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About the School

Kojimachi Middle School is a public school located in Chiyoda Ward, a district in central Tokyo. This school is truly in the heart of the city. Its neighbors include the Imperial Palace, high-rising hotels, the National Diet building (where Japan's parliament meets), the National Diet Library, and the headquarters of political parties. Almost all of the students commute to school by train or bus.

Kojimachi Middle School has about 310 students in all. At one time, it had over 1,000 students, and there were nine classes in each of its three grades. But the number of people living in this commercial district has dwindled, and Japan's total population of children has dropped. Together, these trends have led to a decrease in the number of students at Kojimachi Middle School. Another characteristic of the school is that, like other schools in Chiyoda, it has far more male students than female students.

Kojimachi Middle School was established in 1947 on a site formerly occupied by the home of Zenjiro Yasuda, founder of the Yasuda corporate group. Yasuda was said to have sold his land to the school on the condition that the buyers take care of the sago palm trees in the garden. The palms remain standing today, at the school gates. The school buildings were built in the 1940s and 1950s, and some of them are overgrown with ivy, which gives one a sense of the school's 52-year history.

Every school in Japan has its own school song and badge. Kojimachi's badge is shaped like a chrysanthemum. The school uniform is all black. Boys wear pants and jackets with stand-up collars, and girls wear blazers and skirts.

Photos: (right) The badge on Kojimachi Middle School uniforms is shaped like a chrysanthemum. A chrysanthemum decorates the school's building as well.
(left) Because the school is in the heart of the city, the schoolyard isn't very big--just enough room for a 150-meter track, which the students use for everything from club practice to the schoolwide field day

Ginkgo trees on the school grounds. In the fall, the students rake the leaves. Spending time with friends after school. The boys wear black uniforms with stand-up collars. The ivy covering the school buildings gives you a real sense of history.