Gakushuin was relocated to Mejiro, the Stables were located on the other side of the Main Gate across Mejiro Street (currently the grounds of the Mejiro Primary School). The Stables and the Harness Room were relocated to their current site in 1927.  The stables were unusual due to their size and the fact that there were stalls on both sides of the passage. Previously the Stables had 20 stalls. On the west side of the barn, a harness room was connected by a corridor. The saddle room was also relocated with the stables. The Stables were designated a registered tangible cultural property of Japan in 2009.


Building Features
This building is a single-storey, slate-roofed wooden building with a yosemune-zukuri (hipped roof). It was designed by Masamichi Kuru and completed in 1908. There are entrances on all four sides of the stables. There is a ventilator in the centre of the roof. It is said that the structure, whereby the stalls were located on the right and the left sides of the passage, was actually derived from the floor plan used by the military. At the Old Gakushuin, horsemanship was taught in the martial arts classes, which made it necessary to have enough horses to cater for an entire class. In all, there were 20 horses kept in 20 stalls, ten on each side of the passageway. Today the Stables have only 14 stalls.
(Translated by Motoko Ohkawa, June 2013)

Page Top