NATURE  kApril 3,@1873l

AN ENGINEERING COLLEGE IN JAPAN

 

The Japanese Government, as represented by the ambassadors who visited this country last summer and autumn, have resolved upon taking example by our western civilization, and establishing a college in the city of Yeddo for affording instruction in civil and mechanical engineering to the youth of Japan, as a strong desire has arisen in that country to make an effort to develop the great natural resources which it is known to possess. Our advice and practical assistance in the establishment of the college have been called into requisition, owing to the ambassadors having observed during their sojourn amongst us, how intimately our eminent industrial status as a nation is dependent upon the attention which we devote to the cultivation of those sciences which are involved in the mining, metallurgical, engineering, and many manufacturing industries, and in bringing the forces of nature under the influence of man.

The general scheme of the instruction has been devised by one of our eminent engineers, a gentleman whose experience of Continental and British systems of instruction is very extensive and varied, and judging from the appointment already made, it is evident that the professorial equipment of the college will devolve upon this country.  The principal of the college, who is also to be the professor of engineering and mechanics, is Mr. Henry Dyer, M. A. B. Sc., who studied at the University of Glasgow, under the late Prof. J. M. Rankine, Sir William Thomson, and their colleagues.  Mr. Dyer was a Whitworth Scholar, and his career hitherto has been one of great and well deserved success. He is well qualified to act as principal of the Yeddo Engineering College.

Prof. Dyer is to be assisted in his duties in the Japanese College of Engineers by professors of mathematics, natural philosophy, chemistry, geology, and mineralogy, and by teachers of English, &c.  At least two important appointments have been made, namely, to the professorship of mathematics and to the professorship of natural philosophy.  The former has been conferred on Mr. D. H. Marshall, at present assistant to Prof. P. G. Tait in Edinburgh University ; and the latter is to be filled by Mr. W. E. Ayrton, formerly of University College, London, and the University of Glasgow.  The last-named gentleman has already been employed in the East Indian telegraphic service, and he is at present assistant-engineer in connection with the manufacture of the Great Western Telegraph Cable under Sir William Thomson and Prof. Fleeming Jenkin.

In connection with this Engineering College there are several other points of importance that may be stated.  It is intended to institute a geological survey of Japan, and not improbably the active superintendence of that work will devolve upon the gentleman who may ultimately be appointed to the professorship of geology and mineralogy.  As an important adjunct to the College, there will be erected a technical workshop, fitted with steam-engine, machine tools, and all the necessary appliances for familiarizing the young Japanese engineers with the principles of construction, &c.  There will afso be a technological museum for the illustration of the progressive stages of various industrial processes from the raw materials to the finished products.

 


NATURE  kMay 17, 1877l

ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN JAPAN

 

The technical education of engineers is a subject which has engaged public attention for a long time past and is one of great national importance.  It is somewhat singular that this country , foremost as it has always been in matters of engineering enterprise, should be so behindhand in the systematic education of its engineers, there being no establishment in England devoted to that object which is recognised by the profession.  Under the system that has been in vogue up to a comparatively recent period a youth intended for an engineer is taken from school at the age of sixteen being thereby deprived of the most valuable years of his education, and placed in some engineering manufactory, where he remains, perhaps, till he is twenty.  In those four years his so called gtraininghconsists in going through the manual routine of the various workshops and gpicking uphwhat knowledge he can by keeping his eyes open and living on good terms with the workmen.  His last year is usually spent in the drawing-office, where, by a similar process of gpicking up,hhe learns how to draw if not to design machinery or works of construction.  At the end of that time his education is supposed to be complete, and he either remains as a draughtsman until something better is offered him, or he enters the office of another engineer for the purpose of improvement.  All this time the far more important theoretical training is neglected altogether, no classes or examinations are held, no lectures or other instructions are given, and though some few energetic young men in some way make up this loss by private study they are a great exception, and the hours of manual work are usually so heavy (from 6 A.M. till 5 P.M.) as to render working in the evening both fatiguing and unprofitable.

The Continental system goes to the other extreme, teaching the theory and discarding the practice.  This system is as bad as the other, for experience has shown that in engineering works a practical man without scientific training seldom makes such serious blunders as a scientific man without practical experience.  It can only be by a judicious combination of the two systems, allowing science and practical experience to work hand in hand together in the education of an engineer that the best results can be looked for, and in these days of close competition, not only between man and man, but between country and country, It is of the utmost importance to a nation that its engineers should be instructed upon the best and soundest principles.  The Indian Government recognised this when it established the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooperfs Hill for the systematic training of engineers for the Public Works Department of India ; and it is remarkable that the profession of engineering should stand alone in England as having no recognised Alma Mater of its own. Many years ago an engineering college was established at Putney upon a good system, but it was badly managed, and after becoming a nuisance to the neigh-bourhood, was ultimately shut up ; at the present time, with the exception of the technical classes at the Crystal Palace and at Kingfs College, which, in a small way, are doing good work, there is no institution in this country devoted to the education of engineers.

While England is so far behindhand in this important question, a great work has been done by the Japanese Government in the establishment of an Imperial College of Engineering at Tokei, an institution which gives to its students a highly scientific training, combined with actual practical experience in engineering workshops which give employment at the present time to over three hundred workmen, but which are being largely increased and are turning out all classes of engineering work.

The system adopted is as follows :   The course of training extends over six years.  The first two years are spent entirely at college ; during the next two years, six months of each year are spent at college and six months in the practice of that particular branch which the student may select ; the last two years are spent entirely in practical work.  The system of instruction in the college is partly professorial and partly tutorial, consisting in the delivery of lectures and in assistance being given to the students in their work.

Candidates for admission must be Japanese subjects under the age of twenty, and must pass a preliminary examination, the best fifty being chosen as cadets, of which there are two classes.  A student may elect to enter either as a Government cadet  in which case all his expenses are defrayed by Government, under whom he binds himself to serve for seven years at the expiration of his six yearsf training   or he may enter as a private cadet, paying his own expenses, in which case the obligation to serve subsequently under Government is dispensed with.  In all other respects he is on the same footing as the Government cadet.

The whole system of training may be divided into three courses :   (1) General and Scientific, (2) Technical, and (3) Practical.  The general and scientific course, which is taught during the first two years, includes (1) English language and composition, (2) geography, (3) elementary mathematics, (4) elementary mechanics, (5) elementary physics, (6) chemistry, and (7) mechanical drawing.

The Technical course consists of the following branches of engineering :   (1) Civil engineering, (2) mechanical engineering, (3) telegraphy, (4) architecture, (5) chemistry and metallurgy, and (6) mining.  This course is taught during the third and fourth years of the curriculum.  The practical course, in which the students are engaged during the last two years in the practice of the special branch each may have selected, consists of working in the laboratories of the college, and in the engineering works connected with it established at Akabane, where they serve a regular engineering apprenticeship.  While this course is going on lectures on special subjects are given, and the students are required to prepare reports upon the work in which they have been engaged.

 In the Technical course are included the higher mathematics and natural philosophy, engineering, civil and mechanical, geology, mineralogy, surveying, naval architecture, strength of materials, practice in the chemical, physical, metallurgical, and engineering laboratories, and in the drawing office and workshops.  The main building, which is a very handsome structure, consists of a central portion containing the large examination hall and library, drawing offices and class rooms, and on each side of this extends a wing containing other class rooms and lecture halls.  This is the College proper, and surrounding it are separate buildings set apart for the dormitories, Professorsf houses, museum and laboratories of which there are four devoted respectively to chemistry, physics, metallurgy, and engineering.  The buildings have been very admirably arranged by the Principal of the College, Mr. Henry Dyer, C. E., and the architectural details have been carried out with great skill by Mr. C. A. de Boinville.

The staff of the College consists of a Principal and nine English Professors, assisted by Japanese teachers, and the Institution is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Public Works.

A calendar of the College is published annually, which contains information relative to the admission of students, courses of study, and examination papers, as well as catalogues of the splendid collection of instruments in the laboratories, and of the books in the library, which seems to be exceptionally rich in almost every branch of general and scientific literature.

C. W. C.

 


NATURE  kDecember 15, 1904l

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions expressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE. No notice is taken of anonymous communications.l

 

Education and National Efficiency in Japan

The notice of my book gDai Nippon, the Britain of the East,hwhich appeared in NATURE of December I, directed attention to a nation from which much may be learnt at the present time, and it may interest your readers if I supplement your article by a few notes from my personal experience and observation.  In the memorandum issued by Sir Norman Lockyer suggesting the formation of a British Science Guild, it is stated that the people of this country do not manifest that interest in and belief in the power of science which are noticeable among the peoples of the Continent or of America, and that, in spite of the efforts of many years, the scientific spirit essential to all true progress is still too rare, and, indeed, is often sadly lacking in some of those who are responsible for the proper conduct of many of the nationfs activities.  The British Science Guild has been proposed with the view of attempting to remedy this evil, and to bring home to all classes the necessity of applying scientific treatment to affairs of all kinds.

The objects of such a guild have been attained, to a very remarkable degree, in Japan, not so much by the formation of a special organization for the purpose, as by the awakening of the national consciousness to the necessity of keeping in mind certain definite aims, and by the earnest cooperation of the various departments of Government, of scientific associations, and of private organizations of many different kinds.  There is, indeed, a danger at the present time in this country of too much importance being attached to mere organization and machinery, and too little to the spirit which pervades them.  Mr. Matthew Arnold, in one of his last official reports on elementary schools, pointed out that gour existing popular school was far too little formative and humanizing, and that much of it to which administrators point as valuable results is in truth mere machinery.h This applies with far greater force to a great deal which has been done in recent years in the way of scientific and technical education.  Instruction and knowledge are too often confounded with education, and mere machinery and organization prevent the development of the scientific spirit.  Many of the men who are supposed to have had a complete technical education are very poor specimens of humanity, wanting in individuality and character, devoid of all originality, and with a very narrow view of the world.  Some of them may manage to pile up fortunes for themselves, but they will do little to make-their country great.  Even from a practical point of view, success in any trade or profession does not depend so much on the amount of information which may have been crammed into the learnersf heads as is often supposed.  It depends incomparably more upon their capacity for useful action than upon their acquirements in knowledge.  All experience proves that the spiritual is the parent and first cause of the practical, and especially the economic history of the Middle Ages shows us that an ounce of manly pride and enthusiasm is worth more than a pound of technical skill.

The recent history of Japan has emphasized this fact.  While attention has been paid to details, the spirit which has animated the leaders of public opinion and action has been the chief cause of the great developments which have taken place.  The complete study of this aspect of Japanese national life would take us into many interesting psychological discussions, but it is sufficient for our present purpose to note that the Japanese mind, unlike the British (which is strongly individualistic), is dominated to a very great extent by collective opinion.  At the same time, while Japanese philosophy and their former social order were essentially communistic in their nature, still (contradictory as it may seem) their genius is individualistic, and they impress their personal qualities on their work, although they are willing to sacrifice results to a rigid organization.  The outcome of it all is that the national consciousness is directed to the attainment of national objects by men whose individual powers have been trained to make effective use of western science, and the results have been simply wonderful.

These results have been most apparent in the operations of war.  It was the sound of the cannon on the Yalu River, in the war with China ten years ago, which a woke Europe and America to a knowledge of the fact that a new nation had been born in the Far East, and which at the same time started many of the political problems which have led up to the present war with Russia.  That war, whatever its ultimate results may be, has shown that the Japanese have not only been able to take full advantage of the applications of western science, but that they have been animated by the spirit of old Japan, which has made them regardless of personal sacrifices.  The Army and Navy have been organized and worked on scientific methods, and with a completeness of arrangements which has won for them the admiration of all impartial critics.  Their intense patriotism has caused them to perform deeds of daring which are unequalled in the history of war, while their skill in strategy and in the applications of the latest scientific methods to all they have done has made them almost uniformly successful in their operations.  They have demonstrated the importance of the work of the engineer.  The railways which have been built in Japan have been fully utilised to convey men and materials, and the ships to transport them oversea.  The telegraphs have been used to communicate instructions and to keep the authorities informed regarding movements and requirements.  The dockyards and shipbuilding yards have been ready to undertake repairs, and the arsenals and machine shops to turn out war material of all kinds, as well as appliances which aid operations in the field.  Light railways have been laid down on the way to battlefields, and wireless telegraphy and telephones to convey instructions to soldiers ; in short, all the latest applications of mechanical, electrical, and chemical science have been freely and intelligently employed.

The ships of the Japanese Navy are probably the best illustrations of the Japanese methods of procedure.  In naval matters they accepted all the guidance the western world could give them, but at the same time they struck out a line of their own, and the fleet which they have created is unique in the character of its units.  British designs have in many respects been improved upon, with the result that they have obtained in their latest ships many features which have won the admiration of the naval world.  The inventions and improvements which have been made by Japanese officers, engineers, and scientific men disprove the charge which is very often made, that the Japanese have no originality.  Even in the matter of pure science Japanese investigators have shown that they are able to take their places among those who have extended the borders of knowledge.  The memoirs and papers published by Japanese students and teachers, both on scientific and literary subjects, will bear very favourable comparison with those of any other country, and while no Japanese Newton, Darwin, or Kelvin has yet arisen, there are men connected with Japanese universities and colleges of whom any learned institution in the world would have no reason to be ashamed.

I must refer to my book for details of the developments which have taken place in engineering and industry.  Suffice it to say that roads and rivers have been improved, railways to the extent of between four and five thousand miles have been constructed, a large mercantile marine has been created, docks and harbours have been made, telegraphs and telephones are in use all over the country, excellent postal arrangements are in operation, and there are few departments of mechanical and chemical industry in which there are not many establishments doing very efficient work.  The result of ie all has been that commerce has been immensely extended, and the financial resources of the country developed in such a manner as to enable Japan to take her place among the powerful nations of the world.

At the root of all these developments has been the very complete system of education which has been established in the country.  Elementary schools are to be found in every district, and secondary and technical schools in populous centres, while the universities of Tokyo and Kyoto supply the highest training required for the national life ; but for details of these I must again refer to my book.  The motive underlying all the efforts is what I wish chiefly to emphasise.  Shortly after the Emperor succeeded to the throne, he issued a proclamation which contained the following sentence :   gKnowledge and learning shall be sought after throughout the whole world, in order that the status of the Empire of Japan may be raised ever higher and higher.h The recent history of Japan is the most striking illustration of the influence of a wisely directed system of education on national affairs when those who are responsible for it are infused with high national ideals.

At the same time it should be noted that some of the most thoughtful and influential men in Japan doubt whether the official system of education is likely to lead to the best results.  They feel, like Matthew Arnold, that too often the machinery and organization receive more attention than the real education, and, moreover, they dislike the idea of all educational institutions being of the same type.  Probably the most influential educationist in Japan was Yukichi Fukuzawa, and he never failed to point out the possible evils which are likely to arise from a too strictly official routine.  His own college, the Keio Gijuku, has been a great school for statesmen, lawyers, and public men, and many of the leading men in Japan have been his pupils.  Count Okuma, the distinguished statesman, has also established what is essentially a private university, and there are many other schools of different kinds, all of which supplement the Government institutions.  Even in the technical and professional establishments, however, attention is not confined to the subjects required for strictly utilitarian purposes or for examinations ; the first object is to train men who will be able to serve their country, in the fullest sense of that term.  Many discussions are now being carried on with regard to the future of education in Japan, and the general tendency of these was indicated a short time ago by a distinguished Japanese author when he said, gNo system of education which is not based on sociological conditions can be thoroughly successful, and therefore a study of ethnology, sociology, and of evolution generally is absolutely essential to a thorough understanding of the educational questions awaiting solution.h The Japanese are now face to face with many problems which confront all industrial nations, and it is to be hoped that, having organized their education generally, and in some respects given an example to western nations, they will go a step further and show that it is possible to combine industrial development with the welfare of all classes of the community.

The chief lessons which the British Science Guild has to learn from Japan is that if it is to be of any real influence in the life of the Empire, the term science must be used in its broad sense, as including all knowledge required for individual and collective life, and that all efforts must be guided by a consciousness of the real aims of national life.

Glasgow, December 6.

HENRY DYER.


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