“The Government Higher Technical Schools [were] established for the purpose of imparting advanced technical education. In the Tokyo Higher Technical School, the curriculum is divided into 8 courses, of dyeing, spinning and weaving, ceramics, applied chemistry, electro-chemistry, mechanical engineering, electricity, and architecture.
“… If graduates wish to study deeper some subjects in the courses which they have completed or other subjects connected therewith, the authorities may allow them to continue for a further period of two years. If there be pupils who wish to take up one or more subjects of study in the courses, they may be admitted after, or without, an examination as elective pupils, provided they have attainments which come up to the standard set by the school authorities.
“In the Tokyo Higher Technical School, persons whose names are not on the school register may be permitted, at the beginning of the term, as auditors, to attend the lectures on any of the special subjects, provided they have appropriate knowledge.
“According to the regulation for special pupils, foreigners, with the exception of those who study as elective pupils, are admitted as special pupils, when they wish to take all the subjects in the curriculum, provided they are equipped with a proper letter of introduction from the Foreign Office, Japanese diplomatic offices abroad or foreign diplomatic offices in Japan and pass an examination as to their attainments, and also a physical examination.
“Special pupils are divided into two kinds; special preparatory pupils, and special regular pupils. When the former complete the special preparatory course of one year, they pass into the special regular course, and are taught by themselves, similar lessons to those in the main course of the school.”
– Report of the Minister of State for Education. 1921-1922, Department of Education, 1926
“Tokyo Tech originated as the Tokyo Vocational School in 1881, survived the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the ensuing campus move from Kuramae to Ookayama in 1924, saw the change of status to a degree conferring university in 1929, and continues from the present day into the future.
“In the early Meiji period, soon after the opening of the country, it became imperative that Japan cultivate human resources to develop modern industrial technology. The government was actively promoting the technical education of its citizens at this time in order to develop the advanced science and technology that was already common in Europe and the United States. Against this background, Japan’s first national technical school, the Kogakuryo Technical School, was founded by the Ministry of Engineering in 1873.
“Around the same time, the Ministry of Education founded the Seisakugaku Kyojo in 1874 at the suggestion of Gottfried Wagener, a German-born scientist. Wagener had been vocal about the necessity of practical technical education in Japan in order to cultivate senior engineers and engineers. Although the Seisakugaku Kyojo closed three years later, it was a revolutionary school in that students were taught practical skills along with scientific theories to produce engineers necessary for modernizing Japanese industry.
“Seiichi Tejima, who was then assistant director general of the Museum of Education, together with Wagener pushed for modern technical and industrial education with emphasis on practical applications. With the support of Ryuichi Kuki and Arata Hamao of the Ministry of Education, they succeeded in persuading the Ministry to establish the Tokyo Vocational School in May 1881.
“Preparations for opening the school began. A curriculum was established in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Tokyo Vocational School enacted in 1881. These rules stated that the school should provide the necessary technical and industrial science education to become a vocational school teacher or senior engineer. Kuramae in Taito City near the Sumida River was chosen as the site for the campus. Kuramae means the storehouse front and the name comes from the rice storehouses of the Tokugawa Shogunate located there.
“… The Tokyo Vocational School was renamed Tokyo Technical School in 1890 and then Tokyo Higher Technical School in 1901. Numerous leaders in academia and industry passed through the doors during the 25-year period in which Tejima led the school.
“An adage arose during the years of the Tokyo Technical School. ‘Wherever there’s a chimney, there you will find someone from Kuramae,’ meaning that wherever there was a large-scale industrial complex, a graduate of the school had been involved in its establishment. Kuramae remained the center of technical education until the school was burned to the ground on September 1, 1923 when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck.
“Tokyo Higher Technical School moved to Ookayama and was rebuilt in 1924. The school became a degree-conferring university in 1929. It was initially called Tokyo University of Engineering, and later renamed Tokyo Institute of Technology around 1946.”
– Tokyo Institute of Technology website