History and Spirit

Elisabeth University of Music is a Catholic school with a student body of about 600, 35 full-time and 100 adjunct faculty, offering professional education in music at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The University consists of the Undergraduate Faculty of Music, the Graduate Division and the University Library. 53 faculty teach in the Graduate Division, where enrollment is limited to about 80. All programs, both undergraduate and graduate, are co-educational.

Elisabeth University of Music traces its roots back to the Hiroshima Evening Music School, a small Quonset hut built in September, 1947 on the ruins of a town still bleeding from the wounds of the atomic holocaust. The founder of the school, Jesuit Father Ernest Goossens, set out on this new venture in the chaos of post-war Japan, when all sense of direction seemed to have been lost. He saw in the school a unique tool to give the young a new  élan in their quest for beauty and the attainment of truth through the arts.

In April, 1948 the new institution received official recognition as the Hiroshima School of  Music, and following academic revision, became in l952 a Junior College, under the patronage of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, who kindly gave it her name. In answer to a widely felt need, the school was given recognition by the Ministry of Education as a four-year college in April, l963, becoming the present Elisabeth University of Music. Subsequent developments have included the creation in l967 of a Department of Sacred Music and the establishment of the Graduate Division in l990. Since December, l961 Elisabeth has been affiliated with the Vatican's Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra. More recently, Elisabeth has completed affiliation agreements with several other institutions of higher education: University of Santo Tomas (Philippines), Fu Jen University (Taiwan), Catholic University of Daegu (Korea), Trinity College of Music (London), Sichuan Conservatory of Music (China), Griffith University (Australia), Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel (Belgium), Music School Mokranjac (Yugoslavia), Catholic University of Korea (Korea), Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra, Hochiminh City Conservatory of Music (Vietnam), Kookmin University (Korea), University of Ulsan (Korea), Jesu National University (Korea), Dalian University (China), Santa Isabel College (Philippines).

In 1993 the Graduate Division received government approval to open a doctoral course, the first such program in music among Japan's private universities. With a full complement of artistic and scholarly programs at every level of university education, Elisabeth University continues to pursue its vision of contributing to human understanding and cultural exchange through music.

Through many changes the University has remained constant in its commitment to professional education in the spirit of Christian humanism. Integral formation of the person and the University's international dimension as a meeting-place of Eastern and Western culture constitute the core of Elisabeth's identity and tradition. Faculty members hail from Japan, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Korea, Russia, Spain, and the United States. The student body, too, is international, coming from Europe and North America as well as Asia. Maximum artistic development and human fulfillment are sought in community through the experience of contributing to the lives and happiness of others. Our ultimate goal is that music become a life path, leading along the ways of the spirit to God.