Junten Middle School, Tokyo, c. 1915.

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Junten Gakuen was founded in 1834 by Fukuda Riken as a private mathematics preparatory school, Junten Kyugosha, with the spirit of Junten kyugou [‘searching for the truth according to the providence of nature’] in mind. Fukuda was considered to be a master of wasan [Japanese mathematics] in the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods.

Fukuda’s book, Western Calculator, published in 1856, was the first in Japan to introduce Western mathematics. In 1886, Fukuda wrote the first primary school mathematics textbook on behalf of the Ministry of Education. In the same year, he also wrote Arithmetic tamatebako, the first book in Japan to be compiled as a history of mathematics. Fukuda was also a founding member of the Tokyo Mathematical Society (currently the Mathematical Society of Japan).

Among Fukuda’s disciples was Matsumi Bumpei who, in 1876, enrolled in Junten Kyugosha. In 1881, Matsumi had founded his own private school, Meigen Gakusha, where he taught mathematics and surveying. But, in 1882, at only twenty-three years of age, Matsumi became the third principal of Junten Kyugosha after Fukuda Han, the son of Fukuda Riken, had to resign due to illness. Matsumi held this post for over fifty-eight years, and oversaw Junten’s transition from a mathematics preparatory school (Junten Kyugosha) into a bona fide junior high school (Junten Chugakko) in 1899.

From 1892 to 1934, Matsumi was also engaged in local politics, first as a member of the Kanda district board and later in Tokyo’s municipal parliament. In 1924, he was bestowed the Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Sixth Order of Merit by Emperor Taisho.

Junten Middle School, Kanda, Tokyo, c. 1915. Photo inset is of Matsumi Bumpei, the then-principal (and former student) of Junten Middle School. Juntendo kyugosha was first established by a mathematician, Fukuda Riken, in Osaka in 1834 for the “pursuit of truth by natural providence.” The school relocated to Tokyo in 1871. In 1899, Juntendo was renamed Junten Middle School [chugakko instead of kyugosha] under the new Meiji era educational nomenclature. The original Kanda campus was lost in a large fire that destroyed some 4,000 other buildings in the district in February 1913.

See also:
Daini Middle School, Sendai, c. 1910.
The Peers’ School, Tokyo, c. 1910.
Futaba-kai School, Tokyo, c. 1910.

“The first of October [1902] came and I took the entrance examinations of the fifth year at both the Junten Middle School and the Tokyo Middle School (which no longer exists).

“I don’t know how matters are arranged now, but in that period almost all the private middle schools in Tokyo held entrance examinations for every grade in each school term of the year. Thus their practice was to gather applicants two or three times at the beginning of each term, give them entrance examinations, and collect the examination fees each time. This was the third and last time of the year for both Junten and Tokyo Middle School to take applicants.

“Somehow, I thought, I had to enter the one or the other. But the two tests were to be held at almost the same time. I had sufficient confidence in my scholastic abilities, but in order not to run the slightest risk I decided to have someone take the test at the Junten Middle School for me while I took the slightly earlier one at the Tokyo Middle School. Fortunately, I had just the right person. He was a friend of the boy whose family ran my lodging house, a graduate of Waseda Middle School whom I also knew well.

“I hated mechanical drawing and there were three problems in it on the test I took at the Tokyo Middle School. Unable to understand them, I failed the test. My stand-in, however, did quite well, answered every question, and passed. So, thanks to him, I entered the fifth-year class at Junten Middle School.”

The Autobiography of Osugi Sakae, Osugi Sakae, 1992

Class room at the Junten Middle School, Kanda, Tokyo, c. 1915.

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