The Legend of the Top Student - Kikuchi Dairoku (1855-1917)
The country began to open up after the visits of the Black Ships of the American commodore Matthew Perry in 1853 and 1854, and the first students went overseas to study about a decade later. This new process accelerated after the proclamation at the start of the Meiji (‘enlightened rule’) era of the five-article Charter Oath (Gokajō no Seimon) on March 14, 1868, signed by 15-year-old boy Emperor, the last article of which read:
"Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundation of Imperial Rule."
TASK: Find 5 expressions in the text where there are expressions related to being at the top of your group
It is not necessarily rare for teachers and students to stare in wonder at the genius of a Japanese student overseas.
The pioneer was Kikuchi Dairoku, who after sufficient preparation entered Cambridge University and majored in mathematics, in no time at all surpassing his fellow students, coming top in all the examinations and never once conceding pole position to anyone.
His patriotic British classmates found this a regrettable affront to their John Bull pride, and plotted to recapture this honour from him.
Second in the class was a student called Brown, also a young man of prodigious academic ability. All the other British students encouraged him, saying ‘We are unable to contain our anger at that Asian student. But you are the only one who can beat him. So do your best, and put him in his place.’ Brown tried his hardest, but still he could not outshine Kikuchi. Then a heaven-sent opportunity came one winter: Kikuchi caught a cold, was hospitalised and could not attend classes.
His classmates, seeing this as an excellent opportunity to install Brown at the top of the class if only once, agreed between them that none of them would lend his lecture notes to Kikuchi while he was absent.
In due course Kikuchi left hospital and the term examinations were held. The British students were secretly preparing their song of victory as they awaited the results, but amazingly Kikuchi had not budged an inch from the top of the class. At this the British students admitted defeat. ‘That Japanese student is too much!’ they said.
In fact while Kikuchi had been in hospital Brown had visited him frequently and lent him a clean copy of his notes so that he would not fall behind in his studies, and had thus secretly assisted him.
- surpassing his fellow students,
- coming top in all the examinations
- never once conceding pole position to anyone.
- to recapture this honour from him.
- a young man of prodigious academic ability.
- the only one who can beat him.
- So do your best, and put him in his place.’
- still he could not outshine the other one
- install him at the top of the class
- amazingly Kikuchi had not budged an inch from the top of the class.