Night shift 1933

Daily Life

Dormitory Life

In November 1889, two dormitories (a north and a south) were built in back of the main classroom building. At first, a complete dormitory system was planned, but from 1901 only firstyear students lived in the dormitory. In 1913, the dormitory was closed due to an epidemic and eventually torn down. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1915.

These study dormitories were selfgoverning, with a representative and two committee members chosen from among the 2nd and 3rdyear students to remain as residents. Activities included management of the dormitory, cooking, climbing Mt Aso or Mt Kimpo, and rafting down the Kumagawa River.


Student oath 1935


Dormitory room 1926

Dormitory exterior 1926

Dormitory room 1929

Dining room 1935

Rafting down the Kumagawa River 1939

Climbing Mt. Aso 1935

Dormitory entrance 1924

entrance ceremony 1935

Dormitory representatives 1932

Recreation 1937

Getting a haircut, 1935

studying 1938

Getting the mail 1941


a “storm” 1935

Club Activities

The “Ryunankai” studentfaculty association of the Fifth High School was begun November 3, 1891. Meaning “South of Mt. Tatsuda” (the ideograph for “tatsu” can also be pronounced “ryu”), it was named by Professor Akizuki in consultation with the students. Focusing on culture and sports, it was independently run by the students.

Every year an executive committee was elected and a budget allocated. Competitions with the Seventh High School in Kagoshima were arranged, and intramural boat races were held on Lake Ezu. Through these activities, students gained experience in leadership and developed selfreliance. These club activities in High Schools and at the Imperial University introduced students early on to Western sports such as baseball, tennis, and boating, as well as to recent Western music and literature, thus acting as conduits for bringing Western culture into Japan.

Climbing 1943

Kyudo 1943

Dressage 1926

Oratorical contest 1941


Mountaineering 1937

Music 1936

Kendo 1942


Swimming 1931

Music 1926


Glider 1943

Communication signal 1943


Boat race 1924

Rivalry between the Fifth High School and the Seventh High School

The Ryunankai and its counterpart from the Seventh High School jointly organized competitions in baseball, track and field, and oratory.

Held in either Kumamoto or Kagoshima, these were major events attended by nearly all students. However, after a baseball game in Kumamoto in 1926, a quarrel broke out between the cheering squads, thus ending competition between the two schools until 1946. The last competition was held in 1948

Baseball game 1936

Storm 1926

Magazine of the Ryunan Association

The “Ryunankai Zasshi” magazine ran from November 26, 1891 to March 25, 1948, ending with issue number 255. It published a variety of essays, stories, haiku, waka, works in classical Chinese, research on modes of thought, literary creations, etc.

It also kept records of personnel changes, debate topics and committee decisions, budget allocations and expenditures, club activities, and school events. The magazine was edited by a number of students and faculty members who later became wellknown writers: Murakawa Kengo, Goto Fumio, Shimomura Kojin, Umezaki Haruo, and Kinoshita Junji, among others.

Association Election 1926

Magazine of the Ryunan Association


Fifth High School and Kumamoto City

Students often went to the city center, approximately 2 kilometers from the School, to patronize their favorite bookshops, tea houses, movie theaters, oden shops, etc. Dressed in their distinctive capes and hats, they walked the streets singing dormitory songs. They also sometimes made mischief, such as overturning a shop’s signboard, but they were generally welcomed warmly by the city’s residents.