THE COLLEGE’S relationship with Doshisha University offers various opportunities for students and faculty to study, to research and to teach in Japan. Located in Japan’s ancient imperial capital of Kyoto, The Doshisha was founded by Joseph Hardy Neesima of the Class of 1870, the first Japanese to graduate from a Western institution of higher learning. Neesima stowed away aboard a clipper ship from Japan while that country was still officially “closed.” From the China Coast he eventually arrived in 1865 aboard a ship owned by Alpheus Hardy, who was a trustee of both Phillips Academy, Andover, and Amherst College.
After graduating from both Andover and Amherst, Neesima returned to Japan to found a Christian college in Kyoto. From this modest start The Doshisha has developed into a complex of educational institutions: Doshisha University, a separate Women’s College, four senior and four junior high schools, an elementary school and a kindergarten, with a total enrollment of approximately 32,000 on six different campuses. The Doshisha is one of the oldest and best known private educational institutions in Japan.
Scores of Amherst graduates have taught at The Doshisha, and since 1922, except for the war years, Amherst has maintained a resident instructor at Doshisha University. Since 1947 until his retirement in 1992, Professor Otis Cary of the Class of 1943 represented Amherst College at Doshisha, taught American history at the University, and served in a number of other capacities. Currently, Professor Masanori Morita is acting as our Amherst representative. Professor Samuel Morse is our Doshisha representative at Amherst College.
Through the generosity of alumni and friends of the College, Amherst House was built on the Doshisha University campus in 1932 as a memorial to Neesima and to Stewart Burton Nichols of the Class of 1922, the first student representative. In 1962, the College, thanks to further generosity of friends and alumni, built a guest house of modern Japanese design, including quarters for the Representative, three guest suites, and dining facilities. In 1979 a traditional rustic teahouse, Muhinshuan, was donated by the family of a Japanese alumnus and rebuilt in a corner of the Amherst House grounds, lending cultural atmosphere appropriate to Kyoto.
In 1971 the College took the lead in organizing the Associated Kyoto Program (AKP), a junior-year program at Doshisha University for Amherst students and others who wish to pursue the study of Japanese language, culture and history. This program offers the main avenue today for both student and faculty contact with Doshisha University. With offices on Doshisha’s main campus since 1971, the AKP, sponsored by Amherst College and 15 American liberal arts colleges, hosts American undergraduates for a year of study in Kyoto and awards fellowships to American and Japanese faculty to participate in educational exchange for periods of one or two semesters.
Amherst and Doshisha have a number of opportunities for faculty exchange. Since 1976 an arrangement with Doshisha University has permitted a member of one of the nine Doshisha Faculties (Theology, Letters, Law, Economics, Commerce, Engineering, Sociology, Policy Studies, Culture and Information Science) to spend up to a year’s leave at Amherst. Housing for that faculty member is provided by Amherst, and Doshisha also provides housing for a single Amherst faculty member on sabbatic leave. The Short-Term Faculty Exchange supports a yearly lecture series by a faculty member from each institution.
Also, since 1958, a graduating Amherst College senior has been selected annually as the Amherst-Doshisha Fellow to spend a year at Doshisha University. A student exchange begun in 2009 permits up to two Amherst students to spend the fall semester at Doshisha. Two students are also eligible to attend the Japanese language summer program at Doshisha as well.