The Power of Language

Keio Academy places appreciation and mastery of language as the basic tool of learning, social interaction and personal satisfaction. Use of language accurately, sympathetically and imaginatively is at the heart of civilization.

Our School brings together two great linguistic traditions, English and Japanese. Both languages are in themselves a flowering of culture in prose, poetry and theater, in the plays of William Shakespeare, the poems of John Keats and the novels of Charles Dickens; in the haiku of Basho, in the Japanese Noh Theater, The Tale of Genji and the novels of Yasunari Kawabata.   Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa revealed to the world the power of Japanese language and image in their great films.

These two great language traditions form the basis of Keio’s educational adventure.

Our mission is to prepare our students as bilingual lifelong learners, first as undergraduates at Keio University and then in the wider world of academe, business, commerce, science, technology or public service, equipped with competent written and speaking skills in both languages and with a lively awareness and appreciation of their cultural richness.

This challenging ambition can be achieved only by inspiring teaching and determined discipline. When students arrive at the School fluent in only one language, usually Japanese, but sometimes English, we build their confidence through clear rules and the formation of good habits. We offer online tuition in English conversation before students arrive at our New York campus, and thereafter during vacation periods when they are no longer immersed in a bilingual community. Immersion is the key principle. The basis of our daily structure is this:

  • all classes except for Japanese are taught in English
  • English only is spoken through the working day
  • all written work except that for Japanese classes is submitted in English.

On the Japanese side, traditional Japanese language disciplines are taught, with extra help for those students who, even though of Japanese background, have lived in a different language culture and are perhaps more familiar with English than Japanese.

Our students have many opportunities to use English in public gatherings such as School assemblies, the Senior Saturday Morning Program that includes public speaking and debating competitions, and in theatrical performances.

We believe that the English and Japanese languages have a significant part to play in the future of East Asia in particular and in the world’s future in general: we expect our bilingual students to be among the leaders of their generation in a challenging and exciting future.