Teaching Method Crosses Pacific from Oswego to Japan

Hideo Takamine 1877 brought the Oswego Method to Japan.

Hideo Takamine 1877 brought the Oswego Method to Japan

The son of an Aizu Samurai, Takamine, pictured at right, was part of a small delegation of Japanese students sent to America in the 1870s to study teaching methods.

He boarded with the family of Professor Hermann Krusi and is reputed to have spent a night at Shady Shore as a guest of the founder Edward Austin Sheldon.

Takamine studied zoology at Oswego and Cornell University, and at Oswego he absorbed the Oswego objective method of teaching and the Pestalozzian principles fostered by Sheldon.

After graduation, he returned home to Japan, bringing with him these revolutionary methods.

In a letter to “father” Krusi dated June 16, 1878, Takamine writes that he shared Krusi’s book on Pestalozzi with his principal at Tokyo Normal School, but the principal believed the “old curriculum — reading, writing, spelling, and number — is sufficient.

“This is quite different from my views,” writes Takamine. “I think the future of education is the cultivation of the mind, and for this purpose, the above curriculum is quite inadequate.”

Takamine taught at Tokyo Higher Normal School, rising to the principalship of that school in 1879. He was also principal of theTokyo Art School, Tokyo Music School and Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School.

The Tokyo Normal School eventually became Tokyo University of Education, the forerunner of today’s Tsukuba University. SUNY Oswego has a long-standing relationship with Tsukuba, and has participated in student exchanges with the Japanese university.

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