Office of the President

We strive to fulfill Meiji Gakuin University’s educational philosophy of “Do for Others” and contribute to society by carrying on our founder James C. Hepburn’s legacy of Christian-based moral education.

If there is sky above you, reach for it; if there is ground beneath you, plant your feet in it.

The lyrics to Meiji Gakuin University’s school song were written by Toson Shimazaki, a Japanese author who was a member of the first graduating class. Unlike conventional Japanese school songs, it is not composed of three verses, and does not have a refrain that repeats the school name. Rather, it uniquely comprises a single poem. I am very fond of our school song for this reason and also for its artistic, beautiful melody. I hope you have the opportunity to listen to it and sing it yourselves. I found particularly inspiring the part of the lyrics I have written above. The Japanese character for sky that is used here (霄; sho) is that which refers to a vast, endless sky. The character for ground (壌; jo) refers to the Earth. When combined, the two characters (霄壌; shojo) refer to Heaven and Earth. I interpret this to mean that if you gaze at the far horizon, you will someday reach it, but that you should make steady, practical efforts in your daily lives. The endless sky represents the lifestyle and career you aim to achieve in the future. The Earth represents the path to your goal and the life that awaits you there. Dr. James Hepburn, founder of Meiji Gakuin University, came to Japan from the United States to spread English education, medical care, and missionary work. His road was in no way a smooth one, however. His abovementioned activities in Japan were the result of a second attempt after overcoming from an initial failure. Dr. Hepburn experienced various difficulties in Japan, but through this experience, he succeeded in achieving the shojo of his 33 years of missionary work and English education in Japan. Inasmuch as it has become easy to travel to a foreign country, interacting with local people and carrying out intended activities in a foreign country remains a challenge in any age.

Your shojo as students are diverse, but each is to be respected. Meiji Gakuin University’s educational philosophy of “Do for Others” does not mean to impose one’s thoughts on others, but is founded on an understanding and respect of the goals of others. The path to your shojo will not be a smooth one, but we promise to bring out the self within yourselves that will help you cultivate the power to reach for your shojo as you mutually support each other. We hope you will join us at Meiji Gakuin University to experience diverse learning opportunities, student life, and interactions among students and with faculty members, and create a life plan based on the teaching, “If there is sky above you, reach for it; if there is ground beneath you, plant your feet in it.”

Yasuo Matsubara, President

Messages from the Vice Presidents and the Chief Secretary to the President

  • Shigehiro Nagano, Vice-President
    The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011 is said to have brought a change in the way 80% of people think. Ryoichi Wago, a poet who was born in Fukushima, says the term “reconstruction” has begun to sound abusive to him, signifying a relentless pursuit of accelerated results and attempts to clear things that cannot be cleared. These 80% feel that Japanese society needs to put on the brakes. On the other hand, however, the accelerator is being fully applied to global-scale economic growth and competition called globalization, the increasing disparities, and the ranking and grading of people according to uniform evaluation criteria called global standards. If the brake and accelerator continue to be depressed at the same time, the engine will eventually break down. Our society is just a step short of this situation. To borrow a phrase from the New Testament, the need for universities to develop people who “seek not their own good, but the good of others” has never been as great as today. Responding to this demand and expectation is precisely our mission at Meiji Gakuin University. Under the strong leadership of President Matsubara, I will fulfill my role as Vice-President by further enhancing our education framework and strengthening our ties with society.

  • Shinji Nozawa, Vice-President
    Inheriting traditions stemming from the Hepburn School, which was founded more than 150 years ago, Meiji Gakuin University offers high-quality education and research activities in many fields of study. One of our strengths is the pioneering volunteer activities of our students, who work out of the Volunteer Center that carries on the spirit of Dr. James Hepburn’s medical services. It is my job to develop plans and an environment in which the level of these activities can be further raised. I am also specifically responsible for matters concerning education in general at our university, such as self-inspection and faculty development (FD), in addition to overseeing the facilities and environment at Shirokane Campus, volunteer activities, and public relations for the university. In sum, it is my mission to strongly support our students so they can spend a fulfilling time of learning with a sense of identity as Meiji Gakuin students, and to widely and externally communicate this distinct atmosphere to foster greater understanding of Meiji Gakuin University’s unique character. My best efforts will be devoted to fulfilling this mission.

  • Atsushi Yoshii, Vice-President
    Meiji Gakuin University offers high-quality, internationally oriented education in a school that originated from the English school established by missionary and physician Dr. James Hepburn, who is also known for the Hepburn romanization system for the transliteration of the Japanese language. To further enrich the education we offer and strengthen the advantages we provide, we will strongly support overseas studies, internships, volunteer activities, and other such international exchanges, create an environment that encourages students to study abroad, increase the number of partner universities, and provide improved study and living environments to our international students. We will also create joint curriculums and degrees in collaboration with foreign universities, and promote international initiatives among our faculty, such as through overseas training and teacher exchange programs. The Yokohama Campus will be transformed into an Eco-campus, where students and faculty may remain safe in the event of a disaster, and a series of improvements will be made, including the development of facilities for active learning, to create a campus conducive to education and research. Furthermore, the alumni association will be strengthened as a forum for exchange among alumni, as the university cannot expect to grow without its input. I will contribute as much as I can to boost Meiji Gakuin University’s reputation and promote global higher education.

  • Mitsuru Watanabe, Vice-President
    I am responsible for overseeing entrance examinations, high school-university partnerships, and career support and education. Entrance examinations, which open the door to our university, are part of a diversified screening system that suits the current era of population decline, and evaluates applicants based on a wide variety of criteria. We accept high-level applicants who display consistent qualities and a strong interest in learning, and develop them into people who can contribute to society, according to a clear diploma policy based on sound education principles. Meiji Gakuin University’s fundamental strength lies in its educational power. Its locations in Shirokane and Yokohama also play a role in providing an ideal education environment for shaping students into intelligent adults fit to acquire high-quality employment. To secure the quality of students both coming in and going out, I wish to carry out educational reform that will prompt all departments to renew the awareness that education is the essence of our university and will ensure the quality of the Meiji Gakuin brand.

  • Hiroki Hata, Director, President’s Office
    An era of major change is sweeping across universities. The President’s Office exists so that the university’s administration, consisting of the President and Vice-Presidents, may make decisions concerning such waves of change swiftly and accurately. The Executive Director and other university staff support the administration in making agile decisions by undertaking office work. As close coordination between the two is vital, the President’s Office lends a steady ear to the needs and wishes of the administration, and smoothly conveys them to the staff so that administrative policies are realized. It goes without saying that the main role of the university is to support education and research, but it must also fulfill the role of promoting external public relations and regional cooperation. The General Planning and Development Office, of which I also serve as Director, is dedicated to handling these matters. To the best of my ability, I will contribute to the further growth of Meiji Gakuin University.