The Admission of Women : Time Travel – Tohoku University

In August 1913, Tohoku University permitted the admission of women. Women were accepted into an Imperial University for the first time in Japan. How did they enter Tohoku University?

At the beginning of 1913, Tohoku University informed all the schools about its policy of opening its doors to women. After receiving that news, some women decided to take the entrance exam, following the recommendations of their teachers. Ms. Ume Tange, Ms. Chika Kuroda and Ms. Raku Makita passed these tests and entered the College of Science along with thirty-five male students. Before that, they were teaching in Girl’s High Schools. In other words, they all held a teaching license which, was a qualification to enter this university.

However, their admission was not smooth. During the exam, there was an inquiry from the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education recognized it as an extremely major affair that has not happened before that is, they opposed the admission of women. However, Tohoku University had already decided to admit women. Tohoku University thought that they simply applied expanding entrance qualifications to women so as to get more students. This decision was not based on progressive thinking.

After their graduation, Ms. Chika Kuroda and Ms. Raku Makita became professors at their old school, Tokyo Women’s Teacher Training School. Ms. Ume Tange also became a professor at Japan Women’s University. They later fostered female researchers. In the long run, the admission of women to an Imperial University was a ground-breaking event, not only for opening doors to women but even for the history of the university.

Columnist Manabu NAKAGAWA is an Associate professor at IEHE, Tohoku University

Chemistry Division 2nd Graduation Ceremony (1915)  Ms. Kuroda is in the 2nd row.

: Collection of Tohoku University Archives 

Discovery of Another World of Japanese Culture

“The 65th Tohoku University Festival”, held on October 28th-30th, 2016, has greatly ended. In this festival, Tohoku University students organized exhibition, performances and food stalls for their own clubs or circles. Thus, not only visitors can enjoy activities, shows and foods they served us, but also it was a great chance to survey which clubs or circles they are interested in, and, perhaps, decide to join in the next semester. I guess many of you have already experienced this fantastic event; by the way, I would like to gather information and re-display impressive moments in the 65th Tohoku University Festival which is one of the most unique festivals I’ve ever seen. Let’s explore  another world of Japanese culture together.

In this festival, students from a huge number of clubs and circles organized their own exhibition showing what they have done throughout a year. Also, relevant information and pieces of works were provided. Although you did not have any information which clubs were being exhibited and where it was, it was still fine since there existed brochures sticked on the wall everywhere. All of classrooms of A, B and C building at Kawauchi Campus were used for exhibition. Accordingly, if you go through a walkway in the building, it would seem like you have teleported to another world, the world of clubs’ exhibition as you can see them from both sides of your sightseeing. There were several clubs and circles I would like to introduce. The first one is Photography circle. Here, the exhibition of photos, gathered from members,  was organized. The interesting point was that some photos were taken by just only a mobile phone. Thus, for this circle, just good ideas, content, emotion and components can bring out a good photo without using expensive cameras. Next is Model club; Gundams, tanks and figures were formed and exhibited here. If you are a fan of figures, you would know that constructing a figure takes a very long time (sometimes more than 10 hours). And, you know, a number of figures was displayed; it showed how much effort that members  have paid for these things. The last club I would like to talk about is Train club. In this club, they research about Japanese trains: types, routes, environments and station construction etc. According to those information, they created a model of local train station as well as its route, and it can realistically move using battery—that was fantastic! Apart from these clubs and circles, there were still a lot of exhibition there, for example, Astronomy club, Card circle, Robot club, Social outreach club, Cartoon painting circle and Chess circle etc.

Another major group exhibited in this festival was music  and street dance circles. Actually, there are many ways to categorize these clubs. If the criteria is types of music, there were Jazz, Classic, Pop and Japanese folk song etc. Also, if the criteria is types of musical instrument, there were mandolin, brass instrument and woodwind instrument etc. You can see there was a large number of music circles here. Generally, many music circles here opened cafes and showed their performances inside. Visitors can pay money (just a little amount) for drinks, sitting and listening to music inside. Because types of music circles were very various, visitors can choose what kind of music they like or what type of   music instrument they prefer, and then relaxed there. There were some bands performing on the central stage, too. Apart from these music shows, there was a dance performance by street dance circle, which was one of highlights of this event. This circle is composed of many lines of dancing: jazz, house, hiphop, lock and pop. I had watched it on the first day which was held on a stage near the bicycle parking; it was so awesome actually.

University festival would not be complete if there is no food stalls. Food stalls here were also organized by students. Some club and circles that did not make exhibition would do food stalls as  another way of their clubs’ income. The food was various until you may not be able to try them all, for example, yakisoba (Japanese stir fried noodles), takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), sausages, crepes and grilled chicken etc. Moreover, the price was not expensive at all, just around 200-500 yen per serving which allowed you to try many kind of traditional Japanese street food. Because of this perfect food stalls, this event was able to attract visitors to stay for all day—when they felt tired from exhibition, they bought foods, recharged the energy, and  then continued to visit other clubs and circles more. It was such a perfect loop!

In conclusion, the 65th Tohoku University festival was very exciting and full of great components: attractive clubs’ exhibition, awesome performances and nice foods as everyone devoted themselves and heartily organized this event. In fact, I have never seen any university festivals that can showed students’ effort on what they are interested in as much as Japan’s. I bet this kind of culture is exotic and attractive for foreign students including me. Thus, anyone who have not join this event yet, please come again in the next year “the 66th Tohoku University Festival” and discover another world of Japanese culture together.

“…From my perspective, the festival is probably the best chance you could have to observe the talents and interests of Tohoku University students. All over Kawauchi campus, everyone can take part in enjoying the local food made by students, and watching shows and exhibitions that can only be seen in the festival. I personally enjoyed watching the WHO dancing circle’s street dance performance. If you happen to have a chance to join, please make sure to go to their shows…”

Ratthanan Ratthanasupapornsak

Faculty of Engineering (IMAC-U)


“…I think the Tohoku University Festival is a very good opportunity to experience the interest and talent of Tohoku University Students through various performances. Furthermore, there are a lot of freshly made food and drinks for sale which you can enjoy in the festival. It also benefit those who intended to join a club or circle to be able to choose from their interest accordingly…”

Chayapol Beokhaimook

Faculty of Engineering (IMAC-U)


“…In this university event, I had a chance to perform a jazz song at one of the classroom which my club occupy as a club room. I am a guitarist, and I start to practice a month before the event, but unfortunately, me and my band only had practice together one time because of our schedule were not match. I was a little bit nervous before the show, but it turned out really fun and my friends came to watch me on that day which made me really happy. This event gave me the chance to show my potential and also good memories, I really looking forward to next year gakusai…”

Pathomchat Piriyakulkij

Faculty of Engineering (IMAC-U)


“…I’ve had a chance to perform in the university festival with WHO street dance circle. We practiced for around 2 months before the event. I heard that the circle is not very serious but to be honest, this is not the case at all. Around 2 weeks before the event, we practiced 5 days a week 6-8 hours a day. However, no matter how hard the practice was, I still enjoyed it. In this event, I participate in 3 stage, including 1st year 1st stage, House stage and Hip hop stage. I was very nervous since this is my first time going on stage. Fortunately, I didn’t make mistake during the show so I was quite relieved. I really feel my hard work is paying off in term of my dancing skill and really looking forward to improve myself even more!…”

Kanbodin Kechacoop

Faculty of Engineering (IMAC-U)



Tanach Rojrungsasithorn

A Night of Broken Walls and Rising Stars

September 9th 2016, was the date set for the 3rd edition of the ‘Falling Walls Sendai’. The event is built around the concept of innovation through young minds and eradicating, if possible, any existing preconceptions in the academia and the world.

From environmental programs to new technologies, 12 young entrepreneurs from 7 different countries were welcomed by the president of Tohoku University, Dr. Susumu Satomi and Mr. Shigenori Oyama, President of the NEC TOKIN Corporation who, would later serve as the master of ceremonies.

Filled with enthusiasm, hope and a noticeable amount of stress, the participants made their voices echo throughout the Tokyo Electron House of creativity in Katahira. Once concluded, every presentation was followed by a Q&A section that could last up to 6 minutes and was intended to scrutinise each and every aspect of the idea presented and some questions were even answered with silence. However, the toughest work of the night, judging the projects and research proposals, was reserved to distinguished jury consisting of professors, consultants, and executives from all over the world.

After the presentations were completed, the tortuous waiting for the results began. What seemed to be an endless wait for the speakers, which was about 50 min, every member of the jury gave a small motivational speech and encouraged every participant to work hard for bringing down the walls that need to be broken in the current world.  The winners, Dr. Natt Leelawat, Post-Doctoral student at the International research Institute of Disaster Science of Tohoku University had presented the idea of a new mobile phone app to coordinate evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami. For the second place,  Mr. Delta Putra, undergraduate student at the School of Agriculture of Tohoku University came up with a bioluminescent solution to the public lighting challenge of the current big cities and for the third place it was Ms. Maryamsadat Hosseini, graduate student at the School of Engineering of Tohoku University with a novel, patented technology for electronic devices. These 3 rising stars shall be travelling to Berlin this November 8th to represent their countries, their laboratories and Tohoku University at the world competition of the Falling Walls.

For further information about future editions and the application process, please refer to the official webpage (

Manuel Campos