Keio University

On Tuesday the 12th, the group had the opportunity to visit Keio University’s Shonan Fujisawa Campus.  We had already visited the Keio High School, located on the same campus, but this time were going to hear a series of lectures and discussions from professors from this school.

The lectures were interesting as we learned about the school’s GIGA, Global Information and Communication Technology and Governance Academic Program, which is taught in English, and heard about interesting “Tomodachi” stories, stories about U.S.-Japan relations.  When not hearing about these, we had the opportunity to have a tour of the campus, given by current international students, as well as eat with these students in the university cafeteria.

The Keio University Shonan Fujisawa campus is much like a college campus in the U.S.  It is not in the middle of the city and instead is in the suburbs.  As we walked on our tour, trees were displaying their fall colors and many students were sitting or playing around while eating lunch.

The Keio University has six campuses around Tokyo, but the Shonan Fujisawa campus is the only one that we visited.  The university was founded in 1858 by Yikichi Fukuzawa, who can be found on the 10,000-yen note.  Now, the entire Keio University, between all of its campuses, has a total enrollment of 33,481 students, 1,203 of which are international students.  Fifty-seven of these are from the U.S., so studying at Keio could be a possibility for some in the group.  We met some of these international students as we ate lunch with them in the school cafeteria.  The food was good and the students engaging as we asked them about their lives in Japan and their experiences going to Keio.  Overall these students agreed that the experience was different but they all appreciated the experience that they were having.

After eating, and after receiving a tour of the campus, we headed off to our last lecture.  This lecture, given by Professor Naoyuki Agawa, who had actually lived in Washington, D.C. for a while, was about the history of U.S.-Japan relations.  This was especially interesting to me as I like history and am interested in U.S. relations with other countries.  Instead of giving a broad history of events between the two countries, he instead spoke about very specific, but very interesting, and often funny, exchanges between the two.  He told us about when samurais were taken on a U.S. tour in 1860 and how the youngest of these samurai, “Tommy” Tateishi Onojiro, became very popular in the U.S.  He also told us about Yamakawa Kenjiro, a president of Keio University, who had been a samurai who eventually attended Yale in the United States.  His stories were interesting and I enjoyed hearing about these events in U.S.-Japan relations.

Overall our experience at the Keio University was great and with most students in the group having a couple years until college, Keio University is now on their radar.  As everyone enjoyed the trip, and are interested in returning to Japan, attending Keio University may be the perfect opportunity to do so!

Delmar Tarrago
School Without Walls

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