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.
霄(そら)あらば霄を窮(きわ)めむ壌(つち)あらば壌(つち)にも活きむ

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 university passes on a variety of intellectual activities and their results over national boundaries to people throughout the world, and to our local communities and society. Above all, the university acts through education to pass these on to future generations. Communicating in this way is the great mission and the function of the university. Activities based on the Meiji Gakuin University philosophy of "Do for Others" (contribute to other people) encompass the whole of this mission and function. This stance of contributing to others reaches back to Dr. Hepburn, who came to Japan at the end of the Tokugawa Era and worked to heal others at no charge, and to the many figures who were the founders of this university. It is their legacy of faith that has been handed on, and its source goes back to the Bible. At Meiji Gakuin University we take pride in our university tradition of freedom. However, that freedom has also been nurtured and tempered with tension in a way of life that contributes to others as given in the Bible's teaching that "No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." I hope to devote myself, slender reed though I am, to seeing that Meiji Gakuin University continues to serve as a university that meets the true needs of the times while cherishing that tradition and heritage of freedom.

  • Shinji Nozawa, Vice-President
    Meiji Gakuin University inherits the spirit of Dr. Hepburn, who engaged in medical charity at the end of the Tokugawa Era. Even now, studying here brings you something special. One thing that is emblematic of this is the fact that so many of our students have been participating in ongoing volunteer assistance activities of various kinds in places such as areas affected by tsunamis. The university's pioneering Volunteer Center has supported those activities for over 20 years. In recent years, our "Internal Internationalization" Project has been providing students with service-learning opportunities to work with and understand people living in Japan who have roots in other countries. This university has also started to accept refugee students under the UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program, and to hold screenings on campus as a School Partner of the UNHCR Refugee Film Festival. I believe that the abundance of learning opportunities like these that are offered in addition to usual classes gives a powerful boost to career formation by Meiji Gakuin University students. As Vice-President, I am involved with all the activities of the Volunteer Center, Internal Internationalization Project, UNHCR programs, and Career Center. My role is to strengthen the mutual collaboration among their activities, thereby advancing the unique learning provided by Meiji Gakuin University.

  • Shigeki Takeo, Vice-President
    I have been responsible for work related to international exchange, the university-wide self-evaluation and assessment system, faculty development, and the Alumni Association since April 2018. In recent years, political and business leaders have looked to institutions of higher education to “train an internationally competitive workforce,” yet the actual meaning of this catchphrase remains unclear. The history of this university goes back to its founding by medical missionary Dr. James Curtis Hepburn, and today it continues to provide fertile ground for young minds to learn about the world through the study of religion, language, and a diversity of other cultures. Far from being used to the full in today’s rapidly changing society, however, these resources remain untapped in many respects. Making the greatest possible use of the resources that the university has to offer requires unremitting self-evaluation and reform of the educational system. Moreover, in order to connect Japan with the world, a deep and accurate understanding of the regions and communities surrounding us is indispensable. I believe the mission of the university is to foster the development of members of society capable of engaging in collaborative work with individuals from these different regions and communities. I hope that I can contribute to the realization of this mission.

  • Mitsuru Watanabe, Vice-President
    I am responsible for overseeing entrance examinations, high school-university partnerships, and special projects. 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 develop special projects and 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.