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.”