The school is considered one of the oldest among the wizarding schools, and indeed it can be dated back roughly to 5 A.D., which is approximately 400 years before Hogwart's. Age notwithstanding, it also has the smallest student body in attendance. Which, if I may interject an opinion, is not always such a bad thing.
Located on the upermost point of the volcanic island, Minami Iwo Jima, the school building resembles a traditional pagoda, and is made entirely from mutton-fad jade. If you were to ask any Muggle, they would tell you 'without a doubt' that both the island and the exquisite palace have been uninhabited for centuries. Nothing could be further from the truth, but thanks to a web of well-placed cloaking charms, the anonymity of the school is preserved from prying eyes. Iwo Jima holds an important place in Muggle history, so extra precautions were taken to discourage any history buffs from exploration.
This 'extra precaution' comes in the form of a gashadokuro, which is basically a giant skeleton (90 ft) whose main pastime is devouring people. It is made up from the bones of people who died in battle, and Iwo Jima certainly has its fair share of those, sadly enough. It resides in the shadows, usually coming out in cover of darkness, and perhaps the most frightening aspect of the gashadokuro is that it is able to assemble and dissemble itself at will. It can fit almost anywhere it wants to go, and beware the unlucky traveler who stumbles across one. Luckily for the inhabitants of Mahoutokoro, it will not disturb them, though no one is quite sure why or how it knows the difference between who should be there and who not. The only reports of casualties have been Muggles that have stumbled too close, so speculation is that it was once the 'pet' of a dark witch or wizard who lived on the island.
Mameharu & Tamakichi Nakashima
The school was started by two sisters, Mameharu and Tamakichi Nakashima as a tribute to their benefactor and adopted father, Rikuto Nakashima. When the girls were quite young, their own father threw them out of their ancestral home after discovering that the two were 'cursed' with magical abilities. He was a learned man of reason, who already had two fine sons, who were not so disrespectful as to turn to 'evil ways' to mock his authority. What use had he for ungrateful daughters who did?!
Left on their own, with no possessions between them save the clothes on their backs, the sisters were forced to do many unsavory things in order to survive. Driven by hunger to steal for food, the two considered themselves quite fortunate when they found themselves caught up in a huge crowd of revelers bound for the house of Rikuto Nakashima. As fate would have it, he was hosting a party for the son of a friend to celebrate his impending marriage rituals. With nothing to lose, the girls wove their way into the fabric of the party, and after eating their fill, decided it would be most prudent to 'take some for the road'. It was during this act of theft that they were caught by the master of the house himself, who was not known for his benevolence when it came to such matters. The party buzzed with morbid anticipation, waiting for him to pass sentence. Would it be a swift and merciful death, or would he merely chop off their hands as punishment? As it turns out; it was neither.
Rikuto was a wealthy man, but a very sad one as well. Left childless by a barren wife, the man's lifelong wish to have children seemed destined to go unfulfilled. He listened with stern face to the girls' story, and something in the telling of it softened the hearts of both he and his wife. Disappointed and amazed guests were left speechless when instead of offering punishment, he offered the two girls a sanctuary so that they would never be forced to steal from anyone again. He 'employed' them as house servants, whose main duties were to help his wife tend the vast gardens on the estate, a chore that was not a chore at all for the pair. In time, the pretense of 'servant' was dropped, and the two sisters became the adopted daughters of the couple. Raised with an abundance of love and honor, they were determined to repay him somehow. Mahoutokoro was built through the legacy left them, and it was their way of honoring his goodness the best way they knew how; by giving others a safe place to call home.
The School Today
The school takes students as young as seven years of age, but they are not allowed to board there until the age of eleven. Younger students are transported to and from school each day on the backs of giant storm petrels. This practice has been in place since the school's inception, to ease the burden on both the student and their parents. The sisters recognized the importance of family and did not wish to cause undo heartache to anyone involved.
Upon arriving, the students are presented with a magically enchanted set of robes that will grow with the student and change colour to reflect the learning the student has achieved. The robes start out a light pink in colour, and if , for example, the student earns top marks in every subject, they will turn gold. However, if the robes turn white, it is a sign of high dishonour, meaning that the wearer has turned to illegal practices (Dark Magic to you and I) or broken the International Code of Secrecy in some way. The result is instant expulsion from the school and a trial before the Japanese Ministry of Magic.
The students are divided into three houses instead of the traditional four, as four is considered to be an unlucky number in the Japanese culture. The Houses bear the name of flowers, again to show honour to their adoptive parents, and also to highlight particular virtues.
House Suisen, House Botan & House Burubera
House Suisen-The flower chosen for this house symbolizes respect. Students sorted into House Suisen are those who show the utmost respect for scholarly pursuits and usually excel in fields such as Potions & Arithmancy.
House Botan-This House's flower symbolizes bravery. Students sorted into House Botan are those who excel at physical pursuits or those who have a penchant for thriving under pressure. This particular flower was chosen to honour the girls' adoptive mother, who had to bravely face the stigma of being a bad wife for her inability to bear children, and the shame that came with it. She taught the girls to be brave no matter what life had them face by both her example and words. Most quidditch players come from House Botan, as well as those excelling in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration.
House Burubera-The flower of this House symbolizes gratefulness. Students sorted into this House are those who are more gentle in spirit, and those drawn to the healing magics. These students are known to excel particularly in such subjects as Divination and Herbology.
The Sorting Ceremony is quite an elaborate affair and one beautiful to behold. Each prospective student is asked to kneel on a bamboo mat placed in the center of the room, with their hands held in a position of respect. To the front of the mat stands a low table, set with three identical bowls with tea leaves in the bottom and a small kettle of hot water. After the student picks a bowl, he (or she) will pour a bit of water into the bowl, and the tea will change colours according to which House they have been sorted into (namely, yellow, pink, or blue). The student will then take a sip of the tea to signify their acceptance and then return to their respective places. It is believed that much like the wand, the House chooses the student, and the child will have a natural proclivity to choose the cup best representing their hidden inner traits. The sameness of the bowls indicate that all are equal with equal value.
Graduation is also quite the ceremony, beginning with the Feast of the 1,ooo Cranes and ending in a formal tea ceremony. One thousand cranes are released into the air by the graduating class for good luck, and then tea is taken with the Headmaster/Headmistress and their parents to signify the transition from school student to adult.
In addition to academic excellence, the school is renowned for their excellence at Quidditch. It is said that centuries ago, the sport was introduced to Mahoutokoro by a band of Hogwarts students who were blown off course during an attempt to circumvent the globe travelling on wholly inadequate broomsticks. They were rescued by a group of Mahoutokoro wizarding staff who had been out studying the stars, and in gratitude, they remained long enough to teach their rescuers the rudiments of the game they all loved-quidditch. It was a move they would live to regret. The players are made to practice both over turbulent seas in stormy conditions, both to sharpen their eyes when seeking out the bludger and to hone their dodging skills as they are busy escaping detection from the Muggle planes from the nearby airbase flying overhead. Currently the reigning Champion's League winners (the Toyohashi Tengu), the team attributes its success due to the training they received at Mahoutokoro. Yet another way for the legacy of the Nakashimas and their daughters to live on even today.