Starting with Ourselves-The Destination of Education(1)
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"Starting with Ourselves The Destination of Education"

Seigakuin's Conference on Education

Dr.Hideo Ohki,Seigakuin's Conference on Education October 23, 2000.

Seigakuin University and Schools
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chancellor Dr.Hideo Ohki


Translated by Paul T. Shew
[Translator's note: The title comes from an old Chinese proverb, "Kai yori hajimeyo," that is explained towards the end of the lecture. Brief explanations of individuals, events and phrases have been liberally added to the English version to make it accessible to a non-Japanese audience. For clarity, Asian surnames have been capitalized in first occurrence.]

I. Seigakuin's Conference on Education and the National Council on Educational Reform

1.           This year the government established the National Council on Educational Reform. But Seigakuin's Conference on Education began taking today's educational problems in Japan seriously well before this with executive administrative meetings three years ago. The government's National Council on Educational Reform and the Seigakuin Conference on Education are unintentionally tackling educational problems from overlapping, competitive perspectives: from that of the government and of the citizen. Of course, actively approaching it from either side is good, and arguing over who started first is unnecessary. But it is not just simply about the difference between the government and citizens, rather, it is becoming clear that the philosophy is different, as are the goals to which we are aiming. The difference between these meetings is that one was born of the political ambitions of Prime Minister Mori, while the other represents the educational efforts of a whole school.

2.            This July, former Prime Minister NAKASONE Yasuhiro published a book, Japan's National Strategy for the Twenty-First Century. I recently read it upon the recommendation of Seigakuin University's vice-president, AKUDO Mitsuharu. I was surprised that the book reveals that the prompter of Prime Minister Mori's suggestion for "drastic revision of the Fundamental Education Law" is actually Nakasone. Publicly revealing this kind of background, as a type of open access to information, is positive for our civil society. The tendencies of the Mori cabinet can be well understood in light of Mr. Nakasone's philosophy, and, with this background, especially as it relates to the problem of education.

3.            During the five years that Nakasone was in power from 1982 to 1987, he served as the political anchor man for the fifty-five year establishment of the LDP's program for Japan's post-war economic recovery. Previously, YOSHIDA Shigeru was criticized for not appreciating democracy when he called himself 'Shin Shigeru', a word play on his name, adding a feudal title for 'retainer', but Mr. Nakasone was an old style politician to the bone, openly professing himself to be 'Otodo,' an aristocratic title, related to the word for minister (daijin), literally meaning 'great retainer'.  During his government, Japan's post-war economic reestablishment reached its peak and 'Japanism' flourished. Yoshida imitated the British-style gentleman with a cigar in his mouth, but Nakasone was a different type with a tendency, as it were, to act like the zealous commander in chief of the Kanto Bushi (warriors). In his book, Nakasone claims himself to be an "arrogant spirit" (transliterating the title from the English). This type of attitude was formerly seen among the high-ranking military officers. Unfortunately, in English, the word 'arrogant' does not have a positive meaning at all. It carries the negative meaning of a haughty and insolent person who does not repent of their sins. I hesitate to mention these arrogant politicians, but it is unavoidable to clarify the character and mission of Seigakuin's Conference on Education held today.

4.               Nakasone's root problem can be seen in his understanding of what happened in 1945. The underlining definitive understanding in this book is that both the Japanese Constitution and the Fundamental Education Law (FEL) are "the product of a policy to dismantle Japan" (Japan's National Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, p.197). I would like to point out the characteristics of Nakasone as a politician, comparing him with two other foreign politicians at that time. One is a comparison with the former chancellor of Germany, von Weizsäcker. Weizsäcker was a politician who repented of war responsibility and had a vision for the future of Germany starting from that repentance. Because of this, Germany gained international trust. The other politician is President KIM Dae Jung of South Korea who recently received the Nobel Peace Prize. Kim possessed universal values such as democracy and human rights and led to the new formation of South Korea. Based on his philosophy, he also understood and avoided the trap of over-emphasizing "Asian values." Nakasone lacks what both of these men posses. This is amazingly clear in his book. What Nakasone possesses is a strange perspective, viewing democracy and human rights in the Japanese constitution and in the FEL as the "dismantling of Japan" and the cause of Japan's problems today.