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History and Tradition

As the only national university in Japan bearing the name "Shinshu" used before the Establishment of Prefectures in 1871, the University is engaged in fostering talented individuals who respect the importance of its history

Shinshu University, the only university in the current system, bearing a name used before the 1871 establishment of prefectural names, is also firmly rooted in the many communities of Nagano Prefecture. Because the University includes various faculties, each with their own individually different histories and traditions, the University as a whole provides a unique educational and research environment.

Morio Kita was a graduate of the old Matsumoto High School and an author known for his Doctor Manbo series. His family members kindly donated these rare books to Shinshu University Library when the "Kita Morio Library" was founded. The photo shows parts of the donated book series. Photos of Kunio Tsuji, another graduate of the same school, together with Morio Kita are on the cover of Chikuma Gendai Bungaku Taikei.

The Matsumoto City Agatanomori cultural hall, formerly, the "Historical Matsumoto Higher School," was designated as an important cultural property in June 2007.

The newly released "Shinshu Daigaku Kokoro no Uta (Songs of the Heart of Shinshu University)" includes the Shisei Dormitory song "Haru Sekiryo (Springtime solitude)", the student song "Eichi Minagiru (Never-ending wisdom)", and various other songs that will cause some to reminisce about a time when they were freer and more broadminded.

Shinshu's Shisei Dormitory song, "Haru Sekiryo" was performed for the first time at the 2013 matriculation ceremony. This is a special feature of the all-around education that Shinshu University has inherited.

"Shinano no Kuni" in the handwriting of Retsu Asai (possession of the Faculty of Education)

The Only National University in Japan bearing a Name used before the Establishment of Prefectural Names

Shinshu University was founded in 1949 as a national university (under postwar guidelines) by the integration of the seven institutions of higher education within Nagano Prefecture into one. At that time, it was a general rule that a university would adopt its prefecture's name. However, Shinshu University was the only university in Japan bearing not the prefecture's current name but the one used before the establishment of the modern prefectural system.

Phantom Ninth Higher School

In 1919, Nagano Prefecture, with its goal of providing high-quality education, established the Matsumoto Higher School. With the establishment of this school, the number of higher schools in Japan totaled nine. Subsequently, all government higher schools were given names corresponding to their location. The nine radiating lines on the Matsumoto Higher School emblem denote the fact that it was one of the nine higher schools established at that time.
In 1949, with the establishment of the post-war university system, the "Old Matsumoto Higher School" became the Shinshu University Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 1966, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was re-organized into the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science.
In 1978, the Faculty of Arts was re-organized into the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Economics. These faculties have inherited the traditions of the "Old Matsumoto Higher School" while continuing to educate and cultivate promising individuals.

Shinano no kuni

In general, any person from Nagano Prefecture can easily recite the prefectural song, "Shinano no kuni" (信濃の国). The lyrics were written in 1899 by Retsu Asai, a teacher at the Nagano Prefectural Normal School (presently the Shinshu University Faculty of Education) and a descendant of the former Matsumoto domain samurai family. The first verse is as follows:

shinano no kuni wa jushhuni sakaitsuranuru kuni ni shite sobiyuru yama wa iya takaku nagaruru kawa wa iya tooshi Matsumoto Ina Saku Zenkouji yotsu no taira wa hiyoku no chi umi koso nakere monosawani yorozutarawanu koto zonaki.

This song describes the special characteristics of the region, including Shinano's vastness, the four plains, and the richness of the region.
As the song indicates, the different regions of Shinano were separated from one another by rivers and mountains, and each area had its own unique culture. The abolition of feudal domains in Japan led to the establishment of the prefectures. With the subsequent reorganization of 1871, Shinano was divided into Nagano Prefecture with a prefectural office in Nagano, and Chikuma Prefecture, which was governed from Matsumoto. In 1876, after the Chikuma prefectural office was destroyed in a fire, the former Shinano Kuni area, that had been under the control of Chikuma Prefecture, was then incorporated into Nagano Prefecture. However, there was a lack of unity between the citizens of these prefectures, and the song depicts the various areas of the prefecture as distinct landscapes, and refers to the region by its old name --"Shinano" -- rather than by the newly appointed name of Nagano.
It was because of this historical background that the University was given the name "Shinshu" to symbolize the unification of these prefectural regions.

Against the Background of the Growth of Industry

The Ueda College of Sericulture, the predecessor of the Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, was established in 1910. It was the first national school in Nagano Prefecture and the first institute of higher education to focus on silk thread as a leading-edge technology of the time. Subsequently, the college was developed into an institute of higher education focusing on general textile science and technology, and in 1949, because of reforms in the Japanese educational system, it became the Shinshu University Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, and remains the only one of its kind in Japan.
In 1943, the Nagano Higher Technical School was established in Nagano to train skilled industrial and technical workers during World War II. The following year, it was renamed the "Nagano Technical College." This institution eventually became the Shinshu University Faculty of Engineering with the goal of providing talented individuals for industries in Nagano Prefecture as well as contributing to the industrialization of Japan.
The predecessor of the Faculty of Agriculture was the Nagano Prefectural College of Agriculture and Forestry, which was established in 1945 to augment Japan's agricultural system during World War II. The college became the Faculty of Agriculture when the university was established in 1949, and it continues to support Japanese agriculture in the rich natural environment of Shinshu.
These faculties and schools continue to conduct new research for the benefit of society and industries worldwide, while producing highly skilled graduates who will enrich the local community.

Educational Climate

The people of Shinshu are known for having an enterprising spirit and an inclination towards learning. Several well-known examples of the latter include Matsushiro domain's bunbu gakkou (literary and military school), Matsumoto domain's suukyoukan, and Takato domain's shintokukan (domain schools). In fact, many talented individuals were trained at the shintokukan, including Shuuji Izawa, the first President of Tokyo Music School (presently the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music).
In 1873, teacher training schools were established in Nagano Prefecture and Chikuma Prefecture. In 1874, the Chikuma Prefectural Normal School was created, followed by the Nagano Prefectural Normal School in 1875. When the prefectures were united into Nagano Prefecture, the Chikuma Prefectural Normal School became the Matsumoto Branch of the Nagano Prefectural Normal School.
The Faculty of Education has inherited this extensive history, and it sends out many talented educators not only across Nagano Prefecture but also throughout Japan.

Fostering Human Resources to Protect and Nurture Life

Beginning in 1922, the people of Nagano petitioned continually for a medical school, and as a result of their pleas the Governmental Matsumoto Technical School of Medicine, the predecessor of the School of Medicine at Shinshu University, was established in 1944. This school was founded to compensate for the shortage of medical doctors during the war. The founding of the old Matsumoto High School was similarly a consequence of sustained petitioning by the town's citizens.
In 1948, the school became the Matsumoto Medical College and when Shinshu University was established one year later, it became the School of Medicine. Along with the Shinshu University Hospital, this institution conducts leading-edge research and provides world-class medical treatment in addition to fostering talented medical professionals dedicated to the protection and nurturing of life.