Digital Japanese History

絵本水や空、耳鳥斎 画、3冊 (合1冊) ; 23cm、平安、八文字屋八左衛門、安永9 [1780]、、出典:国立国会図書館「NDLイメージバンク」 (

In this course master students of Sophia University’s Graduate School of Global Studies created projects with a connection to the university’s history.

Edited by Daniela Baeumler

Charles A. Robinson’s Rescues by Theodore Shaw

Abstract:  After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, the US and other Allied nations came to Japan to accept the surrender and commence the Occupation of Japan. After the surrender ceremony, a group of three Jesuit Navy Chaplains serving on US Navy warships in Tokyo Bay, Charles A. Robinson, Paul L. O’Connor and Samuel H. Ray, made a daring trip from the newly claimed US Navy Base at Yokosuka to Sophia University in Tokyo to determine the fate of the Jesuits living and working at the university. The visit has joined the lore of Sophia University and is a prominent event in its documented history. This project will demonstrate that Robinson actually had a much deeper role in the life of Sophia University and also a critical role in freeing the first prisoners of war from the many POW camps in Japan.

Keywords: Jesuits, Navy Chaplains, Sophia University, World War II, USS Missouri, Surrender of Japan, Great Kanto Earthquake, Charles A. Robinson, Paul L. O’Connor, Samuel H. Ray


Jesuit Education in Japan: Pre-War History of Sophia University by Daniela Baeumler

Abstract: By the beginning of 1940, German catholic missionaries in Japan have established more than 100 educational and social facilities in Japan. The sole university founded by Jesuits before World War II is Sophia University in the center of Tokyo, which is often regarded as German because of the language of instruction and many of the teaching Jesuits coming from Germany. Established in 1913 as Jōchi daigaku, and later named Sophia University, it received its official status as a university in 1928.
This research aims to determine the intention of Jesuits on influencing Japan’s higher education and how their structure falls into place. In detail, it asks: What is the structure of Sophia University from the time of establishment as a university to the beginning of World War II and what was its place in the Japanese higher education setting?
Based on Sophia University’s own publications, as well as other publications about the university, supported by literature about Jesuits principles on education and primary documents, e.g. letters written by Germans living in Japan, this project analyses the development of this educational institution in pre-World War II Japan.

Keywords: Jesuit missionaries in Japan, Sophia University, Jesuit education, private university, catholic university, internationalization