Tokyo Ishiyaku Kango Yobiko

Representative Director

Kiyoshi Nagasawa

Kiyoshi Nagasawa
We foster future doctors with strong convictions

The majority of yobiko (preparatory schools) for university entrance exams aim to improve academic abilities. Medical school, however, is a key step on the path to becoming a doctor, a job which deals with the health and lives of other people; and so we believe that the focus for preparatory schools preparing students for medical school entrance exams should not simply be on passing the exams and gaining admission to medical school. We instruct our students from the perspective of nurturing human qualities, such as by increasing their level of awareness with regard to their goals in becoming doctors, and by developing the environment around them.

Year of Birth
Yokohama, Kanagawa
Tokyo Ishiyaku Kango Yobiko
1-3-20 Shimo-ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Type of business
Specialized preparatory school for medical school entrance exams
The majority of students attending Tokyo Ishiyaku Kango Yobiko are aiming to enter university medical schools. Around 90% of them are raised in households where at least one of their parents is a doctor. Having grown up in an environment where it was natural for them to aim to enter medical school and become doctors themselves, it is not uncommon for them to have a somewhat low level of awareness as to their goals. What kind of life do they want to lead? What do they want to do? By approaching their education from the perspective of life choices such as these, we help students to generate awareness of their goals in aiming to enter medical school: a key step on the path to their future careers. We engage with our students on a daily basis, beginning with the development of conditions that will enable them to immerse themselves in their studies as much as they wish.

I, myself, originally worked as a researcher at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), studying pathogenic bacteria. Around the time when I was beginning to worry whether research was really the right job for me, I was contacted by a certain university—based on a book that I had published—regarding a teaching position. I really enjoyed instructing and communicating my own sentiments to my students, and went on to expand my range of instruction from university to vocational colleges and preparatory schools. In particular, I found lessons at preparatory school to be particularly interesting because of their clear objectives, and the fact that they produced visible results.

In my preparatory school lessons, I encountered some students who were aiming to enter medical school, but who were struggling because they were failing to meet the mark with their academic performance. Although I agonized somewhat over how to best assist them in their development, I felt strongly that I wanted to support them using my own ideal educational methods. And so, based on that strong desire, at the age of 59, I made the decision to open my own school.

In this modern era, social and household environments are becoming increasingly diverse. The circumstances surrounding students aiming to enter medical school, and the concerns that they face, are truly varied. However talented they may be in terms of academic study, there are some students who are still immature on the inside, raising concerns over how things will progress after they enter medical school. On the other hand, there are students who—despite having the potential qualities and strong aspirations needed to become a doctor—face financial difficulties in aiming to enter medical school at all. In this day and age, too, where students require personalized educational instruction on one-on-one basis, raising children to become future doctors, a job with great deal of responsibility, requires us as instructors to be mentally prepared to almost live our lives together with them. That was the strong will and mindset with which I started my school.

The impact of household environments and parent-child relationships on studying for entrance exams is greater than one would imagine, and unless we are prepared to become involved in students’ lives before teaching them the study content then we will not be able to produce results. In the case of students whose path (in aiming to enter medical school) has been decided for them by their parents, there are some who end up heading in an undesirable direction out of rebellion against their parents. In such cases, we spend a great deal of time—perhaps even years—eating, living and spending time with students in order to grow closer to them, and get them to open up to us. There have been examples of students suffering from psychological damage as a result of their warped domestic environment, who were unable to even smile, let alone study. We helped them to smile and begin studying again, eventually leading to them passing their entrance exams for medical school without any problems. For students facing financial hardships in entering university, we offer a program to support payment of tuition fees for a limited number of students after enrollment.

While there are various ways of approaching students, one issue that applies to all of them is their motivation with regard to becoming doctors. This is not something that is limited to students attending our school. There are a surprisingly large number of students who—even after finally making it into medical school—are unable to find the motivation for becoming doctors, and end up withdrawing from university. This can be said to be a result of simply continuing to run on the rails laid out for them by their parents and the environment around them, instead of choosing their own path to follow.
For this reason, I always tell my students this: “Just thinking about things is no good. Crying after suffering failure is also part of the learning process. Real feelings of regret come from not trying at all. You only live once. Even if it means going through heartbreaking experiences, it is important to take a first step forward.”

Rather than becoming caught up in stereotypes such as being “like a good student,” “like a real man or woman” or “true to form,” I continue to promote the attitude of trying to do the things one wants to do. Beyond “what you want to do” and “the ideal life that you want to try and attain” is the moment when students think hard about the future, of “becoming a doctor.” That is when they become switched on and motivated. When they reach this stage, we use video presentations from actual working doctors and dialogues with past graduates to help students to form a more concrete image of their future. It is then that they finally begin to discover their own personal reasons for aiming to become a doctor.
This way of thinking, of “continuing to try things that one wants to do without fear of failure,” began with something that I heard when I went to listen to a lecture given by Professor Taizo Kato at Waseda University, when I was a student. It was an encounter that completely overturned the values that I had held until then. That the professor said was, “when we are next to someone who has real love, we are enveloped in a kind of warm feeling. People who make us feel tense and stressed are selfish people, with a strong craving for us to love them.” When I heard the professor say this, I began to think about what makes us feel fulfilled in our hearts and minds, to investigate various religious philosophies, and to go around listening to various lectures.

Another encounter that had a further influence on me was with the Professor Hideo Itokawa, a famous engineer. Professor Itokawa continued to have a diverse range of interests throughout his life, to the extent that he even began to try his hand at ballet dancing past the age of 60. What he said was, “no matter how much someone is hurt or injured in their life, that person’s value is determined by them putting a band aid on it and getting up and carrying on.” I was extremely moved and impressed by those words.

Tackling things head on and taking action first without thinking too much is something that helps us to grow and develop as people, no matter how old we are. The more failure someone has experienced, the more joy they feel over little things. The more hardship someone has gone through, the more they are able to show a true smile that comes from deep down within their hearts. By repeating those kinds of experiences, I want our students, too, to grow into people with a rich set of emotions, who can take the feelings of others onboard. In this way, I hope that the number of doctors with strong convictions of wanting to help other people, no matter who they may be—rather than simply pursuing wealth, status and prestige—will increase.

Fourteen years have now passed since I opened this school, and we have managed to send countless numbers of students to medical school. The fact that ex-students continue to look up to me even after they graduate makes me feel happy, because I feel that it is a sign that I, myself, have managed to become someone that others rely on, and to save them and lead them away from difficult circumstances. There is no need to worry about indicators set by other people. I want the young people who will play key roles in the future to continue trying to do things that they want to do without fear, in the spirit of challenge.

Kiyoshi Nagasawa
Kiyoshi Nagasawa

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Tokyo Ishiyaku Kango Yobiko

Representative Director
Kiyoshi Nagasawa