Please help us by signing our petition: We want to keep Yoshida Dormitory

Please help us by signing our petition: We want to keep Yoshida Dormitory

Students in Kyoto University’s Yoshida Dormitory, which has a history of over 110 years, are currently being forced to move out and are facing a SLAPP, strategic lawsuit against public participation, brought by the university. We would like to have your voices heard by the university for the survival of Yoshida Dormitory. Please sign the petition at the following website. We look forward to your cooperation.



 Hello everyone! We are dorm residents living in the Yoshida Dormitory of Kyoto University. Yoshida Dormitory is currently in a crisis of existence due to a court case filed by the Kyoto University Executive Board demanding that we vacate the dormitory buildings.

 We demand the following from the Kyoto University Executive Board

1. Resume discussions with the dormitory self government association and other parties concerned, including collective negotiation, regarding the future of Yoshida Dormitory, including measures to deal with the deterioration of the Old Building.

2. Take over the written agreements made by the Yoshida Dormitory Self Government Association and Kyoto University administrators in the past.

3. Withdraw the lawsuit against the dorm residents and former dorm residents demanding that they vacate the building.

May 6, 2023 Yoshida Dormitory Self Government Association

The Current Status of Yoshida Dormitory

 Yoshida Dormitory is Japan’s oldest existing self-governing student dormitory, dating back to 1913. Around 120 students still live in the Old Building (built in 1913) and the New Building (built in 2015).

 The dormitory is self-governing and managed by the students themselves, and for a long time, open discussions (collective negotiation) between the university and the dormitory self government association had been held to acknowledge and sign written agreements, which includes ideas about how the dormitory should be.

 Even after it was pointed out that the Old Building, which has a long history, was deteriorating, the dormitory self government association proposed renovation plans and held a series of discussions with the university representatives to address the aging of the building.

 However, Kyoto University has refused to hold discussions with dorm residents since October 2015, and in December 2017, it suddenly and unilaterally issued a statement named the “Basic Policy on Ensuring the Safety of Yoshida Dorm Students,” which called for the suspension of recruitment of new dorm residents and the evacuation of all dorm residents living in Yoshida Dormitory. This was in total disregard of the many agreements that had been reached between Yoshida Dormitory and the university through discussions up to that point.

 Not only that, Kyoto University has taken a hard line by filing a lawsuit against Yoshida Dormitory students in 2019, demanding that they vacate the Old Building and Dining Hall of Yoshida Dormitory. 

 The first trial is being held in the Kyoto District Court and is expected to conclude its arguments in October  of this year (2023) and have a verdict by the end of the year.

 The Yoshida Dormitory Self Government Association has consistently demanded that Kyoto University drop the trial as soon as possible and resume discussions regarding the deterioration of the Old Building of Yoshida Dormitory, which has been the center of the arguments. However, the university has been completely unwilling to engage in dialogue with the dormitory under the pretext that the trial is ongoing.

Problems with the Lawsuit

 This lawsuit filed by Kyoto University against Yoshida Dormitory students involves several serious issues.

 First, the lawsuit, along with the “basic policy” that preceded it, ignored the many commitments (written agreements) that Yoshida Dormitory and the university had made up to this point. The agreements we have made with the university clearly state that decisions about Yoshida Dormitory will be made based on discussions. To try to evict the dormitory students by entrusting the settlement to an outside organization, the court, is a clear violation of the agreements.

 These agreements were made by the Dean of Student Affairs and the Vice President of the university, who are responsible for affairs concerning dormitories, and are promises between the two organizations. The current university executive office claims that these agreements were only made “personally” by those in charge, but this is contrary to the facts, and unilaterally breaking a promise between organizations is totally unacceptable.

 In addition, Kyoto University cites the aging of the Old Building as the main reason for evicting dormitory students, but in order to solve this problem, it would be more desirable to engage in dialogue with the parties concerned to address the deterioration of the Old Building rather than forcibly evicting dormitory students through a court case.

 Kyoto University upholds the “spirit of dialogue” as its basic philosophy, but what it is actually doing now is precisely the opposite.

 In addition, there is a huge power gap between students and the university’s executive board. Cases like this are called SLAPP lawsuits, and it is so unjust that it is regulated in some states in the U.S. It is a threat of intimidation to sue a dormitory student by the executive board of the university for an intramural problem that can be solved by discussion.

 In fact, Yoshida dormitory residents have been forced to bear a tremendous burden both financially and emotionally as a result of the lawsuit. We hope that the dormitory residents, who are learning and living for the future world, will be able to return to their original lives as soon as possible.

The Significance of Yoshida Dormitory

 Yoshida Dormitory has a history of more than 100 years, and now, after the COVID-19 disaster, its importance is increasing day by day as a place where students can live inexpensively and where they can enjoy the benefits of guaranteed human connections.

 Yoshida Dormitory is an autonomous dormitory where the residents themselves decide how the dormitory should be run. People of various ages, genders, and nationalities live together, and the dormitory serves as a safetynet and a place to explore the future of society.

 The current Yoshida Dormitory is an architecturally very valuable historical building, and the Kinki Branch of the Architectural Institute of Japan and the Architectural History Association of Japan have submitted a request for its preservation.

 In addition, Yoshida Dormitory has fulfilled the function of an “open space,” as stated in the “Relationship with Society” clause of Kyoto University’s basic philosophy. We believe that a university is not only a space for students, faculty members, and researchers, but also a space for exchange and knowledge creation involving many people who make up society.

 In particular, the Yoshida Dormitory Dining Hall, which is a subject of the current court case, has functioned as a place for people inside and outside the dormitory to plan events, a creative space for artistic expression, and a place for students and citizens to learn. After the COVID-19 disaster, the importance of a space where people can connect and talk with each other has become even more recognized.

 In order to preserve Yoshida Dormitory with such significance for future generations, we hope that Kyoto University will withdraw the lawsuit as soon as possible and resume dialogue with the Yoshida Dormitory Self Government Association.

 We need the voices of not only dorm residents but also people from a wide range of perspectives to move Kyoto University.

 We urge you to sign this campaign and share it as well. It would be our greatest pleasure if you could support and share our campaign.