In the entire body of scholarly writing—Japanese and foreign—on modern Japanese history, perhaps no subject has been treated with less care or greater indifference than the imperial universities. Western scholars, when commenting on the subject, are usually content to note their supposed indebtedness to the universities of nineteenth-century Germany and to emphasize their role in training government officials. Thus Robert Scalapino wrote in 1962: “The government … accepted a far-reaching system of education patterned essentially after German concepts….”; he was seconded in this opinion by Ronald P. Dore in 1965. And of the universities' social functions, Herbert Passin wrote in 1965 that Tokyo University had been conceived as a “training school for officials”; this was echoed by Chitoshi Yanaga in 1968.

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