Educational initiatives in Yokohama
Yokohama has 513 municipal schools with around 280,000 students. In line with the Yokohama Educational Vision, education at these schools revolves around three main goals: the fostering of broad knowledge and cultivation of the mind, emotional and moral development, and sound physical development. Alongside these three goals, a particular emphasis is placed on developing the two hallmarks of the Yokohama character: civic spirit and interest in social involvement, and an open mind and desire to contribute to the international community. The city is also studded with cultural properties and historical and cultural museums, providing extensive opportunities for children to experience and learn about Yokohama's past and culture.
Since the International Year of Peace in 1986, Yokohama has been involved in a variety of international peace projects, and it was named a “Messenger of Peace” by the United Nations in 1987, since which year municipal elementary and junior high schools have taken part in the Yokohama Children's International Peace Program to raise children's awareness of international peace and urge the people of the city and the world to cherish this goal.
One element of this program is the Yokohama Children's International Peace Speech Contest, entered by some 50,000 elementary and junior high school students each year. The finals involve representatives of each ward, who speak on the subject of what the individual can do to promote international peace.
Four messengers of peace awarded the Mayor's Award and other representatives are appointed members of a children's executive committee, which then drafts and sends to the United Nations Headquarters a “Yokohama Children's Peace Message.” Members also create posters to encourage contributions to the Yokohama Children's International Peace Fund and raise awareness of peace in their own schools.
Yokohama Science Frontier High School
In April of 2009, in cerebration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of Port of Yokohama, the Yokohama City Municipal Yokohama Science Frontier High School began operations as Japan's first high school committed to immersing students in science.
Drawing on exchanges with researchers and engineers involved in cutting-edge science and technology and exchanges with sister schools overseas, the school places a strong emphasis on experience-based learning. It has developed and introduced its own unique systems of teaching, including hands-on Science Literacy taught through direct contact with up-to-date technologies. In turn, it is attracting interest for its potential to produce graduates equipped to contribute in a wide range of fields in the future. In addition to involving Nobel laureates and other leading figures in fields of advanced science and technology, the school receives assistance from research institutes, universities, and businesses in implementing its innovative curriculum.
Shomyoji Temple (government-designed historical site)
Yokohama protects and promotes remaining sites of cultural importance in the city. It presently has more than 400 cultural properties, including national treasures, important cultural assets, and city-designated cultural properties. Within the city, the precincts of Shomyoji Temple and Asahina Pass, designated historical sites by the Japanese Government, have been nominated for World Heritage Site status in cooperation with Kamakura as part of the campaign to register “Kamakura, Home of the Samurai.”
Yokohama Archives of History
One center playing an important role in preserving Yokohama's history is the Yokohama Archives of History. This houses historical materials on Yokohama from the Edo to the early Showa periods, and also conducts survey studies and publishes materials. The treaty of Kanagawa is said to have been signed near the Tamakusu tree (Machilus thunbergii) in the courtyard, and the old building was formerly used by the British Consulate until 1972. (It is presently closed for refurbishment. Part of the building will reopen on April 10, 2010, followed by the remainder on April 24.)