Taito City Culture Guide Book
information history culture institutions and customs arts and crafts city tour map
Touring Sogakudo of the Former Tokyo Music School

toppage

page 1 page 2 page 3

next page

movie

The modernization in the Meiji Period is also found in music cultures.
Tatsuhito Kondo

We talked with Mr.Tatsuhito Kondo, a former assistant official of Taito City, who made effort in the relocation of Sougakugou and are knowledgeable about the situation at that time.

Q: How and when was Tokyo Music School established?

Kondo: The Educational System was distributed in 1872, which stipulated that songs and musical performances should be taught at elementary schools and junior high schools respectively. However, there were no teachers and teaching materials, so nothing could be done in spite of the fact that the Educational System was distributed. Shuji Isawa (1851-1917) became a principal at Aichi normal school in 1875 after entering the service of the Ministry of Education in 1872. Then, he went to Bridgewater Normal School in Boston in order to carry out a survey.




A group centering on Isawa submitted a statement requesting the establishment of a music school to Ministry of Education Mori in 1886. The statement said as follows: "It has been 7 years since the establishment of the Music Study Committee of Education, and the committee yields some results. In Japan, there is no place where artists in the field of music, fine arts and others can be trained. The committee also can not do so. It is regrettable for the Japanese people. If the Ministry of Education does not establish a music school immediately, Japan's advancement is further retarded." Subsequently, Tokyo Music School was officially approved in the Ministry of Education's announcement made in October 1887, and Isawa became the first principal of the school.

Shuji Isawa in Boston, around 1876

Shuji Isawa in Boston, around 1876

Tokyo Music School at the time of its establishment


Tokyo Music School at the time of its establishment
Tokyo Music School at the time of its establishment

Although Isawa was smart, he had a bad grade in a class of songs. The principal of Bridgewater said, "You came from the East so it is impossible. Culture is also different. So I exempt you from fulfilling the songs' discipline," but Isawa insisted that he would have to complete all the subjects because he obtained a scholarship from the Japanese government. Therefore, while he studied at the normal school, he was apprenticed to Mason, a leading figure in elementary education, (Luther Whiting Mason, 1818-1896: Mason was invited by the Government at Meiji Period, and stayed in Japan from 1880 to 1882. He taught Western music at the Music Study Committee of Education), and studied music very hard. The Music Study Committee of Education was first established within the Ministry of Education in 1879 by a proposition of Isawa and others. This is the beginning of Tokyo Music School.


The new school building was built in May 1890 at the site of Nishi-yonken Temple (in Ueno Park). Sogakugo was built as a symbol of the new school building. The music school did not have an independent Japanese or Western music course, but had preparatory and regular courses, which all students had to study, as well as graduate and elective courses. Students could freely select classes such as piano and violin in the elective course. The regular course had two divisions, a teachers' division and a special division. Japanese music was taught in the teachers' division two hours a week. There was a Japanese harp class.

Graduates of Tokyo Music School in the class of 1904

Graduates of Tokyo Music School in the class of 1904 - Tamaki Miura (formerly Shibata) in the front row, far right, teacher Nobu Koda in the middle and Ko Ando (formerly Koda) to the right of Nobu.

Tokyo Music School at the time of its establishment

Tokyo Music School at the time of its establishment

Step of Sogakudo (before relocation)

The building of the Music Study Committee of Education

The building of the Music Study Committee of Education- the 16th teacher house in the grounds of the Ministry of Education, Hongo, was converted to the committee's house.

Teachers of the Music Study Committee of Education

Teachers of the Music Study Committee of Education

From left to right in the front row: Fujitsune Shiba, Luther Whiting Mason, Sen Nakamura and Noritsugu Tsuji. From left to right in the back row: Taketaka Tougi, Sanemichi Ue and Yoshiisa Oku.


to pagetop

Copyright (C) Taito City All Rights Reserved

Taito City Culture Guide Book