Shimon Daigako Yashio, Ashikaga Gakuen Ashikaga Gakuen is Japan’s oldest academic institution. It is located in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, about 70 km north of Tokyo. The time of construction is debatable, but it was founded in the 9th century and was restored by Deputy General Nobumasa Uesugi in 1432. He imported many classic Chinese books, many of which are still kept in school.
In Japan, even prior to the introduction of a modern educational system, lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, and etiquette were taught to the supper-class Bushi (Samurai class) as well as to commoners. This high standard of education owes much to the widespread introduction of clan schools, regional schools, and private schools where people could study regardless of rank or class. These institutions played an important role in the nation’s Meiji- era shift from a feudal society to a modern one. The system of scholarship and decorum is an important cultural asset and is widely recognized as instrumental to the success of Japan’s modernization.