history

The Tokyo University of Science and the “Sustaining” Teachers

The Tokyo Butsurigaku Koshujo (Tokyo Academy of Physics), the forerunner of the Tokyo University of Science, was founded in 1881, and two years later the academy was renamed the Tokyo Butsuri Gakko (Tokyo College of Science). The University of Tokyo (then the Imperial University) was founded in 1877. Because physics in the Faculty of Science was taught by a French instructor in French, the University of Tokyo established the Department of Physics in French, which continued for around three years. A group of 19 first- to third-year young scientists who graduated from this department and two others founded the Tokyo Academy of Physics and formed a pact to sustain the academy, with the aim of “Building a Better Future with Science.” (The group later came to be known as the “sustaining” teachers.) Back then, a popular movement for democratic rights was at its prime. At a time when departments of politics, economics and law flourished, the “sustaining” teachers believed that “science and technology were the foundations of national prosperity.” The movement to promote a broad understanding of science advocated by the Tokyo College of Science resonated with professors at the University of Tokyo at the time. Eminent professors such as Dairoku Kikuchi (Mathematics), Kenjiro Yamakawa (Physics), Aikitsu Tanakadate (Physics), Hantaro Nagaoka (Physics), and Joji Sakurai (Chemistry), who went on to become president of the University of Tokyo and leaders of RIKEN lent their support to the movement. Until the Kyoto Imperial University was consequently founded in 1897 and the College of Science and Technology (Faculty of Science and Technology) was established within the university, natural sciences were taught only at the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo College of Science during the interim years of the Meiji Period.

Hitoshi Terao, a member of the “sustaining” teachers, became the first president of the Tokyo University of Science, but he also served concurrently as the first director of the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Tokyo (Faculty of Science). Kiyoo Nakamura, the second president of the Tokyo University of Science, long served concurrently as the director of the Central Meteorological Observatory. These were interesting times in which one could be employed by a national government institution while presiding over a private university. Kyohei Nakamura, the third president of the University, was a good friend of author Soseki Natsume, and is said to have been a model for the main character in Natsume’s novel I Am a Cat (“Wagahai Wa Neko De Aru”). Their friendship is also cited as a reason why the protagonist in the novel Botchan is a Tokyo College of Science graduate. Another member of the “sustaining” teachers, Shin Samejima, had friendly ties with the author Toson Shimazaki at the Komoro Gijuku school, and was depicted in Toson’s Chikumagawa Sketches (“Chikumagawa no sketch”) and The Impoverished Scientist (“Mazushii rigakushi”). Each and every one of the “sustaining” teachers left an indelible mark on history. Each member was determined to pursue science in the Meiji Period and devoted all their youthful enthusiasm to this calling. At their college, nobody was permitted to be late for class, professors lectured without pay and the cancellation of class by an instructor was punishable by a fine. The strictness of the sustaining pact built the foundations of the University’s prosperity today.

The 21 founders of Tokyo University of Science
(Mural in the Oshamambe Campus)

June 1881 The establishment of the Tokyo Butsurigaku Koshujo (Tokyo Academy of Physics) was advertised.
September 1883 The Academy was renamed the Tokyo Butsuri Gakko (Tokyo College of Science).
May 1915 The Tokyo College of Science was established as a foundation.
April 1949 The Tokyo Butsuri Gakko (Tokyo College of Science) became the Tokyo University of Science (Faculty of Science Division I and II, each with a Department of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry) as a result of education system reforms.
July 1949 The Tokyo College of Science (foundation) was renamed the Tokyo Butsuri Gakuen (Tokyo Academy of Physics) (foundation).
March 1951 The Tokyo Butsuri Gakuen (Tokyo Academy of Physics) became an incorporated school.
April 1958 The Master’s Course in the Graduate School of Science was established.
April 1960 The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Department of Pharmacy) was established.
April 1961 The Doctoral Course in the Graduate School of Science was established.
April 1962 The Faculty of Engineering was established.
April 1967 The Faculty of Science and Technology was established. The Department of Pharmaceuticals was renamed as the Department of Pharmacy.
April 1976 The Faculty of Engineering Division II was established. The Department of Information Sciences and the Department of Applied Biological Science are added to the Faculty of Science and Technology.
April 1987 The Faculty of Industrial Science and Technology was established.
April 1987 The Tokyo University of Science, Yamaguchi College was established.
April 1988 The name of the educational corporation was changed from the Tokyo Butsuri Gakuen (Tokyo Academy of Physics) to the Tokyo University of Science.
April 1990 The Tokyo University of Science, Suwa College was established.
April 1993 The School of Management and the Doctoral Course in the Graduate School of Industrial Science and Technology are established.
April 1995 The Tokyo University of Science, Yamaguchi was established.
April 2002 The Tokyo University of Science, Suwa was established consisting of Faculty of Systems Engineering, Faculty of Business Administration and Information, and Center of General Education.
April 2003 The Doctoral Course in the Graduate School of Industrial Science and Technology was established at the Tokyo University of Science, Yamaguchi.
April 2004 The Department of Management of Science and Technology (MOT) was established in the Graduate School of Management Science and Technology. (Specialist Graduate School)
April 2005 The Department of Master of Intellectual Property (MIP) was established in the Graduate School of Management Science and Technology. (Specialist Graduate School)
April 2006 The Graduate School of Engineering and Management was established at the Tokyo Uiversity of Science, SUWA .
April 2012 The Doctoral Course in the Graduate School of Engineering and Management was established at the Tokyo University of Science, SUWA.
April 2014 Faculty of Systems Engineering was renamed the Faculty of Engineering consisting of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Department of Computer and Media Engineering at the Tokyo University of Science, SUWA.

The entire Tokyo College of Science campus and physics laboratories are completed in Ushigome, Kagurazaka in 1906.