Stories from The University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo in Hongo, Bunkyo Ward, one of Japan's national universities, was founded in 1877. Its central campus is in one of the highest parts of the neighborhood. Down the years, the university has attracted many young people with a passion for shaping the future of Japan, some of the country's brightest minds. This is the story of people involved with the University of Tokyo.

Todai, a Magical University

In Japanese, the university is known as Tokyo Daigaku, which is frequently shortened to Todai. Every year, talented young people from around the country hope to make it through the difficult entrance exam. Entrance exams are only held once annually. It is not uncommon for those who failed the exam to make more than one attempt. There is a magic about Todai that leads some people to keep on trying.

The Insect Kingdom

Todai has a rich ecosystem. Long ago, during Japan's samurai era, the higher land in Hongo was home to the Maeda House, leaders of the Kaga Clan. To show off their power and influence, the Maeda House built a stunning garden. For several centuries, the Sanshiro Pond on the Todai Campus, which dates back to the Maeda Houses' original garden, has supported one of Tokyo's richest habitats and the campus as a whole is a barometer of Tokyo's ecosystems. Through observation of the local environment, researchers can see the changes taking place.

Working beside the Campus

Todai and its surroundings offer some unique jobs. This is one of only 9 specialist taxidermy studios in Japan. The business is around one century old. The studio originally began producing human skeletal specimens following requests from the university's Faculty of Medicine. Making use of their skill in preparing skeletons, the business then transitioned into taxidermy. Now, following an introduction from a Todai Professor, the business also repairs old taxidermy specimens. Todai's influence in Bunkyo Ward helps keep these rare taxidermy skills alive.