The Tohoku Imperial University, predecessor to the present-day Tohoku University, was established in June, 1907, by combining the Science College of Sendai and the Agricultural College of Sapporo. The original College of Science consisted of the Departments of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. The Chemistry Department had three professors, and in 1911, eight students enrolled in this department. In 1919, the College of Science became the School of Science. In 1949, following the end of World War II, the Tohoku Imperial University became Tohoku University. In the 80 years since its founding, Tohoku University has grown to accommodate a total of ten schools, twelve research departments, seven laboratories, and three university hospitals, becoming one of the most prestigious institutions in Japan. Researchers from around the nation also utilize its state-of-the-art facilities to carry out their own projects. The Chemistry Department, with its 65-member faculty, is the largest in the nation. There are 73 students accepted each year for a place in the chemistry department, so this means that there is almost a 1:1 student/teacher ratio, thus creating a highly conducive environment for the students' research and study.
Since its establishment, Tohoku University has a proud tradition of placing great importance on research efforts, as can be seen in the school motto, "Research Comes First." This comes from the belief that the presence of first-rate researchers will undoubtedly raise the quality of education. Creative research is the key to success when venturing into uncharted fields, and Tohoku University epitomizes the spirit of this endeavor.
The members of the Department of Chemistry are instilled with a strong desire to seek and investigate unknown areas, and many of our outstanding scientists have left a legacy of important work in their respective fields. Riko Majima, Shiro Akabori Shiro, Tetsuo Nozoe, and Koji Nakanishi, all recipients of the National Culture Award of Japan, are four of the most distinguished former members of our faculty.
Japan's first female university students were admitted to the Tohoku Imperial University College of Science. In 1913, two women enrolled in the Chemistry Department, and one joined the Mathematics Department. Kuroda Chika and Tange Ume were two of the women who continued to conduct research after graduation and made prominent contributions to the field of chemistry in Japan.
The Chemistry Buildings for the Chemistry Department were constructed in 1972 at the Aobayama Campus and houses the Research Building, Student Experiments Building and the Instrumental Analysis Center for Chemistry, covering an area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Surrounded by green forests, it is based high atop a hill overlooking the pristine waters of the Hirose River with a magnificent view of Sendai and the surrounding countryside. The Pacific Ocean lies to the east, the Zao Mountain Range to the west, and Izumigatake and the Ou Mountains rise in the north.
Living in the midst of such a beautiful natural environment, students enjoy events such as sports festivals in the spring, early summer baseball tournaments, "ekiden" marathon runs in the fall, and skiing and other sports in the winter. Students and faculty are united in their efforts to search for the truth and are truly imbued with the frontier spirit.