The University of Tokyo

Back cover

The site of the Komaba Communication Plaza, which is featured on this edition's front cover, was once the location of the former First Higher School (referred to as Ichiko)'s student residence halls. A unique feature of these residence halls that was kept intact from their time in the Hongo area was that all new students were required to live in them (amounting to what would be considered a boarding school system). All students became residents of the Halls and operated the Halls themselves, holding meetings with representatives to make and revise the Hall rules (General Representative Meetings) and creating a group that handled the Halls' administration (the Residence Hall Committee). The judgments these students made were taken seriously by the school. For instance, if the student-formed Disciplinary Committee reached a decision to expel a student from a Hall, that student would at the same time be expelled from the school itself. There were a total of four Halls: Nanryo (South Hall), Churyo (Central Hall), Hokuryo (North Hall) and Meiryo (Light Hall). The South, Central and North Halls were three stories high and had a study room and ten bedrooms on each floor. The Light Hall also had three floors and featured a study room on each one, but with only five bedrooms per floor. From the corridors connecting the Halls, underground passageways were constructed that led to the Main Building (currently Building 1), the Library (currently the Komaba Museum) and the Tokkokan (special building for international student courses; currently Building 101). The arch remaining in the Communication Plaza's courtyard (see picture) was a portion of the outer wall of the small building housing one of the entrances to the underground passageway. The boarding school system was discontinued in 1949 as plans for establishing the University of Tokyo's College of Arts and Sciences were put into motion. However, the spirit of self-governed student housing lived on through the University of Tokyo Komaba Dormitory, which occupied the same space as the residence halls until its closure in 2001.