This year marks 50 years since the Faculty of Science and Technology moved to Yagami Campus. Here we look at the founding of the Fujiwara Institute of Technology in the 1930s as the predecessor to Keio University's Faculty of Engineering, which would later become the Faculty of Science and Technology. We also look back at the university's postwar re-launch at the former Koganei Campus and the faculty's triumphant return to Hiyoshi—Yagamidai, to be precise—where it underwent reorganization to become the Faculty of Science and Technology we know today.
Shinzo Koizumi, who became president of Keio in 1933, considered founding a faculty of science and engineering as a matter of utmost importance. Yukichi Fukuzawa, too, had wanted to establish a faculty of science and engineering to follow Keio's faculties of literature, economics, law, and medicine, but such an endeavor would require massive amounts of funding, and financing its cost was a high barrier to entry.
In the 1930s, around the same time as Koizumi's tenure as president, another individual was also bent on founding a full-fledged technical college for the advancement of Japan, even at the expense of his own private fortune. That individual was Ginjiro Fujiwara, a successful Keio alumnus and president and chairman of Oji Paper Co., Ltd., known as Japan's "King of paper manufacturing." But it wasn't until 1938 that these like-minded alumni of Keio discussed their plans. In June, Koizumi and Fujiwara met for the first discussions on establishing an institute of technology, which took place in Ginza at the Kojunsha Club founded by Yukichi Fukuzawa. This meeting would be the first of many. In the end, it was agreed that Fujiwara would invest eight million yen of his funds to establish the Fujiwara Institute of Technology, with Fujiwara serving as chairman and managing director and Koizumi overseeing education as president.
In 1939, the Fujiwara Institute of Technology opened inside the present-day Hiyoshi Campus with four departments: the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Electrical Engineering, the Department of Applied Chemistry, and the Preparatory Course. This institute was to become the predecessor to the Faculty of Science and Technology. Koizumi and Fujiwara ensured that uniforms and faculty personnel would be similar or identical to those at Keio University in anticipation of the future integration.
In 1944, at the end of World War II, the Fujiwara Institute of Technology was donated to Keio University as promised before its foundation. In August, the Keio University Faculty of Engineering was born.
However, the war was not going well. That February, the Third Department of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff commandeered the Preparatory School Building of the Fujiwara Institute of Technology (now the Keio Senior High School Building) on Hiyoshi Campus. Then, in September, the Combined Fleet moved its headquarters to the Hiyoshi Campus. In April 1945, approximately 80% of the facilities on Hiyoshi Campus were destroyed in air raids. When the war ended in August, the U.S. military confiscated the campus, and Keio's Faculty of Engineering was forced to move.
In the search for a new home, it went from one location to the next, inhabiting the former Technical Research Center of the Imperial Navy in Meguro and government-owned land in a factory in Mizonokuchi, Kawasaki. During the chaotic period after the war, only those living in relative stability near Yokohama were able to attend classes in these temporary school buildings. For this reason, the Faculty of Engineering published a newsletter to keep absentees abreast of university news and even offered correspondence courses by mailing practice problems for core program courses.
In 1949, to address the need for a more convenient location, the Faculty of Engineering relocated to Koganei Campus, which was built on the site of a former Yokogawa Electric Corporation factory just south of present-day JR Musashi-Koganei Station. And so, the faculty made a fresh start in a new location under Japan’s postwar university system. The Koganei relocation also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Faculty of Engineering. The commemorative ceremony was held on a shoestring budget, with faculty, staff, and students working together to prepare for the event by making desks, chairs, and other items by hand. Even Dean Shigeteru Niwa pitched in, smoothing out the athletic field using a roller.
For the next 23 years, Koganei Campus was the home to Keio's Faculty of Engineering during a period of rapid economic growth as Japan established itself as a nation of trade through the manufacturing and export of industrial products. The government's science and technology promotion measures were the tailwinds needed to increase undergraduate and graduate school capacity and expand facilities and equipment.
Ten years after the move to Koganei Campus, there was a growing desire to return to Hiyoshi due to aging facilities, which had been repurposed from factory equipment, and the distance from Hiyoshi, where first-year Keio students attended general education courses. The decision to return to Hiyoshi was finally made in 1968. The new location at Hiyoshi Yagamidai would be on a hill across a low-lying valley from Hiyoshi Campus. After the war, the land was cleared with bulldozers borrowed from the U.S. Army, making it ideal for constructing a new campus. While the Faculty of Engineering was located at Koganei, students named Yagamidai "Arashigaoka" after the Japanese title for the novel Wuthering Heights due to its exposed, elevated location, which made it the perfect place for Keio's baseball and automobile clubs to practice.
In 1972, Yagami Campus finally opened, and the Faculty of Engineering made its long-awaited return to Hiyoshi. Nine years later, in 1981, the school underwent reorganization, changing its name from the Faculty of Engineering to the Faculty of Science and Technology. Since then, the faculty has seen the establishment of several new departments. The undergraduate Faculty of Science and Technology now comprises 11 departments, and the Graduate School of Science and Technology has three overarching majors. The Sosokan, a towering symbol of Yagami Campus meaning the "House of Creation and Imagination," was completed in 2000, ahead of the Fujiwara Insitute of Technology's 75th anniversary in 2014, and named after sohatsu, meaning "emergence," a founding principle of the Faculty of Science and Technology that still guides its evolution today.
*This article appeared in Stained Glass in the 2022 Summer edition (No. 315) of Juku.