Kumamoto University
The Memorial Museum of the Fifth High School

Prominent Professors

Jigoro Kano (1860–1938)

The third principal of The Fifth High School was Jigoro Kano, the founder of Japanese Judo as well as the second principal of The First High School. He invited Lafcadio Hearn to teach at Kumamoto. Hearn learned the meaning of martial arts from Principal Kano and this led him to write the introduction to a book on Japanese Judo. He also wrote his famous book of "Ghost stories"(Kwaidan) which introduce some of Japan's mysterious traditions and folk tales. Furthermore, the fact that the famous novelist Soseki Natsume taught here remains a source of great pride.

Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904)

Though he was of Irish extraction, he was born in a Greek island Lefkada, of which his name was derived. Later he lived in the US and worked as a journalist, then came to Japan in 1891 as a newspaper correspondent. In 1892, he took up his new post at The Fifth High School as an English teacher. "Kwaidan" (Ghost Stories), one of his famous novels, introduces Japan's mysterious tradition in English, and is widely known to the western world.

"The future of greatness of Japan will depend on thepreservation of that Kyushu or Kumamoto spirit, the love of what is plain and good and simple, and the hatred of useless luxury and extravagance in life."
(from "The Future of the Far East", January 27, 1894)

Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)

He is one of the most popular and respected novelist even today. After he graduated from the Tokyo Imperial University, he started to teach English in Matsuyama Mid High School, then came to Kumamoto to take up his new post as an English lecturer at The Fifth High School in 1897. He was residing in Kumamoto during the time he went on the trip to a neighboring hot spring that appears in his famous novel "Kusamakura" (short story of a trip).

"Education is the foundation upon which our nation is built, and the root of this foundation is the bond between teachers and students."
(October 10, 1897)

This is the word of 30-year old Natsume Soseki, spoken in celebration of the 10th anniversary of The Fifth High School.


  • History of High School System Before 1949
  • Timeline
  • Prominent Professors
  • Prominent Alumni
  • The Fifth High School Structures