Closing of Takamori Branch of Shimoina Agricultural High School

In my previous article, I wrote about the monument erected by the Shimoichida district in Takamori Town to commemorate for the recovery from the “Saburoku Disaster".
Since I included it in the category of disaster prevention, I focused only on the disaster memorial, but there are several other stone monuments in the vicinity of Hagiyama Shrine.
One of them is this monument.

It reads, “We have learned here while we worked". (It seems that this monument is supposed to read the middle line of the inscription first.)

Last October, I wrote an article about the former Shimoichida School building.
Shimoichida School, built in 1888, was used as a youth school building from 1935.

After the World War II, the youth school was abolished (regular course in March 1947, main course at the end of March 1948) due to the change of school system, and the school was shifted to junior high and high schools.
In Shimoina County, “Preparatory Councils for the Implementation of the New School System" were established in the county and each municipality to study the issue.

On the other hand, the students of the youth schools formed the “Shimoina County Youth School Students League" in February 1947. They continued to make requests to the administration for equal opportunities in youth education and democratic education for the construction of their hometown.

In Ichida Village, senior students of the Ichida Village youth school student council created a petition and went around the village to collect signatures. This movement also moved the village committee, and in May 1948, the Shimoina Agricultural High School Ichida Branch was opened.

In the previous article, I wrote that at one time there were 17 branch schools of Shimoina Agricultural School. This was the result of a movement to secure educational opportunities for young people in each town and village.

A brief history of the branch school is written on the back of the monument.

Brief History of Takamori Branch of Shimoina Agricultural High School
May 1948: Established as Ichida Village Branch of Nagano Prefectural Shimoina Agricultural High School
April, 1956 It integrated Ikuta Village Branch School
April 1958 Renamed as Takamori Branch School
November, 1959 New school building was completed.
November, 1968: The 20th anniversary ceremony was held.
March, 1970: It was integrated into the central school and closed.

During this period, the school established a unique school culture as a part-time school to meet the expectations of the local community, and its 700-plus graduates are active in the development of the local community.
In closing the history of the school, the alumni together erected this monument as a bond of friendship.
March 20, 1980
Takamori Branch School Integration and Closing Commemorative Project Executive Committee

In 1957, Ichida and Yamabuki villages merged to form Takamori Town, so the school was renamed Takamori Branch School in 1958.
By this time, classes were held for half a day in the morning or afternoon, and the rest of the day was spent working. (There were no night classes.)
The new school buildings were completed the following year.

This aerial photo from 1976 shows the main building that remains today and extension buildings that already were demolished.

In the early 1970s, however, the number of students entering full-time high schools increased, and the number of the students in the part-time high schools declined. Many of the part-time high schools were closed.

In 1974, during the election of the mayor of Takamori Town.
The abolition of branch schools became a hot topic. Although it was a prefectural high school, the municipalities were responsible for the operating costs, and this became an issue because it was one of the factors that put financial pressure on the town.

In January 1975, the mayor of the town held a meeting with the school and parents to discuss the abolition of the school. Amazingly, the school was not informed of this meeting until the day before. This is absurd.
The school wished to continue its existence, but in November 1977, the town submitted a request to the prefecture to merge the branch school into the central school. The following year, the prefecture decided to stop accepting students in 1979.
The school opposed the move, but it was decided to close the school at the end of the 1979 school year. The school was closed in March 1980.

This monument was erected at the time of the school’s closing.
On March 20, a closing ceremony was held at the Takamori Town Welfare Center, and the monument was unveiled on the school grounds.

The mayor had intended to demolish the school buildings and build a new nursery, but a preservation movement arose. Then the main building was preserved. Currently, the nursery and the old school building stand side by side.

[Reference] (all are written by Japanese)
“The History of the Closing of Nagano Prefectural Shimoina Agricultural High School" (Editing Committee of the Commemorative Book of the Closing of Shimoina Agricultural High School / 1990).
“The 100th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine of Shimoina Agricultural High School" (Shimoina Agricultural High School, Nagano Prefecture / 2021)
“A Study of Early Postwar Youth Schools" (Heizo Kobayashi / 'Bulletin of the Japan Society for the Study of Adult and Community Education’ 1982)

Historical material

Posted by Sakyo K.