“The First Higher School had long been proud of its system of self-governing dormitories … In principle, all students had to live in the dormitories and share a communal life governed by regulations stipulated by the students themselves … When students broke the rules, those they feared were not the teachers or the dormitory superintendents, but the generally elected committee members who had the residents’ public opinion behind them. While the legacies of the Taisho democracy were rapidly disintegrating in Japan in the 1930s, another form of democracy was still alive and well within Ichiko’s dormitories.”
— A Sheep’s Song: A Writer’s Reminiscences of Japan and the World, Shuichi Kato, 1999.
The 1st Higher School, Tokyo, also known as Ichiko, was the prestigious preparatory school first founded in 1874 as the Tokyo School of English moving in 1886 to the Hongo district of Tokyo. Entrance to the school was very competitive and graduates were almost assured entry into Tokyo Imperial University.