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Liceo Mexicano Japonés, A.C. (社団法人日本メキシコ学院, Shadan Hōjin Nihon Mekishiko Gakuin, Spanish for "Mexican-Japanese Lyceum", or 日墨学院 Nichiboku Gakuin "Japan-Mexico Institute"), is a Japanese school based in the Pedregal neighborhood of the Álvaro Obregón borough in southern Mexico City, Mexico.[1][2][3]

Liceo Mexicano Japonés
Liceo Mexicano Japonés is located in Greater Mexico City
Liceo Mexicano Japonés
Liceo Mexicano Japonés
Liceo Mexicano Japonés is located in Mexico
Liceo Mexicano Japonés
Liceo Mexicano Japonés
Camino a Santa Teresa 1500, Álvaro Obregón, Jardines del Pedregal, 01900, CDMX, México

Mexico City

CoordinatesCoordinates: 19°18′32.7″N 99°12′43.2″W / 19.309083°N 99.212000°W / 19.309083; -99.212000
TypePrimary and secondary education

It is a school for Japanese Mexicans and the sons of Japanese temporary workers who are often brought to Mexico by companies like Nissan. There is also a section for Mexicans with no Japanese origin or descent, but Japanese is taught beginning in kindergarten and the system is in both languages until high school.[citation needed]

Carlos Kasuga Osaka, who served as the director of Yakult Mexico,[4] founded the school and served as its chair.[5] Within any Nikkei community, it was the first transnational educational institution.[6]

María Dolores Mónica Palma Mora, author of De tierras extrañas: un estudio sobre las inmigración en México, 1950-1990, wrote that the school is a "central institution in the life of" the Japanese Mexican group.[7] Chizuko Watanabe Hougen (千鶴子 ホーゲン・渡邊 [8][9]), the author of the master's thesis "The Japanese Immigrant Community in Mexico Its History and Present" at the California State University, Los Angeles, stated that Japanese parents chose the school because they wanted to "maintain their ethnic identity and pride, to implant a spiritual heritage that they claim is the basis for success, and to establish close ties with other Nikkei children who live in distant areas."[10][11]

As of 1983 many Nikkei and Japanese persons come to the school to study its management techniques and problems.[12]


Over one decade of organizational activity occurred before the school's opening.[13] The merger process forming the school began in 1974. It was a merger of a preparatory school,[6] and three of Mexico City's four part-time Japanese schools.[14]

The proposals to build the school were controversial in the Mexico City Nikkei community, and Watanabe stated that the school's importance and that of the Asocación Mexicana Japonesa "is indicated by the fact that the establishment and management of them has been the source of much strife among the community members."[15] Because of this, about 12 police officers protected the July 1967 annual general meeting to protect it from rioting, and the general meeting had received threats of violence.[16] Watanabe stated that after the Liceo Mexicano Japones was completed, "the antagonism subsided and unity in the community seems to prevail at present."[17]

The founding of the school occurred after a visit to Mexico by Prime Minister of Japan Kakuei Tanaka.[7] The Government of Japan donated 300 million yen to finance the school's construction in 1975. Tanaka later placed the school's first stone.[18] The school, inaugurated by President of Mexico Luis Echeverría,[19] and by Secretary of Education of Mexico Porfirio Muñoz Ledo,[7] opened in September 1977.[6] The governments of Japan and Mexico accredited the school.[6] The Nisei in Mexico were the primary party who had the school built because they wanted their children to have the Japanese cultural heritage.[20] In 1984 the high school was inaugurated. Takeo Fukuda, the Prime Minister of Japan, visited the school that year.[18]

The school, which covered kindergarten through secondary school, eventually gained over 1,000 students, including Mexicans, Nikkeijin, children of Japanese business owners resident in Mexico, and children of Japanese diplomats.[6]

Daniel M. Masterson, author of The Japanese in Latin America, wrote that it "became one of the most prestigious schools" in Mexico.[13] According to the Mexico Journal, because President of Mexico Carlos Salinas de Gortari sent his children to the school, people within Japan perceived the Liceo Mexicano Japonés as being the best school in Mexico.[1] Salinas said that he sent the children to the school because the Japanese culture has an emphasis on design and discipline. At the time the Mexican government was expanding trade with Japan,[21][22] and Japanese influence was increasing in Mexico.[23] At the time the Mexican authorities were taking efforts to attract further Japanese economic activity.[24]

In 1997, there was an accusation that a preparatory level student sexually assaulted a primary level student.[25] The accused student was expelled due to parental pressure.[26] The Juvenile Board did not find the student guilty. The Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor fined the school for cancelling a trip of that student, giving the school a penalty of 1.870 million pesos.[27] In November there were accusations that government officials with children enrolled in the school pressured the school to expel the accused student.[28]

In 1997 the city of Nagoya, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary of sister city relations with Mexico City, began its exchange with the school. From then on, the school on an annual basis sends a cultural exchange group to Nagoya.[29]

Curriculum and academicsEdit

The junior high school of the Japanese section

The school has two sections: The Mexican section with Spanish-language classes and a curriculum according to the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the Japanese section with classes in Japanese and a curriculum according to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).[18]

Most classes for Mexicans are in the Spanish language. Mexican students spend ten hours per week on the Japanese language. Classes offered include art, Japanese calligraphy, judo, karate, music, and the tea ceremony.[30]

According to the 2012 "Ranking de las Mejores Prepas en la Ciudad de México" ("Ranking of the best preparatory schools in Mexico City") of the Diario Reforma, the school had the highest rank. The ranking had over 380 university academics and company directors evaluating 67 private schools in Mexico City.[31] According to the 2014 "Ranking de las Mejores Prepas en la Ciudad de México" of the same newspaper, the school received a score of 8.80, the highest score out of the 80 private schools surveyed. 558 academics from various universities and managers ranked each private school.[32]


The campus has signage in Spanish and Japanese

The campus has over 36,880.93 square metres (396,983.0 sq ft) of space.[33] The architects of the campus were Mexicans, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Manuel Rosen Morrison.[33][34] Another architect, Rafael Espinoza, collaborated.[35] The Japanese government had commissioned for the design.[19]

There is a mural outside of the gymnasium created in 1987 under the direction of the Yokohama artist Teiko Nishimori (西森 禎子 Nishimori Teiko). 20 LMJ students and 14 visiting children from Japan created the mural.[36][37]

The school has athletic facilities for several sports, including aikido, basketball, dance, karate, and kendo.[18]


According to the school's 1981 enrollment data, that year its Mexican division the school had 150 Kindergarten students, 470 primary school students, 166 middle school students, and 60 high school students. In its Japanese division the school had 282 primary school students and 58 junior high school students.[38]

As of 1983, most non-Nikkei students are from socioeconomically rich families with intellectual backgrounds. Watanabe stated that this because of the school's "location, private nature, and high quality of education".[39]

As of 1983 some Nikkei families living in other Mexican states have their children move to Mexico City and live with their relatives so they can attend this school.[39]

Extracurricular activitiesEdit

For social purposes the school has athletic events and picnics.[30] The school uses activities and exchanges to bring together the Mexican and Japanese sections of the school.[18] The events by the school include a New Year festival, Mexican Independence Day, Day of the Dead, Epiphany, Las Posadas, Friendship Day, Students' Day, and Children's Day. The holidays are there to teach students about the histories of Japan and Mexico.[18]

As of 1983, of the Japanese school events, the undōkai (運動会 "athletic meets") are the largest events, and Watanabe stated that they function as community events. The school also has ensoku (遠足 "school excursions") and gakugeikai (学芸会 "cultural programs").[40]


See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "At the Liceo: Where Two Cultures Meet." Mexico Journal (Information). Demos, Desarrollo de Medios S.A. de C.V., 1989. p. 22. "In southernmost Mexico City, nestled within the upscale neighborhood of the Jardines del Pedre- gal, is the private campus of the exclusive Liceo Mexicano Japones. In Japan, it is believed to be the best school in Mexico because Mexico because President Salinas' two sons and daughter attend classes there. Headmaster Arturo Zentella prefers to refrain from making such a boast, but he does admit that "it is a school that[...]"
  2. ^ "Inicio." Liceo Mexicano Japonés. Retrieved on January 21, 2014. "Camino a Santa Teresa No.1500, Col. Jardines del Pedregal C.P. 01900 México D.F."
  4. ^ García, Jerry. Looking Like the Enemy: Japanese Mexicans, the Mexican State, and US Hegemony, 1897-1945. University of Arizona Press. February 27, 2014. ISBN 0816530254, 9780816530250. p. 195. "[...]who provided that quote, was born in Mexico to Japanese parents who immigrated in the 1930s. Carlos is the founder and president of the Japanese Mexican School, director general of Yakult, which produces a probiotic health care product, and president of the Pan American Nikkei Association."
  5. ^ Valls, Julio. "Carlos Kasuga, el líder detrás de Yakult." Forbes Mexico. July 6, 2013. Retrieved on December 25, 2013. "Es expresidente de diversas asociaciones e instancias, como la Asociación Mexicana Japonesa, del Comité de las Celebraciones del 90 Aniversario de la Migración Japonesa a México, de la Asociación Panamericana Nikkei, de la Federación Panamericana de la Leche, y presidió y fundó el Liceo Mexicano Japonés."
  6. ^ a b c d e Kikumura-Yano, Akemi. Encyclopedia of Japanese descendants in the Americas: an illustrated history of the Nikkei. AltaMira Press, 2002. ISBN 0759101493, 9780759101494. p. 218 (View #2). "Beginning in 1974, the Japanese Mexican School (Liceo Mexicano Japones, A.C.) merged five Nikkei-run schools and a preparatory school for the children of temporary residents and thereby became the first transnational educational venture of its first kind in the history of any Nikkei community. Accredited by the governments of Mexico and Japan, the school formally opened its doors in September 1977, offering regular classes, based on a Mexican curriculum, taught in Spanish for first grade through the fifth year of secondary school, [...]" - See search page
  7. ^ a b c Palma Mora, María Dolores Mónica. De tierras extrañas: un estudio sobre las inmigración en México, 1950-1990. Secretariat of the Interior of Mexico (SEGOB), Instituto Nacional de Migración, Centro de Estudios Migratorios, 2006. ISBN 9680301710, 9789680301713. p. 318: "El Liceo Mexicano Japonés es una institución central en la vida del grupo, ya que en ella se forman sus hijos. Se fundó en septiembre de 1974, a raíz de la visita a México, por esa fecha, del primer ministro de Japón (Kakuei Tanaka). La escuela, sin embargo, no empezó a funcionar hasta el 2 de septiembre de 1977, y fue inaugurada por el secretario de Educación Pública de ese tiempo, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo. Se construyó con las aportaciones de miembros de la comunidad, de empresas japonesas establecidas en el país, y del gobierno de Japón (que aportó 300 mil yenes), El gobierno de México,[...]" (See search page, "Porfirio+Muñoz+Ledo" See second view
  8. ^ Obituaries, The Oregonian February 4, 2005.
  9. ^ グランマと私―アメリカで認知症老人と暮らす Retrieved on July 18, 2014.
  10. ^ Masterson, p. 214-215.
  11. ^ Watanabe, p. 151. "The Nikkei parents send their children here to maintain their ethnic identity and pride, to implant a spiritual heritage that they claim is the basis for success, and to establish close ties with other Nikkei children who live in distant areas."
  12. ^ Watanabe, p. 165 (footnote no. 19): "The Liceo is considered so unique that many people come to see it from Japan and other Nikkei communities in the world in order to study the management and the problems encountered."
  13. ^ a b Masterson, p. 214.
  14. ^ Watanabe, p. 149-150. "It originated in 1977 by absorbing three out of four existing part-time Japanese schools."
  15. ^ Watanabe, p. 146-147. p. 146: "One is Nichiboku Kyokai, or Asocacion Mexicana Japonesa, and the other is the Japanese school, the Liceo Mexicano Japones. The importance[page ends]" p. 147: "of these two institutions is indicated by the fact that the establishment and management of them has been the source of much strife among the community members."
  16. ^ Watanabe, p. 164. Footnote 11: "The antagonism between the two groups which had opposing opinions for establishing a new school became so intense that their annual general meeting in July, 1967, was threatened with violence. A dozen or so policemen were brought in to prepare for a possible riot (Idaka 1977:38).""
  17. ^ Watanabe, p. 147. "Opposing stances divided the community into two antagonistic groups for nearly two decades, and once police were called into prevent violence at a community meeting. With gradual improvement of Nichoboku Kyokai and the completion of the Liceo, the antagonism subsided and unity in the community seems to prevail at present. Still, these two institutions are the object of constant concern among community members."
  18. ^ a b c d e f Nathal, Janett. "Entre dos mundos." Diario Reforma. November 19, 2009. p. 24. Available at Informe Académico, Gale Group, Document ID: GALE|A212211605 "Hace 35 años, durante la visita a México del ex Primer Ministro de Japón, Kakuei Tanaka, surgió la idea de crear una institución en la que japoneses y mexicanos pudieran aprender de ambas culturas y realizar un intercambio educativo; dos años después, se colocó la primera piedra del Liceo Mexicano Japonés en el País, y el 23 de septiembre de 1977 fue inaugurado de forma oficial.[...]1975 Japón dona 300 millones de yenes para el fondo de construcción del colegio[...]1984 El ex Primer Ministro, Takeo Fukuda, visitó la escuela y, el mismo año, se inaugura la preparatoria"
  19. ^ a b Morrison, Manuel Rosen. Architecture. BPR Publishers, January 1, 2005. ISBN 9681867807, 9789681867805. p. 290. English text: "1977 JAPANESE LYCEUM, Mexico City Commissioned by the Japanese government, and inaugurated by Mexican President Luis Echeverria Alvarez" - Spanish text: "1977 LICEO JAPONÉS, Ciudad de México. Comisionado por el gobierno japonés e inaugurado por el presidente mexicano Luis Echeverría Álvarez."
  20. ^ Masterson, p. 266.
  21. ^ Miller, Marjorie. "Japanese Cautious About Investing Heavily in Mexico." Los Angeles Times. September 4, 1989. Retrieved on April 5, 2014. "The Harvard-educated Salinas has his two children in the Japanese-Mexican Lycee, a school that he has said he selected for the Japanese emphasis on discipline and design."
  22. ^ Palma, Víctor Kerber. "SUSHI CON TORTILLA: LAS RELACIONES ENTRE MÉXICO Y JAPÓN, 1995-2000" (Archive). Foro Internacional, El Colegio De Mexico. Vol. 41, No. 4 (166) (Oct. - Dec., 2001), pp. 861-877. Available at JSTOR, Available at Researchgate: Cited page: p. 866 (El Presidente Ninja): "Pero el arribo de Carlos Salinas de Gortari al poder cambió la visión oficial. Sus programas de modernización se inspiraban en buen grado en el fenómeno del desarrollo asiático, teniendo a Japón como el eje de un nuevo esquema de cooperación a largo plazo en el orden mundial. La japonofilia del presidente Salinas se expresaba en muchos sentidos. Sus hijos fueron inscritos en el Liceo Mexicano Japonés;[...]La Secretaría de Comercio y Fomento Industrial (Secofi) cobró entonces una importancia equivalente a la del MITI de Japón en detrimento de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores como huésped de las misiones empresiarles japonesas."
  23. ^ Villegas, Francisco Gil. "Opciones de política exterior: México entre el Pacífico y el Atlántico" (Archived April 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine) Foro Internacional, El Colegio De Mexico. Vol. 29, No. 2 (114) (Oct. - Dec., 1988), pp. 263-288. Available at JSTOR. Cited page: 277. "A parentemente por estas razones, en abril de 1988 el canciller Sepúlveda volvió a referirse a esta región y afirmó que "la Cuenca del Pacífico desempeñará un papel fundamental en la conformación de la estructura económica y política del siglo XXI". Algunos periodistas no han podido dejar de observar que "los hijos del candidato priísta a la presidencia de la República, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, hablan japonés; el hotel más nuevo de la ciudad de México es japonés y una de las telenovelas más populares se desarrolla en Japón, el segundo sociocomercial de México". En efecto, los tres hijos de Salinas asisten al Liceo Mexicano-Japonés; en noviembre del año pasado se inauguró el hotel Nikko de 38 pisos, uno de los más caros de México, con un costo de 110 millones de dólares, y actualmente Japón financia un oleoducto de 500 millones de dólares que llevará el crudo a lo largo de 250 kilómetros desde el Golfo de México hasta una terminal sobre la costa del Pacífico, para ser embarcado a Japón."
  24. ^ Guttman, William L. and Scott D. Laughlin. "Latin America in the Pacific era." The Washington Quarterly, 1990 - Taylor & Francis. DOI: 10.1080/01636609009477643. p. 180. "It appears that such an intensive courting process may be beginning to develop. In Mexico, President Salinas has not hidden his penchant for things Japanese. His children, for example, attend Mexico's only Japanese school, the Liceo Mexicano-Japones, and spend their summers in Japan. In addition, Salinas has gone to great lengths to accommodate new Japanese firms interested in Mexico. One source reports an unprecedented standing offer made by Salinas to Japanese firms: any Japanese company that will recognize Mexico as a new center for global commerce will receive a government-owned historical building in Mexico City in which to locate their offices. Courting Japanese involvement could become easier for Latin America."
  25. ^ Torres, Mario. "Denuncian violacion en el Liceo Japones." Diario Reforma. July 2, 1997. Informe Académico, Gale Group, GALE|A129947952.
  26. ^ Torres, Mario. "Expulsan a alumno del Liceo." Diario Reforma. July 4, 1997. News p. 2. Informe Académico, Gale Group, document ID GALE|A129948405. "Debido a la presión que ejercieron los padres de familia, el Presidente del Consejo Directivo del Liceo Mexicano Japonés, Takuro Otsuda, determinó expulsar a un joven que cursa el nivel preparatoria por estar presuntamente involucrado en la violación sexual de un alumno del tercer grado de primaria."
  27. ^ Torres, Mario. "Sanciona la Profeco con $15 mil al Liceo Japones." Diario Reforma. November 16, 1997. News, p. 2. Informe Académico, Gale Group. Document number: GALE|A129878299. "La Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor aplicó una sanción económica por 15 mil 870 pesos al Liceo Mexicano Japonés por haber cancelado un viaje a un alumno de secundaria, que se vio involucrado en un caso de violación sexual, sin que se le demostrara su culpabilidad por parte del Consejo de Menores."
  28. ^ * "Denuncian presion de SEP." Diario Reforma. November 15, 1997. News, p. 4. Informe Académico, Gale Group document# GALE|A129878062. "Indican padres de familia afectados que Limón Rojas injirió en la decisión de revocar la inscripción a su hijo al Liceo Japonés
    El Secretario de Educación Pública, Miguel Limón Rojas, sí influyó para que se expulsara un alumno de preparatoria que fue acusado de abuso sexual, del cual fue exonerado, en agravio de un niño de primaria que es compañero de uno de los dos hijos del titular de la SEP, que estudian en el Liceo Mexicano Japonés, informaron integrantes del Consejo Directivo del colegio. Inclusive el subsecretario Benjamín González Roaro, quien también tiene dos hijos estudiando en ese instituto, advirtió en una carta dirigida al presidente del Consejo Directivo, Takuro Otsuda, que debido a "denuncias graves irregulares, que afectan el rendimiento escolar de los alumnos del Liceo Mexicano Japonés", exigía la salida de dos integrantes del Consejo, o de lo contrario el colegio se haría acreedor a diversas sanciones, como retirarles su incorporación a la SEP."
  29. ^ "Sister City Exchange with Nagoya" (Archived April 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine). Nagoya Sister Cities Association (名古屋姉妹友好都市協会). Retrieved on June 18, 2014.
  30. ^ a b Masterson, p. 215.
  31. ^ Carvallo, Carlos. "Destacan en Liceo seleccion docente." Diario Reforma. October 15, 2012. News, p3. Available at Informe Académico (Gale Group), Gale Document ID: GALE|A305329118. "La institución obtuvo el primer lugar en el ranking Las Mejores Prepas 2012 elaborado por Grupo Reforma entre un total de 67 planteles privados de la Ciudad de México, evaluados por más de 380 directivos y académicos de universidades."
  32. ^ Correa, Susana and Juan Balderas. "Encabeza Liceo Mexicano Japonés Las Mejores Prepas" (Archived March 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine) Diario Reforma. February 23, 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Fotografias de las instalaciones del Liceo." (Archived March 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine) Liceo Mexicano Japonés. Retrieved on March 5, 2014. "Diseñado por los arquitectos mexicanos Pedro Ramírez Vázquez y Manuel Rosen Morrison en 1976."
  34. ^ Salvat, Juan and José Luis Rosas. Historia del arte mexicano, Volume 14. (Historia del arte mexicano, José Luis Rosas, ISBN 9683203914, 9789683203915). 2nd edition, 1986. p. 2085 "[...]En esta misma ciudad Jacinto Arenas proyecta las instalaciones para la Alianza Francesa, en 1978, mientras que en la ciudad de México el arquitecto Ordorica es autor de la Biblioteca para la Universidad Anáhuac y los arquitectos Ramírez Vázquez y Rosen Morrison del Liceo Mexicano- Japonés."
  35. ^ Noelle, Louise. Arquitectos contemporáneos de México. Editorial Trillas, January 1, 1989. ISBN 9682427843, 9789682427848. p. 132. "Liceo Mexicano-japonés, Las Águilas, México, D. F., en colaboración con Manuel Rosen y Rafael Espinoza."
  36. ^ (in Spanish)/(in Japanese) Kato, Kauro [sic] (加藤 薫 Katō Kaoru) (Kanagawa University), translator: Saeko Yanagisawa. "Acercamiento a la influencia del movimiento muralista mexicano en el arte contemporáneo de Japón." (日本現代美術におけるメキシコ壁画運動の影響について, Archived 2014-04-06 at WebCite) Crónicas. El Muralismo, Producto de la Revolución Mexicana, en América. National Autonomous University of Mexico. December 2008, No. 13, p. 237-264. Spanish: p. 237-255, Japanese: p. 256-264. Cited page (Spanish): p. 245. "Dentro de algunos ejemplos finalmente realizados, existe una pintura sobre el muro exterior del gimnasio del Liceo Mexicano Japonés realizada en colaboración con veinte alumnos mexicanos del Liceo y catorce niños visitantes de Japón bajo la dirección de la artista Teiko Nishimori, quien radica en Yokohama." - Japanese (p. 260): "実現した例は少ないが、例えば1987年に日本メキシコ学院の体育館外壁を横浜在住の美術作家西森禎子の指導でメキシコ人生徒20名と日本から訪れた児童14名による合作壁画などがある。"
  37. ^ "略歴" (Archived January 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine). Teiko Nishimori Official Website. Retrieved on May 3, 2014. "1987 日・墨児童合作壁画「平和」制作・総指揮(メキシコシティ/メキシコ)"
  38. ^ Watanabe, p. 151.
  39. ^ a b Watanabe, p. 150. "Some Nikkei parents residing in other states send their children to this school by boarding them with relatives in Mexico City. Because of its location, private nature, and high quality of education, non-Nikkei students come from affluent and intellectual families."
  40. ^ Watanabe, p. 152. "The Liceo observes traditional Japanese school events such as the undokai ("athletic meets"), gakugeikai ("cultural program"), and ensoku ("school excursions") which involve family members and relatives. The biggest school event, which has also become a main community event, is the undokai,[...]"
  41. ^ "Latin America Develops a Longing for Aid and Investment from Japan." ISLA, Volume 40, Issues 4-6. I.S.L.A., 1990. p. 302. "Beyond sending his children to the Liceo Mexicano-Japones, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari has a political incentive to[...]"
  42. ^ "Retrata nuevo libro de Tavira a los Salinas, tras su salida del poder" (Archived 2016-04-17 at WebCite). El Universal. Wednesday November 19, 2011. "Emiliano estudió la primaria en el Liceo Mexicano Japonés, ubicado al sur del DF."

Further readingEdit

Articles written by former employees

External linksEdit