The Power of Learning

The Founder of Keio University was Yikuchi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), who continues to be an inspiration for us in our culture of teaching and learning. His image appears on the Japanese 10000 yen banknote. He was an author, writer, teacher, entrepreneur and political theorist whose ideas about government and social institutions made a lasting impression on a rapidly-changing Japan during the period known as the Meiji Era.

Fukuzawa travelled widely in the western world, where he became acquainted with political and monetary systems as yet unknown in Japan. He admired the liberal arts college tradition of the United States and employed many of its practices in those of Keio University. Fukuzawa was a blend of traditionalist and radical.

In his book An Encouragement of Learning he expounded the importance of freedom, equality and human dignity, pointing Japan towards a modern outlook in which traditions need not remain static but adaptable to changing circumstances. In our work of teaching and formation of young minds, we try to stay close to Fukuzawa’s key principles of

  • honesty and rigor in academic learning
  • self-discipline as the basis of social leadership
  • generosity of spirit
  • Dokuritsu Jison         independence of mind and self-respect
  • Kihin no Sengen        the pursuit of honorable character

The wholistic curriculum of Keio Academy, including the core curriculum of English, Japanese, Mathematics, Science & Technology and Social Studies, and the Academic Extension courses in Great Thinkers on the Path to Democracy (which includes passages from the writings of Fukuzawa as well as Plato, Aristotle and the great Western thinkers of the scientific enlightenment), Talking Citizenship and a range of some thirty courses covering topics from biodiversity to artificial intelligence, provide an opportunity for a continuing encounter with Fukuzawa’s enthusiasm for the power of learning.

These things do not remain only matters of the mind. Music, solo instrumental, ensemble and choral performance, as an especially important part of our school culture, nourishes the individual and corporate spirit, and our sports program, carefully constructed to meet the differing needs and talents of our students, ensures that the body is developed and enjoyed as a creative aspect of the human personality. 

Leadership opportunities within our House structure and links with the local community in our Community Service program combine to give our students a compelling experience of living in a community that celebrates the excitement learning.