The Tokyo Butsurigaku Koshujo (Tokyo Academy of Physics), the forerunner of the Tokyo University of Science, was founded in 1881. The Academy was the brainchild of 21 young scientists who had just graduated from the Department of Physics at the University of Tokyo (then the Imperial University). Two years later, the academy was renamed the Tokyo Butsuri Gakko (Tokyo College of Science). At the time, there was a strong popular movement for democratic rights. In this climate, while teaching and research in the fields of politics, economics and law came to the fore, there was a tendency to downplay the importance of teaching and research in science.
Nevertheless, the University's founders championed the founding principle of "Building a Better Future with Science", and advocated a movement of their own to promote science. Their passion for science was shared by the professors of the University of Tokyo at the time, and with the support of people who went on to become the president of the University of Tokyo and leaders of RIKEN, the founders pressed on with their educational activities. During the subsequent years of the Meiji Period until the founding of Kyoto Imperial University in 1897, natural sciences were taught in Japan only at the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo University of Science.
Hitoshi Terao, the first president of the Tokyo University of Science, served concurrently as the first director of the Astronomical Observatory of the Tokyo Imperial University College of Science (Faculty of Science). Kiyoo Nakamura, the second president of the Tokyo University of Science, held the concurrent position of director of the Central Meteorological Observatory. These were interesting times when a single individual could work at a national government institution while presiding over a private university. Kyohei Nakamura, the third president of the University, was a good friend of the author Soseki Natsume, and is said to have been a model for the main character in Natsume's novel I Am a Cat ("Wagahai Wa Neko De Aru"). Their friendship is also cited as a reason why the protagonist of the novel Botchan is a Tokyo College of Science graduate. Every one of these early presidents was determined to pursue science in the Meiji Period and devoted all their youthful enthusiasm to this calling. According to the rules set by the founders, nobody was permitted to be late for class, and professors lectured without pay. Cancellation of class by an instructor was punishable by a fine. It was this strict approach to self-discipline that shaped the university's culture of meritocracy from within, and that laid the foundation for the University's subsequent prosperity.
More than 130 years have passed since our founding as a pioneer in private-sector science education. Today, the Tokyo University of Science has developed into Japan's largest comprehensive science and technology university. During this period, the University has produced numerous graduates who have supported Japanese scientific and technological advancement. Furthermore, the University has adopted a new teaching principle for nurturing younger generations who will be responsible for the future, as follows: "Creating science and technology for nature, people and society and the harmonious development of all three." Our objective is to nurture science and technology professionals equipped with not only specialized knowledge, but also a well-rounded education and high ethical standards, as well as good character and international perspectives.
Efforts are also focused on laying the groundwork for pursuing internationally competitive research. In fact, many of our initiatives have been adopted by various programs of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The Tokyo University of Science will continue to press on to earn high esteem internationally in terms of both teaching and research excellence.