Ho-gakko (law school) (法学校)

Ho-gakko (law school) was an educational institution governed by the Ministry of Justice in the early Meiji Period and was one of the previous bodies of the existing the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law. The graduates of this school was given the title of 'Bachelor of Art in Law' and other higher educational institutions that could give the title of 'Bachelor of Art' before the Imperial universities were founded were the law school of the Ministry of Justice, the Imperial College of Engineering of the Ministry of Engineering, Settlers' Sapporo Agricultural School, and Komaba Agricultural School of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce (Japan), in addition to Tokyo University.


Ho-gakko was originated from Meiho-ryo (Institute for Legal Studies) of Ministry of Justice which was founded in September 1871. Shinpei ETO participated in the foundation of it. In the initial stage, the school was expected to accommodate 100 students, however, the number of the students was reduced to 20 due to its financial circumstances. In July 1872, 20 students were accommodated and were provided with the education on law mainly about French law. Some of the students left the school in the middle of the course and some students were newly recruited and, therefore, the total number of the students registered was 36. Gustave Emile BOISSONADE and Georges BOUSQUET, frenchmen employed by the National Government, were in charge of the education on law. The education on French language was given in advance by Henri de Riberolles. This school became a law school under the control of Ministry of Justice in May 1875. This school used the building of the mansion of the former Matsumoto Domain of Shinano Province (the lord was Tanbanokami MATSUDAIRA).

The 20 students of the inaugural class graduated in July 1876. Later on, the title of 'Bachelor of Art in law' was given to each of 25 students that included these 20 students and five of the seven students who went to France as foreign students in the previous year (two of them died abroad). Following the graduation of the students of the inaugural class, the second generation students entered. From the second generation students, the term of study was laid down as eight years (four years for the preparatory course and four years for the main course). The capacity of the school was expanded from 20 to 100 students. The preparatory course provided the ordinary education including that of French language as the core and the main course provided law education in French. The person in charge of the law education was a French employee of the National Government, Georges APPERT. The second generation students graduated in July 1884, however the number of graduates was 37 (33 bachelors of law and four students just finished the courses) of the 104 students who had entered. When the second generation students advanced to the main course in September 1880, the third generation students entered. The 75 students, the fourth and last generation students, entered in October 1884. Up to the third generation students, all the students were financed by the National Government, however, some of the fourth generation students were privately financed.

In December 1884, the school was transferred to the Ministry of Education and changed its name to Tokyo Ho-Gakko and was consolidated into the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law in September 1885.

With the consolidation, the students studying in the school were transferred to the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law and, excluding those who left the school halfway, the students graduated the French law course of Law University of the Imperial University in and after 1888 and the graduates counted 36 as the third generation students and 36 as the fourth generation students.

In addition to the eight-year 'ordinary studying course', 'quick studying course' was also established to provide two- or three-year law education in Japanese, and the course continued to exist until the third generation students.


The graduates of the school were the first generation that had mastered the Western modern laws and, many of them supported the judicature in Japan in Meiji period as judges and prosecutors. The first generation students helped compilation of the codes such as the old civil laws led by Gustave Emile BOISSONADE and became the core of the assertor group in the controversy on the civil code. In addition, more than a half of the first generation students were engaged in founding Meiji University (Meiji Horitsu Gakko) and, in this relation, some of the graduates who entered the school in its second or later years served the university as lecturers in it. Some of the graduates were participated in founding Kansai University (Kansai Horitsu Gakko).

Main graduates

First generation students

Shiro ISOBE (the compilation chief of the old Civil Codes)


Shoichi INOUE

Misao INOUE (founder of Kansai Horitsu Gakko [Kansai Law School])

Shinpei IWANO

Hisashi OGURA (the founder of Kansai Horitsu Gakko, and its first principal)

Kuninori KABUTO

Tatsuo KISHIMOTO (the founder of Meiji Horitsu Gakko, and its first principal)

Hiroji KINOSHITA (the first principal of Kyoto Imperial University)

Tetsusaburo KINOSHITA

Binzo KUMANO (the compilation chief of the old civil laws)




Kozo MIYAGI (the founder of Meiji Horitsu Gakko)

Misao YASHIRO (the founder of Meiji Horitsu Gakko)

Second generation students

Kenjiro UME

Itaru MATSUMURO (Minister of Justice)

Satsuo AKIZUKI (President of the Yomiuri Shimbun, a newspaper company)

Shotaro TOMITANI (chief of Daishin-in [Predecessor of the Supreme Court of Japan])

Jozaburo KAWAMURA (Vice-Minister of Justice)

Renzo KOGA



Chojiro MIZUKAMI (the second principal of Kansai Horitsu Gakko)

Katsunan KUGA (left the school halfway due to the 'steward punishment incident')

Takashi HARA (the Prime Minister) (He also left the school halfway due to the 'steward punishment incident'.)

Nichinan FUKUMOTO (This student left the school halfway due to the 'steward punishment incident'.)

Third generation students

Hideo YOKOTA (chief of Daishin-in [Predecessor of the Supreme Court of Japan])

Kesaroku MIZUMACHI (Vice-Minister of Finance)

Tomosaburo KINOSHITA (president of Meiji University)

Fourth generation students

Reijiro WAKATSUKI (the Prime Minister)


Kinzaburo AKANUMA


Yorozu ODA

Kentaro ARAI

First generation students of quick course

Yuzaburo KURATOMI (Chairman of the Privy Council)

[Original Japanese]