9. Great Earthquake 1/2

On September 1, Taisho 12 (1923), the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Tokyo. It was three years after Tokyo High Commercial School (THC) was promoted to Tokyo Commercial College (TCC).
The whole Tokyo area fell into the ground of debris. The Kanda compus of the college was as horrible as Tokyo Imperial University (TIU) and other colleges around there, ... all of the school buildings were collapsed and burned down.
Goroji Suga was three years old then and lived in Kumagaya, Saitama prefecture. Even though he was a child, he remembers the damage was nearly the same there.

Besides, this natural disaster brought a new history to the college.
Elderly Suga shows the chronological table of what were all about.

Taisho 9
(1920)
Promoted to TCC
(Zensaku Sano became the 1st president)
President Sano concurrently held the manager of the boat club.
Taisho 10
(1921)
Won the first championship at the 2nd Inter College Regatta.
Taisho 12
(1923)
In May, bought the site of 24,000 tsubo (about 80,000 square meters) for the playground at Shakujii village in the suburbs of Metropolitan Tokyo.
In September, the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred.
Taisho 13
(1924)
Tentative agreement of the move to Yaho village with Hakone Land.
Taisho 14
(1925)
Kanematsu Company offered the donation of the auditorium built as Kanematsu Memorial Auditorium.
Education Minister approved the move to Yaho village (presently, Kunitachi city).
Taisho 15
(1926)
In April, Kunitachi Station opened.
In June, the Kunitachi campus ground opened.
In August, started to construct Kanematsu Auditorium.
The story goes to the damage of TCC caught up in the Great Kanto Earthquake.
Other than the direct disaster, the earthquake brought the wide-spread big fire as if to make the problem more terrible.
So, it was a historical tragedy that the library with all the books of TIU was burned down.
Concerning TCC, on the other hand, only its library remained unburned miraculously.
Thanks to it, its precious books like Menger and Gierke Libraries were luckily not burned down.
Menger Library consists of about 20,000 books of economy and social thoughts collected by Carl Menger, an Austrian economist, the founder of the Austrian School of economics, and a professor of Vienna University, while Gierke Library consists of about 10,000 books of law collected by Otto von Gierke, a German legal scholar, a historian and a professor of Berlin University

The big earthquake with the fire was over. Suga concentrates the story on what happened right afterwards.
"President Sano did not waste any moment to lead to the recovery. He is said to have demonstrated excellent leadership. He immediately organized the Earthquake-Disaster Recovery Committee, which played a key role in minimizing the unrest in the college, and asked the graduates all over Japan for support. At the same time Sano started the Campus Recovery Committee made up by the professors."
Suga continues meaningfully.
"This is, what I mean, he considered the big disaster rather as kamikaze (a divine wind) and decided to create a new world in the outer suburbs of Tokyo, stopping the haphazard recovery plan at the same campus in the center of Tokyo. He might have aimed at the ideal college town in the mind of Eiichi Shibusawa, father of the school. The committee members are as follows. They are influencial and popular professors."

Zensaku Sano, Mitsuki Hori, Shinshichi Miura, Teijiro Ueda, Keikichiro Kimura, Akira Naito, Tadayuki Nasa, Taro Hoshino, Torajiro Takagaki, Renkichi Uchiike, Hideharu Magota, Takanosuke Kaneko, Shuji Aoyama, Tokuzo Fukuda, Sentaro Iura, Zenichi Kuroda

"Wonderful, really big names."
Nodding to Tsubune's admiration, Suga adds, considering most of them had the idea to move from Kanda campus for a long time.
"All of them were with a strong personality, so they obviously were often been hostile. However, they must have been united with each other concerning the campus move."
Then Suga is going to the moving story itself.
"Mr. Sano made the members as a consensus resolve to move from Kanda campus and to regard faraway Musashino Wilderness as a candidate. Old Shibusawa must have accepted it, considering the place as what he had thought, because Shibusawa was the founder of the cultural town Denen-chofu and had had the idea of a garden city from before. Possibly he was involved in it from the beginning. Hachioji city and Tsukuba city are now rather enviable as an academic city far from the center of Tokyo metropolitan area, but it was incredible at that time! First of all, who of professors and staffs would have wished from the bottom of their heart to work so faraway to the west end? It was really from the convenient metropolitan center to the faraway wilderness with their families. I doubt it. Wasn't it an image of the exile to a remote island rather than the demotion? I suppose it was far beyond inconvenience."

Eriko talks to Tsubune in a muffled voice.
"It must have been a sudden happening to them. What ever would you have done in such a case in the days your three children were much younger?"
Tsubune is at a loss for words.
The elderly senior still continues the story after a rest of tea, whether he heard Eriko's muffled voice or not.
"Professor Seki, a rival of president Sano had already gone to Osaka at that time. If not, since he was a supporter of the insistence "the college has to remain at the center of Tokyo", big trouble would have happened. The idea was to build a large college city all right, but in reality the candidate place was the deeper woodland with no culture and lack of transportation."
He opens the page of the pocket book and shows it.

Looking back on it now, they had foresight because they tried to move far from the hustle and bustle of Kanda area to Musashino wilderness and to build a college city like Oxford and Cambridge in UK.
However at first, they were much worried about traffic inconvenience and bad roads. How the students missed the lights of the former Kanda...

"Whether president Sano persuaded them or most of the professors agreed, sorry to say, cannot be confirmed. I think every professor had the spirit of historical resistance against the Government and wished in mind to go to the new world far from the metropolitan center. Also Old Shibusawa's encouraging support was indispensable."
Though inarticulate, Suga has talked about his own opinion at a stretch.
Tilting her head, Mari leans forward and asks Suga.
"Why did the college move to Musashino? I understand the idea of the move but why did they immediately decide to move there?"
Then her expression changes a bit and adds with downcast eyes.
"Rather than that, I am worried about the teachers involved in their project then. They must have had their own families and been not unrelated to the eathquake catastrophe, right? What did each of them do for the private matter? I am more concerned about them."
For a second three others seem to have come to their senses. Suga elderly shows his admiration to her point of view at once.
"I see. It was true. All of the teachers and staffs must have had their own big troubles and problems. Therefore even in such situations they did not mind their own matters and were devoted themselves to the school matter. Thanks, Mari-san."
Suga gets back to the main topic uneasily.
"Yes, why was the moving place settled to Musashino immediately? Strange enough, it is difficult to find the fact now. At first the candidates were two; this Yaho village of Kita-tama county and Ohizumi village of Kita-toshima county near the playground site of Shakujii. Then it is said president Sano chose Yaho village. We know no further thing."
The junior Tsubune seems doubtful, too. He says.
" Wasn't it the company of Yasujiro Tsutsumi that cultivated Yaho village to make the Kunitachi College Town? My idea is; that company Hakone Land presented the two lands as a candidate, but Ohizumi village was so-called dummy. President Sano accepted its idea and naturally chose Yaho village, didn't he?"
"Well, I don't think so," says Suga but he does not seem to have any decisive factor. He says.
"First of all, the things we have to keep in mind about Tokyo Commercial College (TCC) people are, ..."
He shows the document of his own.

1. President Sano is from Kashima village of Shizuoka prefecture at the foot of Mt. Fuji. He has a countryside principle and is a landscape gardener.
He investigated the college cities like Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard over there during the study in UK and US.
2. Especially he was impressed with the college town Gottingen in Germany.
The pinewoods and the wilderness spread over the thickly wooded area in Yaho village were probably similar to Gottingen, his ideality in mind.
3. Fukuda, Ueda and Miura, influential members of the recovery committee, might also have agreed with him or have been cooperative professors.
4. Professor Mitsuki Hori, his right hand, was in the recovery committee of the Government, too.
So, Hori must have been an important adviser on a broad perspective.
5. TCC had bought the land of 24,000 tsubo (about 80,000 square meters) for the playground at Shakujii north of Musashino.
It moved everything of the preliminary course to the temporary school building from the next year of the earthquake.
Ohizumi village was near there, but Yaho village was not far.

The elderly seems to admit the inarticulate talk, and looks up the wall clock, which shows just before 7:00 pm.
Coming back from the rest room, he vacantly looks over the window. It is dark outside.
"Could you give me hot tea?"
Mari, making him fresh tea, says, "Take it easy, elderly."
She is serious this time. Her advice is representing the three listeners.
"What about you all?"
The elderly does not seem to stop, rather saying, "I'd like to talk a little more until the good point. So, would you get along with me for another one hour or so?"

9-1 Reading: 17'17"
If the above does not open by chance, Reading: 17:17
< 8. Birth of College 2 9. Great Earthquake 2 >
9. Great Earthquake
1 2
Frontcover @  8. Birth of College
1. Old Cox  9. Great Earthquake
2. Monsters  10. To Musashino
3. Begin to Search  11. Okura Museum
4. Chase  12. Architect
5. Shibusawa  13. Romanesque
6. Dawn  14. Four God Statues
7. Shinyu Case  15. Then
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