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The Founding Spirit of Toyo University

The Founding Spirit of Toyo University

Toyo University emphasizes The Basis of All Learning Lies in Philosophy, Integrating Knowledge and Virtue, and Independence and Self-Initiative as its founding spirit. The university inherited these ideas from its founder, Enryo Inoue.




 The Basis of All Learning Lies in Philosophy

Enryo Inoue as adolescent

Enryo Inoue (1858-1919) was born as the eldest son of a Buddhist priest in today's Niigata Prefecture. As a child, he received Buddhist education and was trained in the Chinese classics. From the age of sixteen, he entered the Nagaoka School for Western Learning, where he studied English, Mathematics, Geography, and other Western subjects. When he was twenty years old, his Buddhist order, the Otani Branch of True Pure Land Buddhism, dispatched him to Tokyo to enter the recently established University of Tokyo. It was here that Inoue encountered philosophy. He became convinced that all knowledge is grounded in philosophy, regardless of whether it originated in the East or the West. In 1887, Inoue founded a private school called Philosophy Academy, which subsequently developed into Toyo University.

For over 125 years, Toyo University has faithfully upheld the educational belief of its founder Enryo Inoue, that The Basis of All Learning Lies in Philosophy. 

Integrating Knowledge and Virtue

The Philosophy Academy started
with 130 students in Rinsho Temple 

When Enryo Inoue was a teenager, the modern Japanese State pursued the imitation of Western civilization. Inoue established the Philosophy Academy in order to revive Eastern Learning and to promote Japanese culture. In addition to Eastern and Western Philosophy, Buddhist Studies, Ethics, Psychology and various other subjects were taught at the Philosophy Academy. Rather than training professional philosophers, what Inoue envisioned was an education that would enable students to cultivate insight and virtue based on their own philosophy.

In one of his writings, Inoue distinguishes two gates in philosophy. The Upward Gate corresponds to the pursuit of knowledge and the elucidation of the truth. The Downward Gate means the application of all that one has learned in service of others. "We pass through the Upward Gate in order to accomplish the Downward Gate." In other words, we strive to improve ourselves so as to devote ourselves to our fellow human beings.

Independence and Self-Initiative 

Enryo Inoue's travel suitcase

During his lifetime, Enryo Inoue made three journeys around the world. At a time when international travel was still difficult, he visited the United States, Europe, South America, India, and Australia. His determination to see the world with his own eyes demonstrates well his pioneering spirit and positive outlook. Inoue applied the ideas he gained from inspecting overseas countries in the reform of Japanese education. From his early thirties, Inoue gave lectures all across Japan to popularize philosophy and contribute to social education. Between 1906 and 1918, he gave as an independent scholar more than 5,000 lectures in 2,198 towns in 60 cities. More than 1.3 million people listened to his lectures.

In the 21st century, amid ongoing globalization, philosophy provides ideas for the solutions to the world's pressing problems. At Toyo University, we are convinced that the principles that motivated Dr. Enryo Inoue and inspired his service to others are more relevant than ever to all who aspire to learn.