Tomoko always aimed high, even as a teenager. Not only did she attend a prestigious high school, but she also was admitted – and graduated – from Tokyo University of the Arts: the most prestigious art school in Japan – and the only national arts university in Japan.
Tokyo Fine Arts School and the Tokyo Music School were each founded in 1887,
and then merged in 1949. Three years earlier they started admitting women to
their all-male institutions. Many famous composers and other musicians
graduated from this important school.
As a high schooler, Tomoko already knew about this university. To check it out, Tomoko took a train to central Tokyo to see the university for herself. “What a wonderful cultural center! Next to national museums and parks. I may never want to leave,” she thought. Her parents thought that whatever one pursued, it should be done well, and they were supportive: “Always strive for the best,” they told her.
Tomoko was excited when she heard from the university about her application; they want her to come to campus to audition. She shared her passion of music, and could give evidence of her hard work and discipline. “It was worth the four days,” Tomoko determined. She was one of the fortunate eighteen accepted. Interestingly, most of whom were females, even though fewer than three percent of the university’s total student population were women.
Tomoko found that her classmates shared her mindset, sharing their passion for music and learning. By 1961 Tomoko felt prepared for graduate school and a music career. Tomoko was proud that she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors. Her parents’ declaration, that whatever one pursued it should be done well, was personified in Tomoko.