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Japan

Princess Akiko goes back to university to celebrate Japanese culture


By 海上自衛隊 呉地方隊ホームページ, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Princess Akiko of Japan took part in the ceremonies commemorating two important anniversaries for one of Japan’s many private universities. 

Her Imperial Highness was taking part in the celebrations held on Saturday, 30 April, for the university’s 140th anniversary since it was founded, and the 60th anniversary of its reopening following World War II.

Kogakkan University was founded in 1882, chartered as a university in 1940 and reopened its doors following World War II and the destruction it spelled for Japan in 1962. 

The institution is only one of two in the entirety of Japan to have a specific programme to educate Shinto priests (kannushi in Japanese), the other one being Kokugakuin University in Tokyo. 

But that was not the focus of the Princess’s visit, who, instead, was present to also shine a spotlight on the institution’s programme to carry out workshops dedicated to promoting Japanese culture with the younger generation, which in turn, will help practice “history-based learning in society.”

The Princess also watched students participate in creating the artificial flower “Ohanashinsen” made of Japanese paper, after which she said: “I feel that I am learning and practicing the morals and learning rooted in the history of our country.” 

Throughout the tour, Her Imperial Highness was accompanied by the Chancellor of the University, Mr Satoshi Kawano, who spelt out his intentions for the future of the institution: “I would like to enrich the education and research of the history and tradition that our university has cherished, contribute to society again, and strive to develop human resources who will open up the future of the region.”

Kogakkan University is currently only composed of one campus, located in Isa, in the Mie prefecture. However, from 1998 until 2011, it also had a campus in Nabari, a small town located in a more rural area of the same prefecture. The Nabari quarters of the university housed the Faculty of Welfare and had to close down due to the small number of students enrolled in the programme. 

Princess Akiko has put a great deal of focus into the education panorama of Japan, and the perception of Japanese culture around the world, as she is the recipient of a doctorate at Oxford University, with a dissertation about the British Museum’s collection of William Anderson’s Japanese art.