Support for education

Shojiro Ishibashi always took a strong interest in improving education.
His contributions in this area began as early as 1928 when, at the age of 39, he helped found Kyushu Medical School (present-day Kurume University). At the time, the Ministry of Education had decided to newly establish private medical schools around the country, sparking competition among different localities in Kyushu to win the right to establish such a school.

The Administration Building at Kurume University
The Administration Building at Kurume University

Following a request from the mayor and municipal assembly of his hometown of Kurume, who informed him that their bid would be successful on the condition that someone donated a site and buildings for the school, Shojiro decided to cover the entire cost of the land and buildings. Through a company he ran, Nihon Tabi Corporation, Shojiro gifted a piece of property of 10,000 tsubo (one tsubo = 3.3 square meters) and school buildings made of reinforced concrete, a construction technique that was innovative at the time.

After the war, further land and buildings were donated by Bridgestone to open a Faculty of Commerce and an affiliated high school, at which point the institution became known as Kurume University. Shojiro was also keenly involved in the university's administration, serving as Chairman of the Board from 1951. He continued to provide donations and assistance to various schools and educational activities in his hometown of Kurume, including funding the construction of swimming pools in all of the city's elementary and junior high schools for the enjoyment and improved physical education of the city's children.

Statue of Shojiro Ishibashi erected at Kurume University
Statue of Shojiro Ishibashi erected at Kurume University

He also provided assistance of various kinds to help improve education outside of his hometown, including the donation of land for an elementary school in Tokyo, the funding of an extension at Gakushuin University, and the provision of landscaping at Tsuda College.