Journal directory listing - Volume 11-20 (1966-1975) - Volume 13 (1968)

The First Stage of Modern Technological Education in Japan
Author: Hsu Nan-Hau


The Industrialization of Japan began at the end of the 1860's when the level of development of the Japanese economy was extremely low, modern technology in factories had not yet developed and traditional technology was just entering the manufacturing stage. Under these cond-itions, industry was expected to become the main feature of the Japanese economy. Japaneae government's concern for industrialization covered not only formation of social overhead capital, but also all fields of industry. This implied that the demand for technicians and the demand for the establish-ment of industrial educational institution grew within the government, rather than in private sectors of the economy.
To satisfy the urgent demand for engineers, Japenese government had to employ many foreign engineers. The profession of these foreign engineers varied from advanced technology to simple handicraft and mechanics. This was of great important because by their being engaged not only in productive activities but also in the process of formation of these activi-ties ; they brought to Japan much of the technical knowledge of the West. In such a way, the foreigners trained a number of engineers paticularly midde grade engineers and skilled workers. At the same time Japanese government began to train genuine industrial engineers. This undertaking was inevitable for reduction of financial responsibility and for national independence. The project was carried out in two different ways. One was to send students abroad and the other was to establish institution within the country for education.
Industrial education was started first in the field of technology. Japa-nese government established the "Ministry of Technology" in 1871 as a bureau for controlling the factories and new plants as well as for constr-ucting various types of overhead capital facilities. The Ministry of Tech-nology planed from the outset to establish a school for industrial educa-tion in technology. Engineers were invited from England and the school was inaugurated in 1874. Prior to establishment of this school, the Ministry of Technology had already staited various programs of technical education at various places, and the programs were incorporated into the school of technology when the school was started, Education in industrial arts was started in various schools established by the Ministry of Education. Tokyo Kaisei School had been offering special education in chemistry, civil engineering, and mining metallurgy since 1874, In 1874 the Kaisei School established a workshop for the training of middle grade engineers, but the shop was closed after two years. Seven years later, in 1881. with a similar purpose, the Tokyo Engineering School was establisaed; then known as the Tokyo University of Technology.
On the other hand, the Japanese economy around 1880 was suffering from severe inflation due to over-issue of banknotes, forcing a change in the industrial promotion policy aimed at introduction of modern tech-nology.
Technological education in Japan within the period from 1870 to the first half of the 1880's was promoted in close relationship with productive activities in order to satisfy the urgent demand for engineers generated by the transplanting of Western industrial techniques. Under these condi-tions, the forms and contents of industrial education varied greatly. This variety had the effect of testing the most effective form of education for the amorphous social state at that time.
But the coherent, practical aspects were even stronger. The early te-chnical independance of Japan was only possible by such an extremby pra-ctical policy in technical education.

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