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Before it all began... 1888 - 1913 Marianist Activity**
In 1888 the Marianist Fathers established themselves in Tokyo. Their progress was slow and laborious, but uninterrupted. They establish the Gyosei Gakko in Tokyo. By 1913, Gyosei Gakko had primary and secondary school with 802 pupils,

As of 1913, they had also established:
In Nagasaki, Kaisei Gakko (1892), a "commercial school" with 380 pupils.
In Osaka, Meisei Gakko (1898), a "commercial school" with 498 pupils.
In Yokohama, St. Joseph College (1901), a "higher primary school with commercial courses for foreigners or Eurasians of all nationalities," with 120 pupils.

In all these schools student and graduate societies for piety, zeal, friendship, sport, etc. have flourished. The native religious were recruited chiefly from among the ancient Christians of Kyushu; a house for this purpose was opened in April, 1910, at Urakami.

** - The above information is from the Catholic Encyclopedia, published in 1913.

1901 - This large house at 43
Bluff housed the infant St. Joseph
College from 1901 to 1904.
Only one year after the turn of the 20th century, on September 20, 1901, St. Joseph College is founded by the Marianist Society for the education especially of foreign youths in Japan.  Short, stocky Bro. Louis Stolz and five Marianists with 70 students assemble at 43 Bluff, Yokohama
The mushrooming growth of the student body soon forces the school to seek a bigger space at 85 Bluff, site of the old Maple Hotel, over-looking the bustling Yokohama harbor

SJC at 85 Bluff, before the earthquake

Stalwart Bro. Stoltz retires and is replaced by dynamic Bro. John Baptist Gaschy, who becomes Director, giving continuous and distinguished service until 1940.

The First World War calls three French Marianists to active military duty.


1923 - Ruins of the only building
left standing at the school
after the Great Kanto Earthquake.
When things are rosiest, The Great Kanto Earthquake totally wrecks the college.  All is destroyed except the lower floors of the new school building.  SJC follows the foreign refugees to Kobe, which becomes their haven and the scene of St. Josephfs activities for the next two years.  Classes are held in Sumiyoshi, in an old school building.
Sumiyoshi campus
Letter from Bro. Grote, describing the earthquake.

Letter Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5

1935 - Construction of the
Greater St. Joseph College
New Faculty quarters, Chapel, Dormitory, and Auditorium-Gym
. . . all in ferro-concrete.
Return to Yokohama.  Classes open with 110 students housed in repaired buildings and two hastily built barracks.

Opening of the new sections for faculty and boarders.

Gymnasium and auditorium wing fills out the school quadrangle.

The Second World War begins to work hardship on the SJC international community.

Pen Drawing of SJC campus

Foundation by the SJC Marianists of St. Johnfs Institute, an international school in Kobe.  Bro. Gaschy serves as director until, during the war, the school is burned and completely destroyed.  At SJC Bro. Ambrose Abromities takes over as director from Bro. Gaschy, but is detained by the government and interned.  Americans are repatriated.  The directorship passes to smiling Bro. Albert Haegli.

Report Card from 1943 Diploma from 1944

The buildings and grounds are taken over by the Japanese army.  The Bluff property is occupied by Japanese Navy Research.  Marianists and other foreigners are forced to evacuate and move to Gora, Hakone.  There, as a small school, classes are conducted in the rooms and hallways of the broken-down Park Hotel.

Entrance, 1948
sent by John Lipset
Return to Yokohama. Both the Japanese and the occupation forces aid in the restoration of the school and in providing food and necessities

Bro. Aloysius Soden is director as co-educational classes open on September 15, with 25 students.  One week later, there are 300 students.

The pre-war status of an all boys school is resumed, except for the girls in the upper classes.

50th Anniversary of St. Joseph College.  The student body swells to 400.

1952 - School Campus at Dusk

Bro. Paul Boeckerman's
personal letter:
About SJC, History & Traditions
Letter Page 1
Letter Page 2
Letter Page 3
Capable Fr. Karl Wilhelm, priest-principal of St. Joseph's, takes the helm and guides the institute early in the decade to a record student body of 450.

Death of Bro. Baptist Gaschy, who is decorated with the French Legion of Honor and the Japanese Order of the Treasure.


The school is registered as a special educational corporation -- gakko hojin.  School rebuilding and modernization continues.  The high school is relocated and Berrick Hall is set up for boarders.

Chaminade Hall for boarders is established.
Morning assembly for grade-schoolers, 1959

Centennial Celebration of the re-opening of the Catholic Church in Japan at SJC in Yokohama and Nagasaki.

International Boy Scouts Troop 1
50th Anniversary, 1968 - 69
General appearance of the campus is improved with the tiling of the buildings. The International Boy Scouts Troop #1 celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

SJC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The library/learning complex, Santos Center, named to honor the deceased Bro. Santos Montoya Ruiz, is officially opened.  The Board of Advisors is created.

SJC Grade School Entrance, 1958
75th Anniversary of St. Joseph College.
Audio-Visual Center is built above the Santos Center library.

Opening of the Kindergarten.  60th Anniversary of the International Boy Scout Troop #1 of SJC.

Membership in the Kanto Plain Association for competition in academics and athletics is awarded to the school.

80th Anniversary of St. Joseph College.  Prince and Princess Mikasa attend the high school graduation.
Co-education begins in Kindergarten and First Grade.
The Name of Our School Sept. 22, 1983

Name change from S.J.C. to S.J.I.S.,
announced by Bro. Donald McKee.

SJIS Entrance & Cherry Blossoms
provided by Mr. Toshikatsu Sakai
Area 2 Website www.j-area2.com
Complete Apple IIe computer lab installed.  Western Association of Schools and Colleges grants accreditation through June, 1990.  The school's name becomes St. Joseph International School.

Co-education extends throughout the school, Kindergarten through the 12th Grade.

Charles J. Pedersen, Class of 1922, receives a Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Marianist Centennial in Japan.

Re-opening of the Pre-school for 3-year olds.

90th Anniversary of SJIS.  Enrichment summer program is expanded.

Board decides to computerize the library.

S.J.I.S. hosts Rotary Interact Nenjitaikai.  Small (ten) graduating class.

Top graduate -- the son of a 1960s alumnus -- goes to Princeton.


1995 - 2000
Click for details

2000 - Last View of the School Campus

Click to see: The Old SJC/SJIS Site, pictures taken in 2005
Most of the material for the history of St. Joseph on this page, are based on information compiled by the SJIS Alumni Association U.S. Chapter.