Tetsugakukan incident (哲学館事件)

Tetsugakugan incident occurred at Toyo University (current Toyo University) in 1902.

During the first period of Meiji era, national university students were certified to be teachers at the time of graduation without taking an examination, but not private university students. However Enryo INOUE of Tetsugakukan (a private university), who aimed to train educators for popularization of philosophy requested continuously from 1890 the Ministry of Education to admit private university students to become a teacher without certification. INOUE could not receive a good response from the Ministry of Education, then he formed a combination of private universities with Keio University, Kokugakuin University, and Waseda University, then finally in 1899 graduates of private university were allowed to have secondary school teacher's license without an examination.

In 1902, students graduated from those four schools and they were supposed to become first teachers without taking examination after graduation of private universities. However, Aritaka KUMAMOTO who examined the graduation exam of Tetsugakukan, pointed out a problem regarding the contents which Tokuzo NAKAJIMA prepared.
The content was from one passage of the book written by Muirhead, and the question was 'If the motive is good, would it be excusable to kill superiors such as parents?'
As one student answered 'Yes it would be excusable', the views on the education policy of Tetsugakukan was summarized as follows: 'if it is excusable to kill superiors, it would be excusable to kill an Emperor and this thought would endanger the fundamental character of the nation'. As a result, Ministry of Education cancelled to give teaching license to graduates of Tetsugakukan without an examination.

This incident provoked controversy on the freedom of education and learning at private schools. On the newspaper at that time there were opinions that the measure would hamper freedom of private schools, but on the other hand, some people supported the measure because they thought there might have been a problem in the way to teach the thought. The topic was discussed at the Imperial Diet as well. Muirhead opposed to the opinion of Ministry of Education from Britain, the incident was about to be an international incident between England and Japan.

Afterwards, Tetsugakukan became Toyo University, and became university under Acts of Universities in 1928, but the approbation was delayed compared to other universities (Waseda and Kokugakuin University were authorized in 1920), there was an opinion on a newspaper that the Tetsugakukan incident affected the delay. According to a disclosed official document, the requirements to be authorized as Toyo University were ready in 1920 but the approbation was delayed due to the incident, so this record proved that Toyo University didn't lag behind others.

Tetsugakukan incident is an important topic in educational history in Japan, it is used as a theme of novels and editorials, for example'Novel Tokyo Imperial University' (published in 1969, by Shinchosha Publishing Co., Ltd.;) written by Seicho Matsumoto.