Yamate Gakuin Junior and Senior High School
Yamate Gakuin was founded in 1966 as a private boys’ boarding school, in what was then the outskirts of Yokohama. Girls started attending in 1969. In the early days students came from all over Japan and almost all were boarders, but this balance gradually changed over the years and boarding was discontinued in the late 1980s. These days students come from all over Yokohama, as well as from southern Tokyo and nearby cities in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Yamate Gakuin is located only 10 minutes from Konandai train station and shopping centre but has been fortunate in maintaining its semi-rural appearance. It has a large, green campus with over 7,000 trees and shrubs, and has hills, farmland and designated green areas on two sides. It takes around 25 minutes by train from Konandai to central Yokohama and about an hour to central Tokyo.
Facts and Figures
There are around 600 students in the junior high and another 1,400 in the senior high. The average class size is around 38. Classes run from 8.50 to 3.35, Monday to Friday. The Japanese school year is from the beginning of April until mid March, with summer holidays in late July-August, winter holidays in late December-early January, and spring holidays at the end of the school year in March. Extra-curricula activities, such as sporting and cultural activities, are held after school, on weekends and in holidays and many students come to school on days other than regular class days.
International Exchange Programmes
North American Homestay Programme
Every April the entire Grade 11 class travels to North America for two week homestays. Students are split up into a number of groups, which travel simultaneously to host cities in the United States and Canada. Students are put into pairs and stay with host families for two weeks and on weekdays, they spend time at school or sometimes go on excursions or do other outdoor activities. In late July students and chaperones from the school districts visited that April, come to Japan for a reciprocal two week homestay. They are hosted by Yamate students and their families.
The programme started with a visit to Dayton, Washington in the United States in 1969, and has continued for 50 years. Edmonton in Alberta province, Canada joined the programme in 1987. Our current exchange partners are Dayton, Walla Walla, Yakima and Pasco in Washington State, Chatlotte in North Carolina State, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Medicine Hat in Alberta province, Saskatoon in Saskatchewan province, and also Victoria in British Columbia province.
In 2016, our school formed new student exchange partnerships with Ottawa and Kitchener (Waterloo) s in Ontario, along with Nova Scotia school districts, Elkhart and Fort Wayne in Indiana State which are joining the two-week exchange in April, 2017.
Grade 9 Australia Homestay Programme
Japanese schools have a trip for students in Grade Nine. Since 2002 Yamate has taken its Grade Nine classes to Australia for a five day homestay in November, to one of either Melbourne, Sydney or the Gold Coast.
United Nations Student Conference
Since receiving its first invitation in 1993, Yamate has sent students every year to the United Nations International School Student Conference, held in the General Assembly Hall of the U.N. and attended by distinguished speakers from various fields. Yamate is one of only four Japanese schools invited to attend.
The City of Yokohama
Yokohama was one of the first ports opened to overseas trade when Japan’s isolation from the rest of the world was ended in the 1860s, and was the site of one the earliest foreign settlements. Today it has large Chinese and Korean communities and its Chinatown is the biggest in Japan.
Situated next to the capital, Tokyo, Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city, with a population of around 3,700,000. Like most big cities in Japan, it is well served by its public transport system of trains and buses, and the majority of journeys are made by public transport rather than private car.
A Message from the Principal
Greetings, everyone. Allow me to introduce myself. I proudly accepted the position of Principal of Yamate Gakuin Junior & Senior High School from the 2014 academic year. My name is Ichiro Osawa. The commencement of my 2014 journey coincides with that of 608 junior high and 1425 senior high students – 2,033 in total.
The year 2016 marks the school’s fiftieth anniversary. With the cooperation of the staff and students, I hope to be part of Yamate Gakuin’s future history.
Yamate Gakuin was founded in 1966 by Mikio Matsunobu and his sister, Setsuko Emori. Having experienced the horror of World War 2 first hand, the siblings built the school with a view to appropriate education for the following generation. They vowed to raise young men and women who inspired global trust and confidence as they achieved their goals in life. They strove to instill in their students a broad world view, a high level of knowledge and skill, boundless creativity, flexibility and both physical and emotional strength. The founders also expected courage and pride of their students, and encouraged them to learn from through contact with those of other races and creeds.
Yamate Gakuin is known as a liberal school. This does not mean that “anything goes”. I want students to know that freedom entails responsibilities: each student must respect others’ freedom.
Becoming the sort of person you want to be is not a simple task. It involves showing consideration for others. It is not always easy to do as you should. However, over the last 45 years, our two-week cultural exchange program has been the catalyst for the global adventures of many alumni.
“Move the world – even by just an inch!” Mikio Matsunobu.
“Never, never, never give up!” Setsuko Emori
One of the founders’ ideals which remains an important goal for the school is for our students to be happy and successful 20 years after graduation.
The school emblem is based on the flying lion excavated from Hamadan, Iran. The beautiful, strong lion seems to depict youth soaring towards the future. I implore each student wearing the flying lion emblem on his or her blazer to do so with pride and to embrace student life at Yamate Gakuin.
Lastly, I ask each student, even if using public transport is new to you, to be considerate of our school’s neighbours. Think of Konandai as your second home. Do not forget that the world community requires consideration and sincerity of its citizens. Do not forget your pride, courage or manners.
April 7, 2014