“Past, present, and future, fostering the sacred work of love and science in respectful harmony”
I became the President of Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University (NVLU) in October 2022. As the environment surrounding universities changes rapidly, universities must also dynamically reform the roles they play in society. Hence, it is sobering to bear such a responsibility in the current period.
Upon taking office as president, I would like to first look back on the history of NVLU, reaffirm our educational philosophy, analyze the current situation, and connect it to the future.
Establishment and history
NVLU is the oldest private veterinary school in Japan. It was cofounded in 1881 by nine young veterinary officers under the age of 30 with the aim of training veterinary technicians when the task of developing the livestock industry in Japan was an urgent priority. It was originally located in Gokokuji in modern-day Otowa, Bunkyo City, Tokyo. The temple was built by Shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, who issued the famous edict against cruelty to all living beings. Although the school was temporarily closed in 1889, it reopened in 1892 as the Tokyo Veterinary School. The school’s educational policy at the time was to ensure technical and theoretical balance in training veterinary practicians equipped with the skills and techniques to care for animals in real-life situations. The school song, which was composed in 1939, continues to portray the spirit that forms the basis of the NVLU creed and educational philosophy: “It is for our country that we care and protect the blessings of nature, blessed are those who respect each other and live in harmony, working diligently at the sacred work of love and science.” The school was revived in 1949 as the Nippon Veterinary and Zootechnical College with a department of veterinary science and a department of animal husbandry. In 1952, it came under the umbrella of the Nippon Medical School Foundation, which has the longest history among private medical universities. At present, the school has a Faculty of Veterinary Science (FVS), which includes a School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) and a School of Veterinary Nursing and Technology (SVNT); and a Faculty of Applied Life Science (FALS), which includes a School of Animal Science (SAS) and a School of Food Science and Technology (SFST).
The university has developed from rather humble beginnings in a temple that loved and cherished life to a training school for veterinarians who could support the growth of the livestock industry. As demands changed, more departments were established, offering specialized education with a focus on practical skills over the ensuing 140 years. In the FVM, we protect the lives of animals from disease, whereas in the FALS, we protect the dignity of life and use science for the benefit of mankind. In line with our school’s creed of “respectful harmony,” our educational philosophy is to foster outstanding veterinarians, specialists, and researchers, with a love for life and a heart for science through scientific inquiry and education while encompassing a plethora of vastly different themes. We have produced approximately 20,000 graduates. NVLU has established an educational curriculum that provides a variety of specialist training and qualifications to develop veterinarians, pet nurses, livestock artificial insemination technicians, laboratory animal technicians, curators, junior and senior high school teacher licenses, bioengineers, food safety managers, and HACCP managers. Graduates of NVLU are active in various fields.
Current status of NVLU
Today, the role of veterinarians is important to realize a mature symbiotic society between humans and animals. SVM was the first to open laboratories in new academic fields such as fish diseases and wildlife medicine. Currently, we are at the forefront of animal shelter medicine and working on related research and educational activities. SVNT was the first four-year university course for animal nurses to be established in Japan, and continues to play a leading role in the national certification of pet nurses. With the advancement of veterinary services, the role of veterinary nurses has become more important in team veterinary medicine. We are promoting the training of veterinary nurses with specialized knowledge and skills. Furthermore, there is a very real possibility that Japan’s low self-sufficiency rate will become a matter of life and death as food shortages owing to climate change and war become more serious. In addition to our convenient campus in the suburbs of central Tokyo, our university has a farm at the foot of Mt. Fuji. One of the research areas of the SAS is animal husbandry resource science. Using this farm, we are conducting research to develop more efficient livestock farming with animal welfare and SDGs. One of the themes of the FSFT is the development and supply of safe, high-quality, highly palatable foods. For example, food research rooted in Japanese food culture, such as cheese using koji and Japanese sake production without sterilization, is being carried out.
Last year, our university was ranked first among science universities in terms of patent income per faculty member, and also the best private university in terms of the number of MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research received in veterinary and animal husbandry and related areas.
To the future
NVLU is blessed with specialists in many fields of different life sciences. By meeting and learning together with our faculty members of diverse backgrounds, you will find your goals, acquire qualifications, enrich your life, and create innovation. I believe that it is important for a university to function as such a place. The Long COVID crisis is about to end. Society has changed dramatically in a short period, and NVLU is also developing remote lectures and practical training based on Learning Managing System. I would like to continue to cherish our school’s tradition of emphasizing technical education, which began with an education that is similar to individual instruction. The school creed of NVLU is “respectful harmony”. While respecting tradition, we are open to society, build various partnerships with the outside, and evolve ourselves. We will create new systems and organizations that are not bound by conventional restraints, and develop research and education unique to NVLU. We would like to do our best to continue to be a university that contributes to society.
Together with all of our faculty and staff, I am looking forward to meeting curious people who share our philosophy and learn from each other.
October 1st 2022