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Toyo University Center for Social Contribution Symposium Celebrates the University’s 100th anniversary of coeducation

Toyo University Center for Social Contribution Symposium Celebrates the University’s 100th anniversary of coeducation

On November 8, 2015, Toyo University Center for Social Contribution Symposium “Achievement of 100 Years of Toyo University’s Coeducation: Reviewing Japan’s First Women’s Education by a Private University Together with Alumnae” was held.

2016 will mark the 100th anniversary of Toyo University’s coeducation, which started when it admitted its first female students—the first time for a private university in Japan. This symposium, a kickoff event in a project celebrating the anniversary, was held on the day when the 2015 Homecoming Day also took place. Part 1 of the symposium was held at the 125 Memorial Hall under the coordination of Professor Akemi Morita, Director of the Center for Social Contribution, and Professor Etsuko Yaguchi, Dean of the Faculty of Letters and former Director of the center, with the participation of five Toyo University alumnae, invited as panelists.

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Part 1 started with Prof. Yaguchi’s presentation titled “Women Studying at Toyo University in the Taisho era.” Prof. Yaguchi introduced attendees to the outstanding work in various fields of four women who studied at the university during the Taisho era: Ms. Tsune Kuriyama, who graduated as the top student in 1920; Ms. Naoko Nomizo, who graduated on 1924; and Ms. Kiyoko Segawa and Ms. Sada Hanasaki, who both graduated in 1925.

Prof. Yaguchi recounted anecdotes about the forerunners who paved the way to women’s education, sympathetically from the viewpoint of a person of the same sex, stating, “Although I felt strange reading a passage in one record, ‘[they were] able to pursue their studies at peace without suffering discrimination because of being female,’ various records suggest that female students at Toyo University at that time were able to develop backbone for their ways of life by studying to their hearts’ content surrounded by teachers with liberal viewpoints.”

Subsequently, a discussion session was presided over by Prof. Morita with the participation of five alumna panelists, all of whom are actively working in diverse industries. Each panelist commented on the future of Toyo University and what they expect of women’s education:


  • Ms. Mitsuko Uruno, Chief Director of Hokokai, a social welfare corporation, who graduated in 1979
    “I feel that we live in the times when we may have difficulty living only with a narrow perspective of specialization. I think that faculties at Toyo University need to build close relationships with each other, making good use of the characteristics of a general university.”
  •  Ms. Maki Amano, Professor Emeritus of Toyo University, who studied in an evening course and at a graduate school while working as an obstetric nurse in the 1960s, and taught at Toyo University for a long time before actively working as a professor at a junior college
    “I feel happy about women’s remarkable achievement at Toyo University. I hope for the continued development of coeducation in the future.”
  • Ms. Akiko Shimizu, who graduated in 1981, and is serving as the first female principal of the municipal Arima Elementary School (Chuo-ku, Tokyo)
    “Because women have many turning points in their life, I think that different women have different timings for making a decisive move to achieve their goals. I am thinking about the necessity for female university students to understand various models of the ways of working for women, not only during four years at university.”
  • Ms. Hayami Zushida, Representative Director of Aiwa Electron Co., Ltd., who graduated in 1998
    “Although I did not have much opportunity to learn philosophy regardless of being a student at Toyo University focusing on philosophy, I am keenly feeling the importance of philosophy while working as an executive of a company. I hope that the university will provide students with opportunities to feel close to philosophy, irrespective of the faculty to which they belong.”
  • Ms. Sakiko Tsukamoto, who graduated in 2015, and is energetically working as an editorial staff member for an international mode magazine, making good use of her experience of studying abroad
    “Working as an adult member of society now, I wish I could have met more diverse adult people while I was a student. Since the status of being a student gives you the chance to meet those whom you otherwise may not become acquainted with, I hope you will talk with as many adults as possible.”

Moreover, the five panelists, of different ages and fields of work, made speeches about what they learned at Toyo University, where they have roots, and their efforts toward a gender-equal society. Students attending the symposium looked very serious while listening to the colorful stories told by their predecessors.

The speeches by the five panelists at this symposium impressed the audience with their unbroken strong will to learn, not only while being at university but also after graduating. Part 1 of the symposium provided the opportunity to reconsider the uniqueness of Toyo University, which has accepted whoever is determined to learn, an ideal of university education, and women’s education founded on many predecessors’ pioneering efforts.

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Part 2 of the symposium, a round-table talk, was held at the restaurant in Basement 1 of Building No. 8, in a friendly atmosphere. With Ms. Sumie Endo, lecturer at Kyoto Women’s University and a Toyo University alumna, as a coordinator, about 30 participants, including the panelists, students, and alumnae, held discussions in groups for two-and-a-half hours.

The symposium offered a valuable opportunity to exchange views on various topics, including affection for Toyo University, learning, and career development, beyond differences in ages and social positions.

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