The First 19 Female Students at Todai

  • (Picture 1)

On February 1, 1946, under the Women's Education Reform Guideline, the gates to Todai had been thrown open to women and a large number had taken the challenge, with 108 women sitting the entrance exam for the first time. Those 108 women broke down into 25 from Tokyo Woman's Christian University, 12 from Tsuda College (Professional School), 12 from the Imperial Women's College of Science, 11 from the Tokyo Women's Normal School and some Japan Women's University. Most of them taking the entrance exam were having an academic background of graduating from a college, while some were having already entered the workplace or being married with children.

In the event, 19 students passed the exam. They started out as a minority of 2.1% out of 898 new students. The entrance ceremony was held on May 1. On that day, the Imperial University Newspaper reported the following about the female students, "…a mass of students poured into the lecture hall--the most varied group since the establishment of imperial universities--transfer students from other imperial universities on hard times, as well as military school and vocational school graduates, including the first female students ever to enter an imperial university. …the new female students flocked together in one place, creating an atmosphere of anxiety and a joy repressed by the wonder and seriousness occasioned by their dream of entering an imperial university suddenly becoming reality before their very eyes, a type of adoration at entering such a rarified world…."

Among these there is one woman, Haruko Fujita, who was already famous as a pianist and after graduating from Todai worked in the National Diet Library. (See picture 1)
Subsequently, 17 female students graduated (9 in literature, 3 in law, 3 in economics, 1 in science and 1 in agriculture) in 1949.